The NextGuest CRM Data Importer is a web-based tool for uploading profile data from external data sources into the NextGuest CRM system. Profiles imported into NextGuest CRM can be used for marketing and other campaigns, provided that they have an opt-in flag.
The imported profiel data can be from third-party data sources, such as sweepstake data, newsletter data, initial upload data, etc. The import data format can be XLSX (Excel 2007 and above) or CSV (comma separated). The tool allows some data manipulation and validation before importing the data records.
The Data Importer provides a standard list of guest profile fields from the NextGuest CRM database (lastname, firstname, email, language, etc.) Fields from the import file which can be matched to these fields can be imported into the NextGuest CRM database. Moreover, the system allows you to add, import, and map extra pickgroups (such as preferences, interests, newsletter subscriptions, etc.), and to perform specific field mappings.
Additional pre-processing actions are available to improve the quality of the profile information before adding these profile records to the NextGuest CRM database. For instance, the auto-creation of newsletter codes for imported profiles, email syntax verification, date format conversion, the setting of proper cases, or the conversion to proper names, etc.
Guest Profile Import
The NextGuest CRM Data Importer allows the import of guest profiles into the NextGuest system. The data source of these profiles is treated as a “virtual” hotel within the CRM system. The profile records, once aligned to the respective field names, are imported into the table profileguest.
Once the data has been imported into the profileguest table,the handling of code mappings, data updates, profile cleansing, matching and promotion follows the standard rules applicable in NextGuest. For example, profiles without valid postal addresses or email addresses are moved to the miscellaneous pool, profiles with a valid email are promoted as Prospects, etc.)
Note: The rights to add a data source and to the release of the profile data is usually reserved to the manager and the NextGuest CRM specialists. This is to safeguard the quality of the NextGuest CRM profile data.
Opt-in/Opt-out handling via Data Importer
The Data Importer imports profiles just like any other PMS Profile. Therefore the opt-in status of the resulting central profile will be handled in the exact same way.
Regardless of the HQ Update option, the following rules apply:
- If the central profile is set to opt-out -> it will not be opted-in again.
- If the central profile is set to opt-in -> it will not be set to opt-out.
- If the central profile has no opt-in/out ->it can be opted in via the import.
- If no central profile exists yet -> the opt-in status from the import is taken.
Note: If several email tools are maintained and specific opt-out list imports are required, the NextGuest CRM team needs to be involved as this overrules the current business logic.
The function to enable importing opt-out lists is planned for a future release.
Steps to import profile data
After signing into NextGuest Data Importer, you see the start page with a list of available data imports and their status.
Create New Data Import
- From the Data Importer start page, select the Add option to create a new data import.
- Fill in an intuitive Name, add some additional explanatory Remarks and select Save.
The new data import record is displayed in the list with data imports.
- Select the record to open it again and select the Upload File tab.
(Ignore the General tab for right now; we will return to it later.)
Note: NextGuest provides a standard Excel file with all fields available for importing guest profile data. This file is available for download from the NextGuest CRM Data Importer. Simply select the Download Template File option and save the file to the required folder. If you can manage to “fit” your guest data into these fields, the data import is straight-forward and does require data mappings.
Upload Import File
The import data format can be XLSX (Excel 2007 and above) or CSV (comma separated). You can use the option to upload the required import file from your computer or other medium.
- Either click into the box and select a file from the opened file upload dialog or drag and drop the required file from your explorer into the data importer.
- Once you have successfully uploaded the required file and selected SAVE, the Field Definition tab becomes available and the Pre-Process Data and Add New Data Source options are activated.
Caution: Be very careful with opening CSV files in Excel and saving files back to Excel format, since Excel tends to auto-correct/convert data columns based on regional settings, number and date settings and so may make a mess out of your data.
Add a new data source and complete the General tab
In the next step, you need to assign a data source to the data import. The data source of the imported profiles is treated as a “virtual” hotel within NextGuest CRM.
This way, imported guest profiles can be handled and managed just like other guest profiles uploaded into profileguest from one of the hotels. Plus, you can always find the source again by searching for the respective hotel. Once the data has been imported, the handling of code mappings, data updates, profile cleansing, matching and promotion follows the standard rules applicable in NextGuest CRM.
You can use one and the same virtual hotel/data source for multiple data imports. This is recommended if the data import happens on a regular basis and always uses the exact same file format (for example a monthly data upload with loyalty profiles from an external source).
In this case, you simply select the available data source from the drop-down in the General tab.
If required, you can also create a new data source for a new data import, by selecting the Add New Data Source option. We strongly caution against using the same data source/virtual hotel to upload data from different external sources.
Note: The option is only visible if you have the rights to add a data source. Typically, this right is reserved to the Manager or the NextGuest CRM specialist. Moreover, once you have selected Pre-process Data, i.e. prefilled the selected data source with imported data, the function will no longer be available.
- Select Add New Data Source.
- Fill in the required information and select SAVE.
The system creates the data source as a hotel with the Hotel Type external Data Import and assigns an internal hotel ID.
Subsequently, select the General tab to complete the information there and to link the data source to the import.
