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  • Cleo Johnson

Transforming hospitality: Uniting digital innovation, data insights, and commercial strategy for guest-centric success

Image: Cleo Johnson, founder and CEO of Nuecleo and Hostex Ambassador
Cleo Johnson, founder and CEO of Nuecleo and Hostex Ambassador

In an era dominated by technology and data, the hospitality industry stands at the crossroads of transformation. Leveraging data and embracing digital innovations are becoming imperative for hotels to deliver exceptional guest experiences and stay competitive. As we step into this era of change, I will be exploring the convergence of digital innovation, data insights, and commercial strategy to achieve guest-centric success at Hostex on Tuesday, 5 March.

Digitising the guest experience

The digital landscape has revolutionised guest interactions with hotels. From the initial booking to post-stay feedback, technology plays a pivotal role. My experience with the Signature Lux hotel in South Africa, where we introduced self-check-in kiosks, highlighted the unique cultural nuances of the South African market. While digitisation is essential, maintaining the human touch is crucial for our hospitable culture.

At Nuecleo, we recognised a gap for smaller properties that needed cost-effective solutions. This has resulted in the development of a hotel chatbot designed for seamless interactions through WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, and Insta Messenger. This chatbot facilitates room service payments, personalises the guest journey and even reduces printing costs of the rooms directory. It's a tool that empowers smaller establishments to connect and enhance their revenue streams, ensuring that the benefits of digitisation are accessible to all.

Leveraging data for revenue growth

Data is the new currency in hospitality, providing insights into guest behaviour, preferences, and booking patterns. Through data analytics and predictive modelling, hotels can optimise pricing, target marketing effectively, and maximise revenue. I shared a recent campaign success where we utilised data for a Valentine's Day promotion at a hotel in Tanzania. By understanding customer behaviour through data acquired from a Christmas campaign, we optimised our social media marketing spend and sold out in just a few days.

Let's take a moment to appreciate the transformative power of data in action. Imagine this scenario: a guest checks into your hotel for the third time. With the insights gleaned from previous stays, your property management system recognises that this guest has a preference for a particular bottle of wine. Instead of merely fulfilling the routine transaction, you seize the opportunity to surprise them with a complimentary bottle awaiting their arrival or seamlessly integrate it into their dining experience. Suddenly, what could have been a standard check-in becomes a memorable moment of delight, leaving a lasting impression on the guest and fostering loyalty to your brand.

This is the essence of data-driven hospitality – the ability to anticipate and exceed guest expectations at every touchpoint. By leveraging data, hotels can move beyond reactive service to proactive engagement, turning valuable insights into actionable strategies that enhance guest satisfaction, drive revenue, and cultivate long-term relationships.

Breaking down silos for comprehensive strategy

Silos within hospitality organisations can hinder collaboration and result in missed opportunities. My experience transitioning from front-of-house roles to sales, marketing, and revenue highlighted the importance of integrating different departments. In my recent podcast, Nuecleo Café, revenue managers emphasised that every individual in a hotel impacts revenue. Collaboration is key during strategy development, and involving various departments in the decision-making process ensures a holistic approach.

To break down silos, it's crucial to tap into the knowledge of staff on the ground. Having Heads of Departments (HODs) involved in strategy meetings ensures a well-rounded perspective. My advocacy is for a data-driven approach, eliminating assumptions and emotions. By streamlining processes, optimising workflows, and capturing essential data, hotels can enhance their ability to meet guest needs and boost revenue.


In a continuously evolving industry, success lies in embracing digital innovation, harnessing data, and fostering collaboration. By digitising the guest experience, leveraging data-driven insights, and breaking down silos, hotels can position themselves for long-term success. Let us embark on this journey together, where innovation, data, and collaboration converge to create unforgettable guest experiences and drive sustainable revenue growth.

Catch Cleo Johnson speaking on the topic of Transforming Hospitality: Uniting Digital Innovation, Data Insights, and Commercial Strategy for Guest-Centric Success at Hostex on Tuesday, 5 March. For more information and to pre-register to attend Hostex, go to


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