When it comes to delivering experiences that turn one-off stays into repeat visits, data is a must-have.

NB: This is an article extract taken from a recent guide from Cendyn

Check out our guide here.

To build loyalty, your front-line staff needs recent and accurate information, available quickly at their fingertips. Marketing and sales teams also need data to do their jobs; from pipeline tracking to optimizing marketing spend, data is critical to success.

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To collect this data and get it into the hands of staff, the customer relationship management, or CRM, has traditionally been the heart of the operation. It’s been a shared source of truth, relied on by any department that deals directly with guests. Over the past few years, a second data-focused technology has become more commonplace: the customer data platform, or CDP, which is a data layer that bridges across your entire operation.

This new addition to the acronym jargon can be confusing. It’s no surprise that these two technologies are easily mistaken for one other. They both focus on collecting, managing, and using customer data to improve operations, marketing and sales. While there are certainly overlaps, a few essential differences make these two tools a must-have in any hotel marketing tech stack.

With that in mind, let’s compare customer data platforms with customer relationship management tools so that you can get a solid grasp on how both fit into your hotel’s technology needs.

What’s the difference between a CDP and a CRM?

The main difference between a CDP and CRM is right there in the name: a CDP manages customer data, and a CRM manages customer relationships. Of course, a CRM also collects customer data in its role as the go-to tool for customer-facing operations. It’s the single source of truth that allows your front-line staff to deliver memorable experiences based on past behavior and current preferences.

When implemented, the CDP becomes the single source of truth across your entire operation. It’s the data foundation for all of your technologies, processes, and teams, as the CDP aggregates internal and external data and transforms that data into a standardized format that can be shared across applications. It builds its customer profiles from your hotel’s tools, such as your booking engine, website, email platform, marketing automation tool, and revenue management software, as well as external data from social media, OTAs, and market trends.

The CDP then standardizes and normalizes all of this data so that your various technologies can plug into the CDP to stay current. It’s a two-way stream of information, keeping everything that’s connected to the CDP in sync. Since this is automated in near-real-time, you’ll no longer rely on manual updates to sync information in different places — or experience mismatched information that limits your ability to personalize and optimize marketing at scale.

Your CRM plugs into your CDP so that its data can be synchronized and shared. Your CRM can then be enriched with whatever data sources you choose to connect into the CDP. This process makes your CRM more powerful, and able to accommodate new ways of working, marketing, and serving your guests.

To read the rest of this guide, click here.

For a deep dive into customer data platforms, check out the guide here.

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