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Not everyone greets snowfall with the same optimism and excitement as Greg Porter. The sight of snow-capped mountain peaks and the crunch of powder below his feet doesn’t just mean that winter has arrived. These are the sights and sounds of good business. Porter is owner and president of Great Canadian Heli-Skiing (GCH) — a boutique heli-ski resort and a pioneer of world-class heli-ski operations in North America. Nestled in the snowy mountains outside Golden, a small ski resort town in British Columbia Canada, GCH boasts unlimited vertical on possibly the most famous heli-skiing mountain ranges in the world. One thing Greg and GCH will never have to worry about is providing an unmatched outdoor experience.

But with such an amazing powder experience promised, Porter and his team are challenged with creating a resort/lodge experience to match their guest’s often high expectations.

“We knew we could deliver our heli-skiing, but we needed an administrative system to match our guest’s high expectations,” Porter said.

As with most small business owners, Porter is heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the resort. With an ear close to the ground, Porter can not only predict the coming snowfall, he also understands the processes and systems that pain his operations and employees the most. Specifically, the administrative burden of manually processing forms and agreements that guests must sign when first arriving at the lodge (i.e. liability insurance forms, ski equipment rental forms, transportation waivers and more) was significant. These duties weighed more heavily on the GCH staff than the snow on the trees outside.

Not only that, but as a welcoming host, the last thing Porter wanted to do upon a guest’s arrival was hand them a clipboard with waivers to fill out; he’d rather hand them a beer and a comfortable seat near the fire.

In short: Porter was faced with too many manual administrative processes for collecting crucial customer data and a guest experience that wasn’t up to par.

“We are in the hospitality industry, not the paperwork business, we had a goal of eliminating administration from our guests’ holiday,” Porter says.

Porter turned to Salesforce to develop a system that would cut down on his cumbersome administrative processes. Working alongside Salesforce, Vancouver-based platinum implementation partner Traction on Demand, proposed a self-service Community as the solution.

Traction developed a custom-branded, multi-lingual, self-service Community where GCH customers and soon-to-be heli-skiers from across the globe could sign in and complete all pre-trip paperwork and liability waivers before arriving at the resort.

● The community helps the guest track which forms have been completed and which haven’t, and is integrated with DocuSign’s e-signature application for any waiver that requires a signature.

● It also provides a simple and secure platform for collecting booking deposits.

Once all the data is collected, it’s processed and stored within Salesforce without any manual intervention from the GCH staff.

Not only does the self-service community reduce administrative overhead, it provides GCH with a platform to collect as much customer data as it needs to personalize and enhance the guest experience at the lodge. Each guest creates a profile with information on dietary restrictions, skill levels, and ski rituals.

The benefits of self-service communities go far beyond a reduction in administrative overhead.

● Built as a part of the Salesforce platform, self-service communities enhance Service Cloud as an interactive gateway for engaging with customers and collecting valuable data.

● Self-service communities allows the customer to enter and update their profile information themselves, ensuring you have the most accurate data possible. For GCH, it also eliminates time zone communication barriers with their international clientele.

● Self-service communities provide customers with the ability to troubleshoot issues and resolve support cases on their own with access to approved resources disseminated by the business.

● A well-designed community should provide a secure platform that encourages the customer to interact with the brand past the initial engagement and into the long term.

“Our customer community enhances communication as it allows all operation departments to receive real-time, accurate, relevant data,” Porter says. “It’s a single entry, multi-branch distribution model.”

In determining the impact of the project, Porter and his team have seen strong, tangible results that prove the investment will continue to pay off for many winters to come.

● 2015 Deposit payments have improved by 74% due to self-service payment options within the community

● GCH saw a 21% increase in skier days from ‘13/’14 to ‘14/’15

● GCH realized a 15% increase in revenue during the 2014/2015 season

● Over 80% DocuSign envelope completion rate, meaning more and more forms are being completed before guests arrive at the lodge

By his standards, no resort experience can match the thrill and excitement of mountain top helicopter drops and carving fresh tracks down an untouched bowl of Canadian powder. But by reducing his manual administrative processes with a Service Cloud: Self-Service Community, Greg and his team have seen huge success in enhancing each individual guest’s resort experience; not to compete with the skiing, but to compliment it.

Whether you prefer a warm glass of milk or a scotch on the rocks after riding over 7,000 vertical meters, not only will Porter and his team already know it, it’ll be waiting for you at the bottom of the run.

To really get a sense of how well GCH’s customer community operates, visit canadianheli-skiing.com. To learn more about how Traction on Demand can take your Salesforce projects to new heights, visit tractionondemand.com.