Spend Analytics; where is the Marriott on your Spend Radar?

I arranged to meet Cindy Barlow, Marketing VP of Spend Radar last week for an introductory chat and coffee (more about them later). She's an American lady, and her email said "meet you at the Marriott Grosvenor".

Now, perhaps because I'd been debating whether to buy a ticket to the CIPS dinner which is held at that hotel (hint; I'm still open to last minute invitations...), I naturally assumed that was the Marriott Grosvenor Square.

After 15 minutes smiling at female strangers in the lobby of that hotel and almost getting slapped for my trouble, I asked reception and discovered that Cindy wasn't a guest there. "Have you tried the J W Marriott Grosvenor House"? asked the smart receptionist.

So, did you know the Grosvenor House was a Marriott? I certainly didn't.

Anyway, what was truly ironic (are you listening, Alanis Morrisette?) is that Spend Radar are a rapidly growing spend analytics solutions provider. And this was actually a great example of why you need really good spend analytics technology. How do you know if the "Marriott Grosvenor" is the same vendor as the "Grosvenor House"? Or the "JW Marriott Grosvenor House? Or the "Grosvenor Square Hotel"?

If you can't classify your data properly, you can't get any useful information out of it, and then you can't take the actions you need to, in order to drive real value from the whole process.

Anyway, this was a good example, and we laughed once I'd recovered from my 10 minute power-walk between the hotels.  And we'll come back one day I'm sure and look at Spend Radar in more detail - their presence in Europe is mainly as a partner to some large consulting firms at the moment, but I suspect that will change. Through their partners, they are picking up some impressive accounts, and their rapid growth in the US (they are only 2 years old) suggests that they will be a force in the European market before too long.

Incidentally, my other learning from this experience was that my phone calls to Cindy went to voice mail (despite her phone being switched on) while her emails to me didn't get forwarded to my Smartphone. So much for communication!

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Voices (4)

  1. Eugene McElhatton:

    Well, I met Cindy at Heathrow T5 on her arrival to UK and it was all I could do to stop her joining in the crazy karaoke event, which was taking place there !! I completely agree Spend Radar will make an impact in Europe before long and no doubt there will soon be a Spend Radar iPhone app to help Peter find the next hotel Cindy selects to meet him …..

  2. Peter Smith:

    I’m shocked by the low and base minds of our esteemed readers…Pretty funny though!

  3. Christine Morton:

    Even worse R – said “Cindy” felt compelled to corroborate the story on *her* blog!

  4. R:

    Peter, let me know if I’ve summarised your interaction:

    – you agreed to meet someone called Cindy at a hotel somewhere in London (hint)
    – you asked the receptionist if someone called Cindy was staying there
    – you spent 15 minutes smiling at female strangers
    – waiting to get slapped
    – you’re open to invitations
    – you now know lots of hotels with similar names
    – you laughed once
    – she ignored your calls – and said that she’d sent you emails (subtle hint)


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