Monika Nerger is global chief information officer at luxury hotel company Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, where she has worked since 2006. Her background includes management positions at Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, KPMG Consulting and Advanced BusinessLink. She was also the first woman to be named president of Hospitality Technology Next Generation.
One of Nerger’s most ambitious projects to date is the modernization of Mandarin’s core technology, which began in 2015 and is scheduled for completion this year. She and colleague Todd Wood, vice president of technology for global applications, are driving the move of the company’s legacy systems to the cloud, including property management, reservations, finance, human resources, and food and beverage. At the same time, they have enhanced the organization’s profile system so that a readily available set of profile data can be connected to other parts of the business. “It’s a strategic shift that will accelerate our growth in digital,” she said.
Enabling opportunities for business transformation is as critical as the technology changes. So, the next phase of the project is the implementation of an overarching data strategy that will enable machine learning as well as artificial intelligence and analytic capabilities. This, in turn, will provide opportunities for deeper personalization and a more seamless guest experience. “One of the key things we’re doing around our data strategy is looking at the guest journey and the touch points where data can be captured or utilized to enhance service,” Wood said, adding that the typical guest journey at Mandarin Oriental isn’t a transactional journey but a lifetime journey. “This lets us build on that knowledge, whether the guest stays in one hotel or in 20 properties around the world.”
In 2018, the company launched ‘Fans of MO,’ a guest recognition and engagement program that provides members-only offers and amenities, such as early check-in, complimentary breakfast and spa credits. Guests who book through Mandarin’s website can choose additional benefits, which vary by property and are listed during the online booking process. The program, which is free and open to everyone, is an ideal fit for the boutique hotel group, allowing the company to reward travelers while capturing preference data about them.
And, finally, to drive workplace efficiency, Nerger and her team are launching a new digital workplace platform that enables employees to work more efficiently. “A lot of businesses have reconfigured their offices to open space, which is a great start for collaboration, but it’s not enough for a global company,” Nerger said. With this new technology, employees start the day in a personalized digital workplace that provides exactly the information they need and allows them to work in a more