Director of Customer Relationship Marketing
Unified view of customers drives increased revenue
Master data management helps Intrawest better connect with guests
Having a single accurate view of each customer is a critical marketing tool. Intrawest uses SAS® Master Data Management (MDM) to gain competitive advantage by reconciling customer records from its network of resorts into a definitive data warehouse. This allows marketing campaigns to be tailored to customer needs, increasing uptake and thus revenue.
Every time we do a campaign, it’s an investment. It highlights the importance of having good data.
Intrawest, headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia and Denver, Colorado, is a leader in the development and management of experiential destination resorts. Its network of resorts at North America’s most popular mountain destinations include Tremblant Ski Resort, Steamboat Ski and Resort, Winter Park Resort, Snowshoe Mountain and Stratton Mountain. The Intrawest network also includes Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world, and Club Intrawest, a private resort club with exclusive locations around the world. Intrawest also markets and sells real estate at its resorts in North America.
With such an expansive collection of properties, Intrawest faced major challenges keeping track of its guests. Multiple records from multiple sites meant that it was virtually impossible to build a unified view of a customer, a view that could enable the properties to market appropriate services to each individual.
Randy Cuff, Director of Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM), says that a customer who had visited several Intrawest properties could have one or more profiles for each resort, each with small differences that made him or her look like a different person.
One individual – ironically, a former Intrawest executive who regularly made the rounds of properties – had 27 separate records!
Intrawest turned to SAS for help in reconciling the millions of rows of data in its database into a usable set of unique customer records. It chose SAS, says Cuff, because of its flexibility and ability to apply fuzzy logic in its business rules. Fuzzy logic allows computers to create valid conclusions from imprecise inputs, for example, determining that multiple slightly different records are for the same individual.
“Other tools didn’t have that flexibility,” Cuff says. “We wanted to create accurate views of customers for each resort, plus a corporate view. We partner with the marketing departments at the resorts, so it didn’t make sense to have a separate data warehouse for each.”
Since the implementation of SAS, says Cuff, there is now credible data available to provide to the resorts, and that has improved his team’s relationship with the resorts’ marketing departments. They have increased confidence in the recommendations coming from the CRM team. For example, they found that less than 5 percent of customers visit more than one resort, but with the enhanced database, they could identify that subset and create targeted marketing campaigns to address them directly.
“It highlights the importance of having good data,” Cuff says. “Every time we do a campaign, it’s an investment, and now we can be sure that we are making the right investment.”
That unified view of the customer didn’t occur overnight. “Creating business rules is a journey,” says Cuff. “It was an ongoing discussion.” Each iteration generated exceptions and led to tweaks of those rules over about a year to generate the cleanest possible view of the data.
That work paid off as Intrawest began to understand who its customers are, who its best customers are and where to focus retention efforts. After other departments saw the success of the customer data warehouse, they too wanted effective data warehouses, first in operations, then in retail and finance. “It proves success breeds further success,” says Cuff.
Intrawest needed a way to create a single view of its customers from many separate inputs.
Marketing campaigns are now targeted at the right people, at the right time, increasing revenue for resorts.