David Warman became the new Chief Client Officer at IDeaS in November 2021 following a 30+ year career leading customer experience marketing, revenue optimization, and insights at some of the world’s largest and most prestigious brands – Four Seasons, IHG, and Hilton. David also has first-hand knowledge with the ins-and-outs of IDeaS products and services as a former client of our company for the past 10+ years prior to joining our team. IDeaS Communications team sat down with David to learn more about his journey and his goals as our new CCO.
Q: Why did you decide to join IDeaS?
A: First off, I joined IDeaS because of the culture of the company. That’s always the first thing. Culture and people are always the first part of any kind of decision I make. And secondly, the exciting mission. IDeaS is a company that has a really exciting growth platform. And lastly, because I saw it as the best, and I like to work for the best.
Q: What was your experience with IDeaS before becoming CCO?
A: I met some of the people throughout IDeaS during my hospitality career, and I’ve always been aware of people like Dr. Ravi Mehrota, Sanjay Nagalia and other leaders in revenue management who worked at the company. But my most formal engagement came when we began utilizing IDeaS software at Four Seasons. IDeaS was selected as their first automated revenue management system, and that’s when I got really engaged with the broader IDeaS organization. That was how my journey started…and then I was a client for 10 years, 11 years. And now, here I am working with them.
Q: How has your previous experience helped you in your new position as our CCO at IDeaS?
A: I have had the unique opportunity to not only understand what it means to be senior solution decision maker, but also a hands-on user of IDeaS solutions. I know what it means to work with the many important stakeholders in our industry – from corporate stakeholders, owners, business units. Having these various experiences gives me an ability to look from the other side and translate those experiences to my IDeaS business partners.
Q: Are there any things that you can tell our internal teams based on your experience?
A: Installing our software solution and training our clients is only one part of what the client looks at as success. You have to be able to help your client “create results that can be demonstrated to the business, communicated to their stakeholders, and also help them with their personal success?”
Clients and users want to deliver optimal results. They want to be offered “straight talk, even when it may be a hard truth to hear – “Tell me how it is,” “Tell me where I need to get better, “Be my trusted advisor.” All of our clients want to get better, they want somebody whose advice they can really trust and rely upon.
Also, making incredible experiences really drives lifetime loyalty and a lifetime advocacy. IDeaS is one of the most important resources a client has to learn the craft of revenue management. When I am asked “Where did you receive your formal revenue management training?” I say that I have gained great experience from the brands and mentors I have worked for, but a lot of my advanced technical and analytical revenue management training came from my partnership with IDeaS. I consider what I learned from IDeaS to be some of the most essential principles of commercial revenue optimization which I regularly refer to when interfacing with our clients.
Q: What are your key initiatives as CCO?
A: We are focusing on elevating a “client-first” culture framework. One of the key things that we’ve just recently released are five elements on how we want to build on what already is a great culture. I’m a big believer in “Yes, and…” it’s about building on top of a great foundation.
- First we want to help uncover powerful insights that can help guide our internal teams and our clients to develop future enhancements that will drive powerful client centered change.
- Secondly we want to create incredible experiences for our clients and users. We want to take key moments in our relationship and create meaningful lifetime memories that will drive lifetime loyalty and advocacy.
- The third area is “Community”. IDeaS already has a number of great communities, like our Hotel Tech Hub, our Client Summit, our Client Advisory Board, and we want to continue to burnish those to be even stronger and more powerful events. We are looking for more spaces where we can create industry-level communities that people want to belong to and super charge the connections we are making through our user conference – Discover Live!
- Fourth, it’s about enabling our users to deliver success at their “moment of need”. We know the world has changed. People are busy, and working is different. Living is different. People don’t have time to consume large amounts of information. Clients and users want you to anticipate what they need before they think they need it. We’re opening up new channels to communicate, and looking at developing ways to have more flexible support structures that can better respond to what each client and user needs when they need it.
- Lastly, we are delivering on the ultimate promise of our solutions. We want to ensure that we’re helping our Clients understand and be confident in the benefits they are receiving and always working with them to discover their next opportunity. We are cultivating success leaders who are dedicated helping clients uncover their “What’s next?”
Q: Are there challenges from a client success operations perspective post-COVID?
A: IDeaS has been super responsive in dealing with the variability of the impact of COVID. Demand has returned in a sizable way, expectations are growing very rapidly around business results, and teams are growing again. All of that creates pressures for us to be able to make sure we’re ready and able to move forward. We’ve also become so familiar with the always on environment – a quick Teams or Zoom call – where everybody is just a click away. But now, clients are out there and ready for us to go back to visiting hotels, visiting regional offices, and visiting conferences. We need to innovate again to work effectively in a hybrid environment where we are doing more in-person engagements, but still be a click away.
Q: How do you plan to prepare team members to meet these new demands?
A: We are investing in our team members because they are who the client relies on. Our development agenda is around building persona-based learning and development offerings that provides the latest knowledge needed to deliver the client success support we have always been known for. We’re focused on improving access to resources that support our team and help them find answers at their “moment of need”, as well as fostering a supportive team environment where they can confidently reach out and get the right answer at the right time for their clients
Q: What insights can you share into how the Client Success and Consulting teams are helping address these challenges?
A: Sharpening our focus within the team is the key part. We are focused on asking ourselves “How do we use Consulting to help our clients grow?” Growth can be from discovering opportunities, learning new ways of working, bringing change through your organization, or identifying ways to get more out of the solution they already adopted. Our Consulting organization is very focused on helping our clients grow, stay, and feel like they received maximum value from our solutions.
Q: If you could name three key benefits hoteliers find in working with your team at IDeaS, what would those be?
- We are the source of direction when commercial leaders have a question, need a solution, have a problem, or are looking for advice. Our team is here and ready to help our clients maximize their success
- Our client success teams occupy a unique position where they are obtaining insights everyday into what’s happening in the world of commercial success and the industry as a whole. We can bring those insights to our team to continually improve the solutions and support offerings of IDeaS to deliver further commercial success.
- We make it fun. Our clients know they have people who want to create a positive experience with great relationships and connections. In the world we live in now, this is such an important thing for all of us when we’re trying to succeed and deliver in our business.
Come meet David at the upcoming Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC), the world’s largest and oldest technology conference this year. This year’s event will be held in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, from June 27-30. Visit IDeaS booth #1225.