AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Conversations: Reltio
Manish Sood, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Reltio joins Sekhar Mallipeddi, Worldwide Technical Leader for AWS Travel and Hospitality, for a broad-ranging discussion around how AWS Partners are helping customers build resilience and prepare for what’s next in travel and hospitality.During this unprecedented time for the industry, we have been inspired by the innovations that have been born out of disruption and will impact and improve the way we fly, eat, stay, and experience our world for years to come. Now more than ever, AWS wants to help customers succeed by connecting them to AWS Partners with deep AWS technical expertise and proven customer success to help travel and hospitality organizations build a resilient business and accelerate innovation. That’s why we’re honored to have Reltio as a launch member of the brand-new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency.
Sekhar Mallipeddi: Describe your company, the types of travel and hospitality work you do, and key travel and hospitality clients.
Manish Sood: Reltio is an award-winning, multi-domain master data management (MDM) software as a service (SaaS) company. We work with organizations across all industries, including travel and hospitality, to help them thrive in the digital economy.
We work with travel and hospitality brands to help them better understand, connect with, and serve guests. Innovators in this market rely on Reltio MDM to provide the connected guest data that enables them to boost guest loyalty and increase market share.
While creating a great customer experience is important across all industries, travel and hospitality brands are in a unique position; customers rely on them for a very personal experience. Whether a guest is flying somewhere, staying overnight, or simply sitting down for a meal, they are spending personal time with these companies, and it’s important to get that experience right. Fail to meet guest expectations and companies face losing more than just a customer. According to PwC data, 97 percent of millennials, the heaviest travelers by demographic, post their trip photos on a social network. Getting a hospitality experience wrong could mean a damaged reputation and loss of future customers.
SM: Many companies across travel and hospitality have been managing through a period of unprecedented disruption. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during this recent period and how have you helped clients manage through them?
MS: The last year has re-shaped the travel and hospitality industry in a big way. From March to December of 2020, the US travel economy alone lost approximately $1.6 billion per day (US Travel Association), and that impact has been felt across all segments of hospitality. That has forced companies to be innovative and use data to find new ways to connect with customers, offer new services, and hone their competitive advantage.
Marriott is an example of a brand that was able to act quickly based on data. The company had a 360-degree view of its customers and a deep understanding of what was happening on its properties. Marriott moved quickly
to meet the exploding work from home (WFH) market and began offering day passes at some of its brands. This provides those working from home with a safe, clean change of scenery while reducing Marriott’s vacancy rate.
SM: It’s been an incredibly difficult time for travel and hospitality companies, but we’ve seen many companies investing for the long run. With all the uncertainty, why has your company chosen to invest in travel and hospitality at this time?
MS: Yes. For many hospitality brands, what they do is more than just business; they’re connecting with people, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, they have sought out new ways to go that extra mile.
While these times have been difficult, it has forced companies to use data to create some incredibly innovative new services and to improve their customer loyalty efforts. We have seen innovation in many areas, but particularly in mobile engagement and loyalty programs. These seem to be two segments where brands realize they can help customers feel safer and more secure. One of my favorite examples of this is how Domino’s Pizza developed its new contactless delivery option. It allowed customers ordering online or over the mobile app to opt for contactless delivery, and their pizza would arrive at their doorstep on a new cardboard pedestal designed to keep it warm.
SM: In the face of the current disruption to the travel and hospitality industry, we’ve observed incredible innovations coming from across the industry. How has your company innovated through these challenging times on behalf of your customers and what are you most proud of?
MS: One of the best things about being a cloud-native SaaS company is that we can move quickly to bring innovative new solutions to market, and the faster we bring innovative solutions to market, the faster our customers can use data in new and innovative ways. Last month we introduced Reltio Identity 360, the first free cloud-native MDM service that provides a single source of truth for identity data about customers, contacts, guests, or employees in real time and at scale.
Reltio Identity 360 helps companies in the travel and hospitality industry better know and understand their customers by aggregating person data from all sources, matching identities, and removing duplicates. The platform makes it easy for data innovators at any company, from start-ups to large organizations, to quickly get a reliable source of customer data critical to their success. Identity 360 users also have a rapid migration path to upgrade to our Premium or Enterprise Editions when they’re ready for more functionality, such as our Connected Graph for visualizing relationships among data points.
SM: The travel and hospitality industry is incredibly resilient. As you look toward recovery, what role does technology play for your company moving forward? How do you see technology enhancing the customer experience and improving operational efficiency?
MS: As we move into 2021 and beyond, I hope that we are looking at better days. Already we’re seeing expectations that the travel and hospitality industry will rebound in the middle or later half of the year. A recent report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found that 56 percent of Americans are saying they are likely to travel for leisure in 2021. 2020 forced many companies to change overnight to survive, but those lessons will enable them to move faster and thrive as the market picks up this year and next. For many, technology has been at the heart of those changes, and the improvements in mobile apps, loyalty programs and guest services will make companies more attractive to customers and ultimately, more competitive.
SM: How does building on AWS allow you to prepare for whatever the “new normal” in travel and hospitality will look like? How does the new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency help companies do the same?
MS: A core component of building on AWS is scalability and adaptability – it is at the heart of our cloud native SaaS model. AWS enables us to move quickly to accommodate the dynamic needs of our customers. We’re able to provide them with services that instantly scale up to meet the busy demands of a hot travel season, like the Thanksgiving holiday, or manage higher volumes of data from a successful promotion, like Subway’s Buy One, Get One (BOGO) deal.
SM: What makes you excited for the future of travel and hospitality? As a traveler or guest, where are you looking forward to visiting next?
MS: Personally, I’m excited to see the world get back to normal. Before 2020, the travel and hospitality industry was growing rapidly, as the world grew closer and people, especially millennials, focused more on having experiences rather than accumulating material wealth. I look forward to seeing that pick back up again – the shared experiences and better understanding of the world that we get from travel is something that benefits everyone. For me personally, I’m looking forward to traveling again to connect with customers and to meet with Reltio employees around the world in places like Russia and India.
Manish is responsible for engineering, product management, and security and overall product direction and innovation at Reltio, a company trusted by innovative Global 2000 companies who know that connected customer data is at the heart of customer experience. Prior to founding Reltio, Manish led Product strategy and management for the Master Data Management (MDM) platform at Informatica and Siperian. He is the co-author of the patent that revolutionized MDM through a global business identifier. During his career, Manish has architected some of the largest and most widely used data management solutions used by Fortune 100 companies today.
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