Hispanic Business Article

Claudia Infante Leverages Data to Help Future Proof the Margaritaville Lifestyle

Claudia Infante Leverages Data to Help Future Proof the Margaritaville Lifestyle

Claudia Infante is driving incredible tech innovation in the laid-back “town” of Margaritaville

Claudia Infante Margaritaville

Claudia Infante, CDO, Margaritaville


Claudia Infante wasn’t very familiar with the music of Jimmy Buffett before she came to Margaritaville. The chief data officer (CDO) at the lifestyle brand never really connected with music about taking it easy.

“I grew up with mariachi and traditional Mexican music that was more about loving passionately or having your heart torn out of your chest,” Infante says with a smile. “Jimmy’s music is so laid-back and inspirational; I didn’t know what to do with it.”

But her musical preferences haven’t kept Infante from bringing strategic technological innovation and capabilities to an IP better known for taking it easy. Infante has done anything but. The last almost seven years can be best summed up by the card she received upon being promoted to her present role:

Claudia Infante Margaritaville

Photo by Kimberly Puglisi


Few people have entered our organization and made the impact you have.”

The note continues, but that’s truly all that needs to be said. Infante has been promoted every other year since coming to Margaritaville, and projects she helped initiate early on in her tenure are now starting to bear very, very rich fruit.

The uniqueness of the Margaritaville brand business model has made the role challenging and exciting. The company doesn’t own the assets; it owns the name, the culture, and the vibe of Margaritaville—better defined by the emotional connection of each guest inspired by the life, literature, and music of Jimmy Buffett.

“What we do is provide our franchisees, who own the assets, with data and resources necessary to execute the marketing and experience at their particular brand extension,” Infante explains. “My job is to oversee how that data gets to live within the four walls of Margaritaville, who has access to it, and how that data impacts business and revenues.”

Initially, Infante’s purview was just Margaritaville hotels, where she implemented a reservation system, a customer relations management solution, and a loyalty program. Those three initiatives became the cornerstones of how Margaritaville has continued to learn about its consumers.

Claudia Infante Margaritaville

One of Claudia’s original artworks. (Courtesy of Claudia Infante)

Three years ago, Infante and her team did a few deep-dive studies to better understand the Margaritaville consumer habits. The study revealed the high propensity of Margaritaville consumers to own a boat, a motorcycle, or a recreational vehicle.

“When the opportunity [arose], it made sense that we should expand the Margaritaville offerings to the outdoor hospitality sector,” Infante explains. “And we now have Camp Margaritaville Resorts where you can park your Margaritaville RV and have a wonderful experience.”

The same goes for those wanting to get out on the water. The company partnered with Forest Green to bring Margaritaville branded pontoon boats to market.

These strategic decisions have been aided by Infante’s work. The early investment with which the company supported her initiatives has helped collect insights about fans of Margaritaville, allowing the brand to move into new and expanded IP offerings.

But Infante just keeps moving forward. At present, her team is working on a master data management program (MDMP) to consolidate data found across multiple platforms into a single data structure the company is affectionately calling “The Lakehouse.”

“Those are our two big projects at the moment,” Infante says. “When it comes to the MDMP, I’m counting on—not hoping—that it will become a core component of our decision-making process,” the CDO says. “It will inform the gift card program we’re launching. It will inform the app that we’re designing for the brand. I hope my team knows how much we appreciate the amazing effort they have put into bringing these ideas to life. They’re incredible.”

Claudia Infante Margaritaville

Photo by Kimberly Puglisi

And for those just beginning their careers, whatever they might be, Infante has meaningful advice that she herself has lived. Initially an art major, the Mexican immigrant found that when the rubber hit the road, she needed to find a way to support her closely connected family. Infante grew up in poverty and was determined to better her life for herself and for those around her. But she did it her way.

“I did a lot of things early in my career that I didn’t necessarily enjoy, but they provided perspective and opportunity for me to find what I truly loved,” the CDO says. “While you are searching for the right path for you, try and figure out what success means to you. It’s not always about money, title, or influence. Sometimes, you just want to be excited about what you get to do today. I love my job!”


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