NEW YORK, Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Denihan Hospitality Group, a nationally recognized owner and operator of boutique hotels across the U.S., today announced that they are collaborating on a Big Data project by applying advanced analytics technologies to enhance strategic planning. This impacts multiple aspects of the business, from improving the guest experience, and personalizing marketing campaigns, to boosting productivity of the revenue management team across Denihan's 14- hotel portfolio.
Denihan's portfolio includes unique properties operated under The James and Affinia Hotels brands, as well as luxury independents The Surrey and The Benjamin, and several affiliates. Each brand and hotel is strategically designed to appeal to a specific customer segment. Throughout its 50 years in the hospitality business, family-owned and operated Denihan has prided itself on an individualized approach to customer service.For Denihan, marketing and booking the right room for the right customer at the right time -- and very importantly, at the right rate -- is critical to the bottom line. Denihan places a great emphasis on personal customization across its brands, in order to continuously drive preference and customer loyalty. "Personalized customer service and seeking deep business insight have always been top priority for Denihan," said Menka Uttamchandani, Denihan's vice president of business intelligence. "By leveraging new and existing data sets IBM's analytics technology allows us to extract insightful information enabling us to take smart, calculated risks in our business. Every company has massive amounts of data; it is what one does with that data – such as providing relevant dashboards, click through deep dive actionable reporting and analytical insight that can foster a competitive edge." With the continued growth of hotel rating websites, travel blogs and social media, customer service and pricing are more critical than ever for the hotel industry, allowing a hospitality business to either secure or lose a customer in seconds. According to a 2012 Forrester study, the financial impact of customer service on hotels is $1.36 billion, with roughly $825 million of that revenue sparked by churn reduction, or efforts to keep guests from choosing other hotel brands. By applying IBM's analytics technology to Big Data, Denihan can now sift through massive amounts of information -- from customer feedback to room price, length of stay and more -- to understand why customers choose their hotels and why they choose to return. By taking the pulse of guests' likes and dislikes, Denihan can also fine-tune its marketing campaigns to engage customers on an individual basis, reinforcing this notion of the " era of you" in the hospitality industry. At Affinia Manhattan, Denihan utilized IBM analytics to dissect guest feedback and guest profile data that uncovered varied comments on what guests wanted in their guest rooms. Affinia Manhattan is located in an area popular with both tourists and business travelers, and guests' feedback reflected the need for flexible spaces that can be used for a variety of different needs. As a result, Denihan remodeled each of the hotel's rooms to create a relaxation zone, a work zone and a sleep zone. Denihan then made a point of using flexible and comfortable furniture throughout the new guestroom design, adding such pieces as convertible sofas and mobile ottomans that can be moved by the coffee table or by the bed depending on the need. In addition, feedback from women and family travelers revealed a desire for more storage in the bathroom, and in response, Denihan changed the vanity design to accommodate extra counter and shelving space and additional drawers. The hotel has several rooms with kitchenettes, and with data indicating the need to enhance the kitchen product and experience, Denihan added several items to the kitchens during recent renovations, eliciting much positive feedback from guests.