Nordic Choice – creating the world’s best digital guest journey with APIs
Nordic Choice Hotels is one of the largest hotel groups in the Nordics with 195 hotels and 16,500 employees. Their main goal is to be the obvious choice for customers with high demands on availability, speed and exceeded expectations. Competition is harsh, and in order to offer the best booking and hotel experience Nordic Choice uses digitalization with its smart integrated solutions where data is key.
Martin Belak is a director of digital development at Nordic Choice. He heads the development department, making sure that the teams have the resources they need to empower the company’s digital development.
“We want to create the world’s best digital guest journey,” Martin says.
In order to achieve this goal, Nordic Choice moved all innovative and agile tech development out from the traditional IT department into a separate company called eBerry, following Gartner’s Bi-modal pattern with a sprint and marathon organization. The ambition is to create the best cross-channel experience in the industry and to offer the company’s guests a seamless and hassle-free booking and travel experience.
As a long-term partner, Enfo has worked closely with Nordic Choice since the beginning of 2015. An important mission for Enfo has been to build the integration team “Nordic Integration Platform”, NIP, by setting strategy, methodology and the actual integration platform. Taking advantage of the Mulesoft Anypoint platform, information is provided to eBerry as easily accessible APIs.
“Enfo and Nordic Choice go way back. Enfo has played a significant role in our digital transformation journey and is a self-evident part of our success with eBerry and with the work done by the NIP team. We build great solutions together,” says Martin.
We want to create the world’s best digital guest journey.
Data is key in creating the best customer experience
Competition is tough but also inspiring. Being able to offer families planning their holiday or busy business travelers the best booking or accommodation experience, demands smart and safe solutions with the customer’s need in focus.
“The key is data. If you are not able to secure that the data – such as real-time rates, available rooms or the hotel’s location – is consistent and correct throughout all customer channels you have lost the race to win the customers’ attention or even their confidence”, Martin continues.
Nordic Choice saw the need for an integrated platform smart enough to create the world’s best digital guest journey. They also wanted an environment where eBerry developers could more easily create new innovative and competitive solutions based on consistent and validated data.
Hence, Enfo guided Nordic Choice to build a best-in-breed API Architecture by API-Led connectivity. Nordic Choice chose to invest in the Mulesoft Anypoint platform to meet the challenges of making data widely accessible and ensuring a high level of reusability. For example, the front-end developers now get the possibility to self-serve by accessing the information they need through APIs.
The key is data. If you are not able to secure that the data is consistent and correct throughout all customer channels you have lost the race to win the customers’ attention or even their confidence.
The sky is the limit with an integrated platform
Building on Mulesoft Anypoint platform in the cloud with an architecture that ensures reusability for all sales channels, as well as for future solutions, has been an important part of Nordic Choice’s success in optimizing their service towards customers for the entire guest journey. Keeping information such as rates or availability consistent, irrespective of the booking is made via the web, app or phone is not easy and was not reality for Nordic Choice prior to setting their digital platforms in place.
“Consistency has been an important approach in building customer relations and providing that little extra that makes the experience special during the entire journey, from booking to checking out. Building on customer relations is important to be able to keep other actors, such as competitive chains and online travel agencies miles behind,” Martin says.
Nordic Choice’s ability to offer a seamless and consistent customer experience is made possible through the agile and close cooperation between Enfo, eBerry and the NIP team, which is a central part of Nordic Choice’s Hotel Services Information Management unit.
“Our continuous development is made possible thanks to our integration platform and the NIP team which Enfo has been part of and proactively developed since day one. Together we can respond quickly to changes and are not limited by technical constrains,” Martin continues.
Digital transformation has allowed Nordic Choice to launch new channels, functions and features more rapidly than ever before; for example, the possibility to select a specific room or floor, or the distance to an elevator from their web or app.
“Developing these new features has been fast, in most cases taking less than a month although we are talking about quite complex solutions. The work has been smooth since all data is available, defined and verified through reusable APIs. We are really happy about it and it is appreciated by our customers,” says Martin.
The result also shows in increased digital sales via Nordic Choice’s web and app as well as a larger market share in comparison to other chains and online travel agencies.
“All our KPIs are in line with plan or are exceeding expectations”, Martin says with a smile. “If I was to summarize the support that we receive from Enfonians it would be expertise, problem solving and trust. We see them as a natural part of our organization. They are competent, asking the right questions and moving us proactively forward.”
All our KPIs are in line with plan or are exceeding expectations.
Personalization and tailored innovative services
Going forward, Nordic Choice continues to develop more innovative services with the customer in focus. Personalized offers and tailored communication are the way ahead, together with identifying particular travel habits for different guest groups, e.g. millennials.
“Developing the world’s best digital guest journey will never end. We have built a foundation and can now start scaling with more innovative services. We are on the right track,” Martin concludes.
About Nordic Choice
Nordic Choice Hotels is one of the Nordic region’s largest hotel groups with 195 hotels and 16,500 employees in the Nordic and Baltic regions. The hotel group comprises the hotel chains Comfort, Quality Hotel and Clarion Hotel, as well as 25 independent hotels. All hotels are environmentally certified according to ISO 14001. www.nordicchoicehotels.com
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