Hyatt, a hotel operator, has deployed a new content management system from Day Software that enables it to increase the efficiency and flexibility of its online channel.

As part of its ‘e-commerce vision’, Hyatt wanted to develop an efficient online channel that could engage with customers more by being more personalised. It hoped that this improved customer experience would drive loyalty for its brand, and higher revenues.

The hotel operator runs more than 600 websites in 10 different languages, ranging from websites for its hotels and restaurants to a corporate website and a blog. It operates 445 hotels and resorts in 45 countries.

Its websites are mainly hosted by AT&T, and Hyatt’s infrastructure includes two data centres and virtualised Linux running on Intel processors. Meanwhile, its suppliers include web server provider Apache, application server Jboss, e-commerce solution provider ATG and search software provider Endeca. Hyatt also uses an Oracle database, and Adobe’s web analytics company Omniture. Adobe completed its acquisition of Day Software for CHF255 million (£163 million) last week.

Prior to adopting the Day CMS, Hyatt used an in-house developed content manager, called Hyatt Editor. It is gradually moving away from this platform.

“It’s [Hyatt Editor] not particularly easy to use. When we want to make changes, it takes quite a long time. It takes two weeks to make a change to the homepage, and aside from Hyatt Editor, we didn’t have a web content manager,” Bill Bernahl, vice-president of e-commerce Hyatt told the Day Software Ignite 2010 conference in Berlin today.

In looking for a new web content management system, Hyatt therefore wanted a platform that would be more flexible, enabling configurable workflow and open content access. Other key criteria were that the system would be easy to learn and use.

After signing the contract for Day’s CQ5 CMS in April 2010, Hyatt immediately embarked on projects revamping existing sites and setting up new ones, including an interactive corporate blog.

Hyatt’s first project was to create a new digital press room as the existing one was being hosted by a third-party company that was planning to leave the business and shut the digital press room down.

“Five weeks from the day of the contract signing, they [Day] set up this simple, single site. It moved the existing site with limited changes, so as to get it up quickly, to modify later,” explained Bernahl.

Hyatt worked with marketing and technology services company SapientNitro on the site, and Bernahl said that hosting the website in the Amazon cloud helped the company to set it up quickly.

The company also hosted its other projects in the Amazon cloud, including the new corporate blog, its Hyatt place property internet pages and its premier restaurants templates. However, despite saying that the Amazon cloud had been instrumental in the fast deployment of its new websites, Hyatt plans to move hosting to the AT&T data centre next year, in order to have more control over the security of its growing amount of web content.

Bernahl said that the corporate blog, which is a platform for its press department to communicate with the media and customers, is a very simple site. However, a comment function was built into it to enable the company to even further engage with its customers.  

As with its digital press room project, Hyatt was then forced to replace and improve its Hyatt Place internet pages, more than 100 single page sites hosted on iGoogle, representing its mid-sized hotel portfolio.

“We had originally done it with Google, but Google decided it wanted to get out of that business, and shut it down, so we had to move very quickly,” said Bernahl.

Meanwhile, for its premier restaurant websites project, Hyatt was looking to develop a single template on which to build websites for its exclusive restaurants.

“Many of our properties have destination restaurants and they need to have their own websites. We developed a template so that the structure is the same, but the websites look very different,” Bernahl explained.

For the rest of 2010, Hyatt is planning to overhaul its destination pages, developing custom landing pages and content sources for property-specific mobile content.