Tell me about the business challenge or change behind the engagement with Hitachi Solutions
Travelodge is one of the UK’s largest independent hotel chains and we have recently invested £100 million modernising all of our UK hotels. New Travelodge is on a journey to become Britain’s favourite hotel for value, and as part of this journey we are growing our business and exploring new opportunities about how we can deliver even greater value to our customers and staff. A key part of this venture is to explore how CRM can work more effectively for the business.
What are the key areas where you’re accelerating your business, or is it the user experience that you’re focused on?
As part of our journey to become Britain’s favourite hotel for value, we are focused on growing our business and upgrading our customer experience by offering a great quality service at a great value price. At present we have over 500 hotels across the UK and we are looking to expand our network with a further 250 properties over the next eight years.
Our biggest growth is from business travellers as we grow our business we are looking to open more hotels in key and upcoming business locations.
What was your brief to Hitachi Solutions?
Our CRM system is outsourced to Hitachi Solutions and their brief is to provide specialist support to help with our changing requirements especially with scalability and to support with systems changes as we upgrade our services. As a dynamic business it’s important that we have a partner that can react quickly to our business requirements.
Tell me about your technical environment. Is the team mostly providing managed services for applications on premises, in your data centres, or are they in the cloud, or is it a mix?
It’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, a cloud-based system. All system users are all based in HQ. We moved to the cloud-based version of Microsoft Dynamics with Hitachi’s help. It’s making us nimbler.
What departments or staff use the managed service? How do their needs vary?
Within our sales function, two distinct teams use Dynamics CRM. The business development team use it to manage lead generation as its really important that this is managed via one robust system.
Our groups team also uses the system for multiple room bookings. All contracting is raised and managed through our CRM.
Since working with Hitachi Solutions, can you give me examples of improvements you’ve seen?
We’ve been able to create templates. These give our customers clarity about our offers, so the customer experience has improved significantly, and we have removed fields.
We’ve also been able to record and track customer conversations within the CRM, and to add emails to each record. This gives us better continuity in our communications.
Also if our CRM system goes down that causes serious implications for the business, so Hitachi Solutions has helped us to get this downtime down to a minimum. The upgrades we’ve done with them so far have gone seamlessly. They’ve been the least stressful upgrades I can remember.
What do you like about the Hitachi Solutions team?
They understand our customised tools and of course, their ‘off the shelf’ Microsoft product knowledge is very strong.
Throughout our ongoing improvements they’ve shown a very good understanding of what’s been done and how best they can support us. I’ve been impressed by their honesty on how we should do things. The team’s speed and response times have also been excellent.
What are the market opportunities that you foresee in the next year and how are you looking to Hitachi Solutions to support you?
The management and scalability of our growth is 100 per cent of our focus for the next few years. Our CRM will help us to manage that.
To find more information on Travelodge visit their website: www.travelodge.co.uk