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Technology Rock Stars Scott Nunn, Canyon Ranch

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April 08, 2022
Technology Leaders
Fran Worrall - fran@hospitalityupgrade.com

2022 Technology Rock Stars:



Scott Nunn

SVP and CIO, Canyon Ranch
 

Scott Nunn is senior vice president and chief information officer at Canyon Ranch, a luxury lifestyle brand focusing on integrative wellness. He joined the company in 2017 after serving as vice president of technology at Commune Hotels + Resorts. He also has held technology leadership roles at Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and Omni Hotels and spent four years on the vendor side at LodgeNet (now Sonifi). He got his start in hospitality as an analyst for a global mystery shopping firm focusing on hotel, resort and casino clients.

Scott Nunn 2022When he began the job at Canyon Ranch, the company had recently come under new ownership. “It was like a 38-year-old start-up,” he said, adding that his biggest challenge was modernizing technology to reduce friction and improve experiences for guests and employees. He responded by implementing current and user-friendly technology, including Microsoft Office 365, to mitigate the challenges and allow employees to use their own devices to connect with the organizational network.

He also took a hard look at security, adding a director of security, implementing multi-factor authentication and tokenization of credit cards, and partnering with best-of-breed external services where needed. “We treat security monitoring like a commodity, similar to email and back-ups,” he said. “Our external provider is a virtual security team, but we drive the approach.”

Additionally, he has addressed the company’s outdated activities and scheduling solution, replacing Canyon Ranch’s on-site system with Book4Time, a cloud-based spa and leisure activity management solution. Although the new product is a major departure from the previous system, which was highly customized by the vendor, its open architecture and ease of use not only resonated with the team but also increased productivity. “We needed a system that offered maximum flexibility, including the ability to schedule through mobile devices,” he said, adding that self-service options allow the company’s wellness staff to spend time on higher-level guest interactions. “We want to offer technology as a choice. If guests prefer in-person scheduling, that’s fine. We don’t force anyone down a particular path.”

Moving systems to the cloud has increased access to information, and Canyon Ranch is a more data-driven organization as a result. Over the years, the IT and revenue management teams have compiled a robust data lake and have begun to synchronize guest profiles, while a recently onboarded customer insights team is building reports for all areas of the business.

One of Nunn’s proudest achievements is transitioning the IT team from order-takers to stakeholders regarding business systems and processes. “It has been a big shift, but it’s gaining momentum and getting a lot of buy-in,” he concluded. “We’re now moving into a consultant role, and it’s really exciting.”

 

SCOTT’S BEST:

  • Family: Married, with an 11-year-old son, a dog and a cat..
  • Hobbies: Car racing (as a spectator and a sim driver), especially Formula One and IMSA.
  • Go-To Periodical or Website: Dark Reading, a cybersecurity news site. “I look at their newsfeed every day to find out what’s going on with security and data breaches.”
  • Book: The Phoenix Project, a novel about the dilemmas facing companies that depend on IT. “It’s a must-read for any executive struggling with the growing complexity of technology.”
  • Music: Everything. “I pick the music to match the mood, but I can choose a Grateful Dead tune for any occasion.”
  • Favorite Travel Destination: State Park campgrounds. “We bought a camper during the pandemic and have been dragging it everywhere.”
  • Advice to Young People: “Seize opportunities when they come along. Don’t think you need a certain degree or a special certification to do something new or different.”
  • Dinner With: Christian Horner, team principal of the Red Bull Formula One racing team. “He embodies the idea of preparation and pragmatism and has done an amazing job of consistently identifying high-performing talent.”

SCOTT'S INDUSTRY PREDICTIONS:

 
The gap between high-touch and no-touch will continue to widen. “What suffers is the middle ground.” 
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Hotels will focus on working guests. “People are working remotely while vacationing, and hotels will move to support these hybrid scenarios,” he said. “This, in turn, will renew the emphasis on Wi-Fi, bandwidth and videoconferencing.”
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Traditional room service will be replaced. “Guests are now accustomed to ordering food and picking it up themselves, and that trend will naturally extend to hotel stays.” 
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