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How Marriott Is Working With Salesforce To Get Complete, Cross-Channel ‘Recognition’ Of Its Guests

“Marriott’s vision is to be the world’s favorite travel company. The best way to reach that goal is to employ a best-in-breed, global customer recognition platform that connects our guests at every possible touchpoint to our team of expert hospitality professionals who strive to delight our guests every stay,” says Brian King, Global Digital & Sales Officer at Marriott International.

As the devices and platforms consumers use to get the products and experiences they want multiply by the day — from desktop to mobile to social media, and now chatbots to voice activated assistants — it’s as difficult as ever for brands and their customers to get fully, seamlessly connected.

A partnership between Marriott International and marketing platform Salesforce a promising to deliver on the evolving demands associated with customer relationship management and personalization across multple channels and touchpoints.

The move comes as Marriott unveiled plans last month to introduce one set of unified benefits across Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest for its members in August 2018.

CRM-Plus

Acknowledging that an off-the-shelf “CRM” tool might not be enough to keep up with all the various ways consumers want to connect, Marriott has instituted a “customer recognition platform” powered by Salesforce that is intended to allow the hospitality brand to “conduct one, continuous interaction with members of its loyalty programs across guest channels including call centers, on-property, web and mobile, on a global scale.”

“Marriott’s vision is to be the world’s favorite travel company. The best way to reach that goal is to employ a best-in-breed, global customer recognition platform that connects our guests at every possible touchpoint to our team of expert hospitality professionals who strive to delight our guests every stay,” says Brian King, Global Digital & Sales Officer at Marriott International. “Our partnership with Salesforce is essential to creating a frictionless experience for our guests so they can spend more time pursuing the things that make them passionate about travel.”

By combining the loyalty data that guests opt-in to share with Marriott with Salesforce’s CRM-focused Service Cloud, the recognition platform provides Marriott associates with an accurate, 360-degree view of each guests’ profile.

In an email, King described how the program works and the reasoning behind Marriott’s push to set it up within the organization:

  • Digital Personalization: As a hotel company, we have an opportunity to learn, remember and anticipate our guests’ needs and aspirations in travel that inspires them to pursue their passions and create lasting memories. To do this we are:
    • Partnering with Salesforce, to break down the barriers between our platforms and our channels, connecting them so our guests can have one continuous conversation with us.
    • Responsibly harnessing the information our guests voluntarily provide to add immediate value to their overall experience.
    • Deploying an omnichannel content strategy that delivers relevant and personalized content on the right device at the right time such as dynamic content on the Marriott Mobile app. For example, serving up relevant content from Marriott Traveler that inspires customers to travel to a destination or provides recommendations for what to do in a destination after a stay has been booked.
  • How Technology Helps: As it has for decades, Marriott today is innovating. We are deploying new technologies that empower our associates to deliver an ever-higher level of guest service that goes beyond personalization into anticipating the needs of our guests. Digital/mobile platforms are helping us engage with consumers wherever they are, and in the medium that is easiest and preferred by our guests – whether that is through messaging, a call center, or face-to-face on property.
  • Personalized Service in the Palm of Your Hand: Marriott knows people want travel to be as seamless and intuitive as booking an on-demand car service. The mobile app with its one-touch navigation, mobile request functionality and dynamic content puts everything at our members fingertips to make their journey as frictionless as possible.

Bringing Calm To Complexity

In crafting this CRM-plus loyalty solution, considering the size and sprawl of Marriott’s customer base and properties make such a necessary bulwark against chaos.

Aside from its tremendous size and long history, Marriott has  keep up with rival hoteliers and on-demand lodging platforms like Aibnb. And then, there’s Marriott International’s global reach is both a strength and challenge: managing loyalty programs and seamlessly operating digital touchpoints across 6,500 hotels in over 120 countries from 30 brands including JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, The Edition, can be daunting.

And as we noted above, there is the loyalty program update that resulted from the merger with Starwood hotels that began in 2016.

Beginning in August, members will be able to combine their separate Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) accounts into a single account spanning the entire loyalty portfolio. The Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG names will continue to live on under the new set of unified benefits until a new program name is introduced in 2019.

So there’s a great deal of complexity to keep track of just on that front.

Then, there’s the tech front. Marriott has aggressively pursued advanced ways of incorporating tech, from mobile check-ins to the use of beacons to direct guests around a resort to employing voice activated assistants like Amazon’s Alexa in rooms to augment customer service.

Now all conversations, regardless of which channel they start from, continue from interaction to interaction across leading messaging platforms, Marriott mobile apps, websites, call-centers and beyond.

For example, loyalty members can use Apple Business Chat to connect and chat with an associate in Marriott’s Customer Engagement Center to make a special request in the weeks leading to their visit. Then, a day before they check in, easily amend the request using the Mobile Requests functionality in the Marriott Mobile app. When they arrive to check in, the front desk associate will let them know the request has been fulfilled.

“There’s no such thing as a ”typical’ guest or traveler—everyone has unique needs, motivations and expected outcomes, and they want their travel partner to deliver a personalized experience,” said Taimur Khan, Salesforce GM and Vice President of Travel, Transportation and Hospitality. “Marriott is redefining expectations across the traveler journey by using Salesforce to empower its guests with connected and personalized service, on the channel of their choice, from the moment they start planning their trip.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.