This morning I checked out of the rather nice JW Marriott in Miami, its a nice hotel, good room and I'll be going back there tonight. Simply put I'm staying longer and I've just made their top status which means I'll get a room upgrade if I check back in. I could probably ask for that but its just simpler to go with the existing processes. Following that on the Sunday I head to South Beach as my rate doesn't run through next week. So I'm in the same hotel tonight and then another Marriott on Monday.
What has this got to do with MDM? Well its to do with the processes. Marriott have a nice process where they phone up their loyalty members and say 'thanks for staying, see you soon'. This process however isn't tied back into the future reservations information. Regularly on business travel people are doing Monday/Friday stints and using the same hotel each time so I'd expect that this would be a reasonably normal occurrence, indeed if someone is staying regularly and then doesn't have a reservation for the following week then there could be cause for concern.
Its this sort of thing that good MDM projects look at, they look at the Customer's Viewpoint when interacting with the business and looks at the changes that can be made to treat that person as an individual rather than in relation to the current transaction. This isn't limited to Marriott or other hotel groups it applies to many industries, knowing when your premium airline loyalty customers will be returning so you can greet them with 'see you on Friday' as they leave the plane or 'how did you find that red dress you bought the other week?' if you are a retailer.
Having a good customer master, as Marriott appear to have through their loyalty program, is only part of the story. The biggest part is moving away from transactionally based interactions towards treating the customer as an individual across multiple transactions, both historic and future. For MDM projects to really change the way a business works these are the places where the ability to impact is most critical.
So how could Marriott have done better? Well the person phoning should have had my future reservation and could have asked 'do you want us to just extend the room' and when I said I was after the upgrade they could have offered to just move my packed bags to my new room or suggest I leave them at reception. That is when you really have mastery over your customer information, when the customer knows that you know everything you should and you react appropriately.