As a native of Northern Ireland living in Edinburgh with a Scottish wife and 2 very Scottish children I can only say that since coming here for university, I have never looked back. As the CEO and co-founder of For-Sight Guest CRM myself and the team have grown the product from an agency project for a single resort hotel, to a fully-fledged SaaS product working with hundreds of hotels across independents, resorts, groups and third party management companies. My role has also been about identifying and managing relationships with key vendors for integrations, both at the front and back end of the product.
Our vision is to own the guest relationship and give control back to the hotels. We want to be the brain of the digital guest experience.
Myself and my co-founder Richard are very proud of For-Sight, we think it’s a great product. It has evolved into a secure, online data management tool taking direct feeds from the hotel’s Property Management System and various other sources (including events, leisure & contact lists), cleansing it to create a Single Customer View. The hotel marketer can then query the data, report on it and push it out to best of breed marketing platforms to deploy & measure the content.
We now have a fantastic team made up of clever product technicians, client service managers and developers. They make the product as seamless and easy to navigate as possible, as well as integrating with key partners & vendors in the industry. They help put the hotel data on a plate for the marketer to allow them to do great things with that information.
2018 was a busy year for For-Sight. We welcomed a number of new clients, 7 new members of the team and established our Data Science department. We had a record year for email broadcasting, sending 217 million emails, despite the arrival of GDPR which has impacted email volumes in many industries. With For-Sight our clients were able to not only manage their guests contact preferences but use their data to target their guests properly with highly personalised resulting in little impact on their ROI. We also rolled out some key integrations including Opera’s OXI and Premier Spa with many more to come in 2019. Finally, we announced our partnership with Great National Hotels and look forward to building on that over the coming months.
We are very excited about 2019 as the team continues to grow in volume and in spirit and we already have many more great partnerships & integrations in the pipeline. New clients continue to come on board and we have some major development releases planned.
Challenges in our industry remain. Technical & commercial barriers to new start-ups entering the hotel tech ecosystem and data in silos continue. The PMS market is changing too thanks to open APIs becoming more prevalent through forward-thinking start-ups like Mews and Apaleo, with more established providers like Guestline moving in that direction too.
Recent data breaches in the hotel industry continue to dominate the headlines, adding to the well-documented challenges for Facebook and other large tech companies in terms of how they handle consumer data. This has led to widespread public mistrust as to how consumers’ personal data is handled. Do businesses just care about getting their hands on ‘valuable’ data at any cost or do they wish to do the right thing by the customer?
If a brand gets the relationship right, then a consumer will trust them with their data and it becomes a long term two-way conversation, not only is this how For-Sight is engaging with potential new and existing clients, but it is at the core of what For-Sight can help hoteliers achieve.
I can’t wait to let more people know about For-Sight. As I said to my team, be happy and keep driving us forward, buckle up!