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July 18, 2016 Issue



SaaS based Sales and Marketing Platform for the Hospitality Industry including CRM, Digital Marketing, Group Sales, and Event Planning Solutions



Charles Deyo

Chief Executive Officer




Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – July 18, 2016


CEOCFO: Mr. Deyo, would you tell us about CENDYN?

Mr. Deyo: Cendyn is a SaaS-based company with the most complete set of solutions available in the hospitality industry for driving sales and marketing performance. Our deep understanding of the challenges faced by hotels and resorts comes directly from years of firsthand experience on that side of the business. As for myself, I was a regional controller with Hyatt, and eventually left as AVP of sales and marketing. Those experiences inspired me to create Cendyn, and design applications that use a data driven approach to drive bottom-line results. This is really the idea behind the Cendyn Hospitality Marketing Cloud: solving hotels’ retail, marketing and distribution challenges to generate measurable and profitable revenue growth. 


CEOCFO: What are some of the challenges unique to the hospitality industry that you are able to address?

Mr. Deyo: I am glad you asked because most people do not really understand how complex the hotel business is. For example, when I was working in Hawaii, we were managing 12 restaurants at one property. We had more retail than the typical local mall. We had a train department, a boat department, a membership department. We were managing a 40,000-square-foot spa. Working there made me realize we were actually managing a small city.


From a sales and marketing standpoint, we had to drive business for all those businesses. It is not just driving room revenue; we had to drive food and beverage, spa, golf revenue and all these other businesses.


At Cendyn, we address those challenges by connecting hotels to the right opportunities so they can maximize their revenue. Our solutions ensure that hoteliers reach the right audience with the right message at the right time. More specifically, we leverage digital technology to match the hotel’s unique value propositions with the right guest lifestyle and experience, which includes interests as well as revenue generating potential. An additional benefit of our solutions is the ability to streamline operations to create efficiencies. This is the common denominator for our meeting, event and Hotel CRM + Data-Driven Digital Marketing solutions.


At the end of the day, our domain of expertise is providing tools that make it easy for hotels to communicate with and cultivate the customer experience while driving significant ROI. In 2015, this averaged 32X for our clients.


CEOCFO: Would you give me a concrete example of a tool that is available to a hotel to manage a specific function?

Mr. Deyo: Cendyn has developed end-to-end solutions that serve hotels and resorts as well as group business and event planners, which is why the Cendyn Hospitality Marketing Cloud is split into two main solution sets: Cendyn/ONE™ and Cendyn/EVENTS™.


Cendyn/ONE™ provides Hotel CRM and Data-Driven Digital Marketing solutions that enable hotels and resorts to grow transient leisure bookings, guest engagement, and loyalty. Our Integrated Hotel CRM + Data-Driven Digital Marketing solution centralizes data from multiple systems, including Property-Management Systems, Central Reservation Systems, Point of Sale, Call Center, Guest Satisfaction Surveys, Web, Mobile and more. It then compiles that data into an amazing 360-degree view of the guest, so it becomes actionable. Our CRM applications empower hoteliers to prospect for new customers, while engaging and nurturing their existing guests with one-to-one marketing. To give you an idea of the scale of what Cendyn/ONE does, in 2015 our servers hosted 35 billion unique data elements, and our clients sent 1.2 billion personalized messages that generated half a billion dollars in direct room revenue.  


Cendyn/EVENTS™ (formerly Cendyn Arcaneo) offers strategic Event Management and Hotel Sales solutions that capture group business and streamline the event sourcing, planning and execution process. One of the applications on this platform is eProposal®, which integrates with a hotel’s sales and catering system and enables sales managers to create an amazing, personalized proposal within minutes of being contacted by a planner.


CEOCFO: Are the end customers appreciating what they are getting?

Mr. Deyo: I had a discussion with one of the hotel sales managers who uses Cendyn/EVENTS suite of solutions, and he told me about an instance when he was able to secure a meeting event in just one phone call. While listening to the planner talk about the requirements for the event he wanted to organize, the sales manager logged all the details into our electronic proposal delivery system eProposal® and customized it to include the catering menu, venue pictures, and room reservations for the entire group. The sales manager sent the proposal to the planner before they hung-up the phone. The planner was so impressed that he booked the meeting right away.


In a way, our event end customers exemplify the advance of the on-demand economy, where consumers accustomed to the instant gratification of digital marketplaces now want immediate access to all goods and services. Nowadays, event managers expect an immediate response, and they get frustrated when it takes weeks to get a proposal back. In the same way, today’s hotel guests have also changed. They not only expect great amenities and service, but want a personalized, curated experience along with an emotional connection to the hotel brand which is exactly what our Integrated Hotel CRM + Data-Driven Digital Marketing solution delivers.


CEOCFO: Whom are you typically working with and at what levels?

