Tableau: How did Carlson Rezidor start using Tableau?
Mat Hughes, Revenue Optimization Manager, Americas: We actually downloaded one free trial. Tableau was really the only one that followed through on making it as easy as the website made it seem.
Tableau: How did the trial go?
Mat: During that 14-day time period, we were able to not only re-create all of the dashboards that we were already doing and they updated much faster, but we also built several new ones. So by the time it was over, we went to our director for approval and it was probably the easiest approval we've ever got because the—the ROI was already there after 14 days.
Tableau: That’s great! That must have been a good meeting.
Mat: We had scheduled the meeting for approval for about an hour. We spent about ten minutes getting approval and then the next 15 minutes playing with the reports. So it went over perfectly. So we bought two licenses, and then about four weeks later, we bought 20 licenses all on Desktop.
Tableau: And you originally intended to use Tableau just internally. But what happened after that?
Mat: What we started finding was that it was so easy to build reports that we felt were visually compelling that we wanted to actually start showing it to hotels.
Tableau: What was the response when you started showing them those reports?
Mat: So we started with a few hotels and maybe two or three reports. And then we showed it to a few more and to a few more. What we found was that within 60 days, we had 300 hotels that were asking for these reports once a week. So then we had a—a great problem to have, which was we couldn't keep up with the demand, we couldn't send them fast enough.
Tableau: Wow! So we understand you implemented Tableau Server not too long after that. How did that process go?
Mat: We went through a proof of concept with IT around Server and also around other BI tools. And what it came down to at the end was that the business side and the users really wanted Tableau because of what we were able to do with it, and that's what drove the decision.
Tableau: Tell us what that did for your increased demand.
Mat: So, right now, we're generating literally thousands of reports every week and distributing them out to hotels with very little to no effort on our part because Server is able to generate them automatically for us.
Tableau: How has this changed your business?
Mat: We've gone from really just being a support-based role to providing proactive recommendations to all of our franchise hotels without adding any additional staff or any additional cost to our franchise hotels.
Tableau: Has Tableau allowed you to solve other business challenges?
Mat: You know, a very good example is that we had one of our senior executive members ask for a very complex visualization. We wouldn't have even been able to answer the question before—let alone how long it would have taken to answer it. It took us an hour to put together a visualization and send it back. We are now able to answer business questions in minutes versus days.
Tableau: So overall, what has been the impact of Tableau on Carlson Rezidor Hotels?
Mat: It's just been a huge game-changer for us. So instead of having to wait for something to already happen and then try to figure out why it happened, we're now proactively looking out and we can see what's going to happen before it happens and then prepare for that or maybe change it.