- In the General tab, click into the Data Source field and select the proper data source for the data import.
- Optionally, click into the Newsletter Codes field and select one or more newsletter codes which you want to link to the profiles. The codes can later be used for targeting these profiles in campaigns.
- Next, click into the HQ Update field and select the required profile update choice. The setting in the HQ Update field determines whether and to what extent profile information from an imported profile will overwrite or be added to a matching central profile.
For detailed information about your choices here, see Table 2.
- select SAVE when you are done.
Map Data Fields/Field List Definition
The Field List Definition option is used to map the data fields (from the import file) to the standard profile fields available with Serenata CRM. Only fields from the import file which can be matched to these fields can be imported into the NextGuest CRM database.
If you can fit your guest details into the standard Excel table provided via the DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE FILE option, you will not require data mapping.
In the column on the left, the system displays the standard list with NextGuest CRM profile fields. Mandatory fields are flagged with a green checkmark. You have the following options:
- Click into the fields one by one and assign a matching field from the import file (see below for details).
- Add specific new field mappings to integrate and fit in information from the data upload not covered by the NextGuest CRM field information. For instance, use the NextGuest CRM Remarks field for inserting specific field information from the data upload.
Select the Add New Field Mapping option, select e.g. the Remarks field from the NH Data Field dropdown, map the required Import Data Field to the NextGuest CRM field.
- Add a new pickgroup and respective mappings to include pickgroup information required for the data import. For instance, add a Newsletter pickgroup for including newsletter subscription with yes/no information. select the Add New Pickgroup Mapping option, enter the Pickgroup Name (in our example NWL) and map the required Import Data Field by selecting it from the dropdown.
Our below example additionally uses the Default Value NFL combined with the pre-processing information Use Default Value if True. This means that the field will be filled with Newsflash (i.e. this guest receives our newsletter), if the import field is filled with True/Yes/Y.
Add Pickgroup Mapping:
Pick Group Name
NWL for Newsletter Codes
INT for Interest Codes
SPE for Guest Specials
Import Data Field
Column name from the import
Code as per main data setup for the respective pick group
Use default value if true; this is recommended since the Default value is used whenever the row value of the column is either (Yes, True, 1, Y)
- Use the Copy Field Mapping option for new data imports which are identical to previous data imports.
Note: Import records with empty mandatory fields are excluded from the import.
Mapping data import fields to the standard Serenata CRM fields
- Select the Field List Definition tab.
- Click into the fields one by one and assign a matching field from the import file, if available.
In our example, there is a match called lastname in our import file for our lastname field.
The checkbox Mandatory Field should always be selected for the Last Name field, since NextGuest CRM cannot use records without a last name.
- Next, decide whether you require a Default Value for the field.
Default values mean that the field will never be empty, since you are assigning a default which is used if the respective record does not provide the information.
Default values can be useful for fields such as Country and Language. For instance, if 95% of your guests come from the US, it could make sense to set a Country default to US and the Language default to EN for English.
- Use the Pre-Processing field to manipulate the respective field contents as required.
Our example uses the Proper Name option. This takes care of the required upper and lower cases and also enables the handling of some name specials, such as MacGyver or d’Estaing.
For a list of available pre-processing options, see Table 1 below.
- Select Save.
- Repeat this process step by step for each available field.
If you are unable to find a match, move to the next field.
The last field displayed in the list, i.e. pmsprofileID is the unique identifier for the guest record in the profileguest table. Per default, the Pre-Processing option Key-Email/Last/First is used.
- Select SAVE.
|Table 1: Field List Definition – Available Pre-Processing Options
|The Data Importer offers a range of pre-processing options to improve the quality and the consistency of the imported profile data.
|Convert Y/N to 0/1 or
|Converts Yes to FALSE
|Convert Y/N to 1/0
|Converts Yes to TRUE
|These two options can be used for all Yes/No and flag fields (True/False).
0 represents FALSE
1 represents TRUE
For example, our above data import provides an Opt-In field both for classic mails and for emails. If the guest is OK with receiving postal emails and/or emails, the respective profile fields will be flagged with an Opt-In, i.e. with YES. The NextGuest CRM database has a matching field called Opt-out. The logic is the other way around, however. A guest who has opted in in the import file would have to receive an opt-out = NO setting in the NextGuest CRM database. In this case, you would select Convert Y/N to 0/1.
If the data import uses the same logic as the NextGuest CRM database, you would use the second option, Convert Y/N to 1/0.
The field contents “Y”, “Yes”, “TRUE”, “X”, “1” “J” or “Ja” are interpreted as Yes/True values.
|Data Convert (YYYYMMDD)
|The internal format used for dates within the NextGuest CRM world is YYYYMMDD. Transforming date entries of profiles to this common format can be helpful for making the information more readable and consistent.
|This option is recommended for all email fields. It checks the email syntax and empties the field if the validation is not successful.
|Email Name Part
|This option can be used, for instance, to fill the LastName field with a default if you have a pure email list without names.
