We sat down with Audrey Murante, our new director of global alliances & initiatives, for an illuminating conversation about why she chose IDeaS for the next chapter in her accomplished career.
At IDeaS, we take great pride in our ability to serve the hospitality and travel industries, and Audrey’s extensive hotel experience, innovative leadership style, and passion for building strong relationships will help take our growing partner program to new heights.
Hello, Audrey. We’re so happy you’re here. What brought you to IDeaS?
Hi! Thank you. I’m excited to be here. When exploring options for my next professional adventure, it was important to me to find a company that truly values its client relations. IDeaS fits that profile extremely well. When I announced I was joining the IDeaS team, numerous industry leaders called to congratulate me for joining such a highly respected and dynamic organization. IDeaS’ value to our clients comes with the use of advanced data analytics to solve the challenging problems they encounter and the laser focus the entire team places on satisfaction by identifying and addressing our client’s needs.
My new role at IDeaS provides the opportunity to work with industry leaders I’ve known for a long time but also gives me the chance to meet new leaders shaping the future of hospitality. Together with our partnerships, my team gets to identify opportunities to improve revenues delivered to hotels and other travel verticals such as parking. And of course, staying in hospitality while learning the intricacies of a leading technology solutions provider allows me to be involved in challenging and mutually beneficial opportunities. The people at IDeaS are incredibly engaged and talented, and I look forward to collaborating with them to help maintain our momentum and high level of quality.
What were you doing before IDeaS, and how did that experience prepare you for this role?
For over 30 years, I’ve served in various leadership positions in the hospitality industry including strategic accounts, distribution, content management, and sales during my time with Carlson Rezidor and, prior to that, with Utell International. In my most recent position with Carlson Rezidor, I was responsible for all global third-party relationships, which included both commercial and connectivity strategy. I have experience with a plethora of hospitality and technology partners that interface with brands and hotels directly including OTAs, GDSs, meta search, wholesalers, connectivity partners, and global payment providers.
The diversity of my experience in working with global strategic partners has helped me become a strong problem solver for hotels and brands. I understand the ever-changing challenges facing the hospitality industry today and can utilize this knowledge to perpetually drive IDeaS as an industry leader through the development of unique and effective partnerships. Only by uncovering problems the customer experiences and identifying their needs can we continue our past success well into the future. We are focused on creating and sustaining an ecosystem of partnerships that build win-win relationships that in turn drive benefits to brands and hotels and create value for IDeaS. The establishment and elevation of relationships with our partners is the mantra that I follow daily. We live and breathe “partnerships.”
How have you seen the hotel industry change over your career?
As I reflect on my years in hospitality, I would have to say the most significant change is the emergence and growth of the online ecosystem which introduced tremendous complexity into the hotel industry and changed the method of doing business. We’ve seen guest expectations change, hotel staff overwhelmed by the constant introduction of new technology, changes in customer loyalty, and the introduction of proprietary algorithms which impacted displays.
These are just of few of the numerous changes in our industry. Hotels have had to learn how to engage with their guests in a totally different manner than previously with pre-check-in messaging, online check-in as well as learning how to manage their online reputation. The need for mutually beneficial partnerships has become increasingly important to hotel owners and brands. At IDeaS, the value we provide our clients gives us an advantage over our competitors with the commitment and competency we deliver.
And finally, what’s the best hotel guest experience you’ve ever had?
That’s a difficult question with the amount of traveling I’ve done in my career so far, but I guess the most important criteria for a “best guest experience” for me personally is positive and kind engagement from hotel staff. Being treated well and recognized as a loyal customer is important. I’ve had staff walk me to an ATM once when it was dark or send out for soup when I came down with the flu during a long trip in Asia.
I think it is easy to see when property staff members are trained well, engaged, empowered, and enjoy what they do. For me it is the little things that can make or break a stay. You expect the room to be clean. Succinctly, I’d like to use a phrase that Ray Kroc made famous for restaurants in judging the performance of a hotel: Quality, Service, Cleanliness, and Value. Every time I stay at a hotel, I make a mental matrix as to how the property performed against that criteria.
Excellent. It was great talking to you today, Audrey, and we’re honored to have you on the IDeaS team.
Wonderful! The feeling is mutual. Now, let’s get to work.
Audrey is passionate about being a catalyst for change. With an entrepreneurial approach, she seeks new and unique opportunities to solve complicated challenges. In her 23 years directing global distribution and third-party relationships for the Radisson Hotel Group, Audrey designed key partnerships to enhance the hotel’s brand, profitability and guest satisfaction.
Audrey holds a B.S. in marketing management from Bellevue University and completed the Carlson School of Management’s Executive Leadership Program. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, she was drawn to IDeaS’ global headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota by the opportunity to follow a bold new path while still serving the industry she knows and loves.