Mr. Deyo: We are in 30,000 properties worldwide and 143 countries. We work with everybody from Hilton and Noble House to many of the big independent resorts such as Hotel del Coronado. We also work with hotel management companies like White Lodging, which has franchises of about 160 or 170 properties. At this point, there is probably not a hotel out there that we don’t do something for. We white label everything, so while we are in thousands of hotels, you would never know that it’s CENDYN.


CEOCFO: What is the competitive landscape?

Mr. Deyo: There is no other company that does everything that we do. With regards to our Hotel CRM, we are the only solution in the industry that actually integrates CRM and digital marketing together. One of the benefits is that we can leverage guest profiles to build look alike models and prospect for new guest with programmatic advertising. We can also use that same data to send personalized communications across digital channels and provide attribution modeling, all of which is very relevant to our customers.


With regards to events and strategic meetings, we are the only company in the hospitality sector that actually has a solution that covers the entire value chain, from planning, to meeting sourcing and management as well as measuring event ROI. Naturally, we have many competitors within each of those segments.


CEOCFO: How do you handle privacy and security and making sure that opting out from emails is easily accommodated?

Mr. Deyo: We are extremely careful about privacy and security. We are Safe Harbor and Trust certified. We do PCI certification, and we are listed on the Visa website. We work with American Express and the credit card companies. We tokenize data, and do not store credit cards or any information that would be potentially damaging. A reputable outside firm oversees our datacenter management and monitors security. We also have a DSS person who is part of a PCI certification. DSS self-reporting is also performed on a monthly basis to verify that all our employees comply with data-handling and security policies. Only people with the right security clearance can handle confidential data. As far as CAN-SPAM goes, we are extremely diligent. We do blacklist monitoring, and we never come up on a blacklist because we follow all the rules to a tee.


CEOCFO: How do you handle the challenges of global company?

Mr. Deyo: Becoming global is a new challenge, but we realized that it really comes down to all the people involved. I am of the opinion that great people make great companies, and we have been careful to hire the right people. When we decided to open offices abroad, we took a lot of time to find the right managing director. We hired John Seaton because of his 20 years of experience in travel and event technology, but also because he fits well within our corporate culture. He has also helped us find the right talent to expand our International team in Europe and Asia.


We take care of our people, and try to nurture and develop talent. Our turnover rates are very low. We recently had a ceremony to celebrate our employees’ work anniversary and I was very proud to give away so many 10- and 15-year awards. It is quite an achievement considering that Cendyn is only a 20-year-old company. It also says a lot about our employees’ loyalty and dedication to the success of the company.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the recent agreement with ACCEL KKR?

Mr. Deyo: We are very excited about our new investment partner. Cendyn is a successful company and we were not looking for a cash infusion. As a matter of fact, we were interested in finding a partner that we can grow with and is growth-oriented. To do so we secured advisors from SunTrust, Robinson Humphrey. We did about 35 management presentations to potential investors and ended up going with ACCEL-KKR. What is interesting about the process is that they chose us as much as we chose them. We have already started the due diligence process on some M&A opportunities so that we can accelerate growth through acquisition. Our typical acquisition target profile is a company with technology that can expand the breadth our Hospitality Marketing Cloud and or help us gain market share globally. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that our projected organic growth for 2016 remains very aggressive and we are on par to meet that goal.


CEOCFO: Do you see a consolidation in the industry?

Mr. Deyo: You are seeing it quite a bit now. We saw that with acquisition of Cvent by Vista Equity Partners. The Cvent deal was the largest valuation in our industry’s history for a software company ($1.6 billion), so there have been some big deals. ZDirect was acquired by TravelClick. A notice came over yesterday that Zentella got picked up too. Consolidation is happening everywhere in the hotel business, including the solution providers for this particular vertical. Is it going to continue? At some point, business valuations will stop making sense. For now, I believe that the market conditions are still favorable and that we are very likely to achieve our acquisition strategy goals.


CEOCFO: I see on your site that giving back is important at CENDYN. Why is it important and where do you focus your efforts?

Mr. Deyo: My wife and I started the business 20 years ago. We have always believed in good karma. You give back to the community, and it comes back to you tenfold. For Boca Helping Hands, we did a management function where we packed lunches for the homeless, and that was our management outing. I am a former chairman of the YMCA, and we do a lot of work there as well. We also give free YMCA memberships to all of our employees. We are involved in about 15 different charities in the community, both on a financial — but more importantly on a volunteer — basis. In spite of all that has been going on with Cendyn, I kept making time for volunteering because I think it is important to stay centered and grounded, as a company and as an individual.


“The idea behind the Cendyn Hospitality Marketing Cloud: solving hotels’ retail, marketing and distribution challenges to generate measurable and profitable revenue growth.”- Charles Deyo







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