In this case, the system will take the first part of the email address (up to the @ sign) and copy it into the LastName field. For example with the email address email@example.com the system would copy “smith” to the LastName field.
|Key – Email/Last/First
|This pre-processing option is used as a default for the PMSProfileID field which serves as the unique identifier for PMS profile records. If you keep this default, the PMSProfileID for imported guest profiles will be made up of the entire email address + last name + first name of the guest.
If you remove this option, the system will make up the PMSProfileID from the line number and the internal import ID.
|Converts all letters into lower case.
|Converts all letters into the proper case. This is recommended for all fields with text content. It will ensure that the first letter in each word is capitalized and the remaining letters in the word are written in lower case.
|Converts all letters into the proper case and takes into account spellings of special names, such as MacGyver, d’Estaing, or von Liefen.
|Converts all letters into upper case.
If you are sure that you have matched all possible fields from the import file, select the option Pre-Process Data.
The system will go through the import file and carry out all pre-processing actions defined during the Field List Definition process, i.e. put names in the proper cases, verify email addresses, discard records without last name or email address, etc. If the pre-processing cannot be carried out, the system displays appropriate error messages in the General page. It will take a moment to process all records.
The results are visible in Data Importer with additional tab options:
In our example, the system would import 5 records and exclude 1 record.
Import File Preview: View the guest profiles you are about to import into the NextGuest CRM database.
You will be able to view the guest records in blocks of 250 lines, since the system breaks down the import into manageable sizes of 250 when finally importing the records into the CRM database.
In our example, you can see that obviously, the “Proper Case” pre-processing option was not used for the city field. You can always go back to the Field List Definition and rework your match list until the data import is as good as it can get. This is highly recommended, since you do not want to import low-quality data into the NextGuest CRM database. When you are finished, select PRE-PROCESS DATA again.
Excluded Data: View the excluded guest records. These will not be imported, since something vital is missing.
In our example (with a mandatory email field) the system has excluded records with empty or invalid email fields.
Statistics: View the statistics for the data import. At this point, you can see the number of processed and excluded records and the percentages.
|Table 2: General Tab: Description of Fields
|Name of data import.
|Additional explanation for the data import.
|The data source of the imported profiles is treated as a “virtual” hotel within NextGuest CRM. You can select the required data source from the drop-down. For creating a new data source you need to have specific rights.
|select the drop-down and link one or more newsletter codes to the data source. You can include newsletter codes as queries in campaigns and so later locate profiles for targeted campaigns.
The HQ Update field determines whether and to what extent profile information from an imported profile will overwrite or be added to a matching central profile.
Partial Update: Additional data from the matching imported guest profile will be added to the central profile. Existing central profile details will not be overwritten.
Full Update: The field information of a matching central profile will be overwritten with the details of the imported guest profile.
Address Only: Only address fields will be overwritten.
Pick Groups Only: Only the pick group information will be copied over to the matching central profile. This is to ensure that any Newsletter Codes selected here will be copied over to the central profile for later use in campaigns.
Import to DB
Select the Import to DB option, when you are ready to import the data into NextGuest CRM.
- Select the IMPORT TO DB option and confirm the message that you want to import the data into NextGuest CRM.
The system will process the first 250 profiles and then give you an estimate of how long it will take to complete the job.
If you are importing a very large number of profiles (say 100,000 and more) , take into account that this will take several hours.
⚠️ Caution: Do NOT close the import window while the process is still running. If you do, the system will start from the beginning again, next time you select the IMPORT TO DB option.
- When the system has finished uploading the data, close the window.
The system will import the guest profiles into the NextGuest CRM universe. However, at this point, they are in a holding stage (parent ID “5” and profile processing status “90”).
NH Code Mapping
The guest profiles have now been imported into the NextGuest CRM universe. They are in a holding stage. This is because some of the data will have been uploaded with external codes which NextGuest CRM cannot identify. Therefore, after the upload, the NH Code Mapping option will appear.
This means the data will not be processed further with the automatic profile management routines (check, clean, match promote) until the entire import has been mapped properly.
- Go through the options one by one and map the codes properly or tell the system to ignore the respective code, if you are unable to find a matching code.
- You may come across records, where you might want to correct the original codes coming from the import file. In these cases, you would need to go back to the original CSV or XLS file, revise the contents there and upload the file again.
- Go through all options and map each item with a red exclamation mark.
For a detailed explanation of code mapping, please refer to the Serenata CRM Web Admin User Manual.
Note: At this point, you can still throw away your upload and import a new upload file, if this is required. Simply select the REMOVE IMPORT FROM DB option.
Release & Use
When you have completed your mapping (no more red exclamation marks; instead green checkmarks everywhere), the Release & Use option becomes activated.
The Release & Use option is usually reserved to the manager or the NextGuest CRM consultant. This is to ensure a quality review before finally releasing the data into the NextGuest CRM profile management process.
Caution: Only select this option if you are really sure that you are ready to import the data into NextGuest CRM.
Once you have released the data for use, the system will change the profile ID and processing status so that the profiles flow into the automatic profile management processes (parent ID “0” and profile processing status “00”), where the profiles are checked, cleaned, compared and matched to central profiles or promoted to central profiles.