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Customer Engagement

How Marriott Hotels Are Planning for the Next Phase of Travel

Brian King of Marriott and Peter Doolan of Salesforce discuss the future of travel, technology for customer service.

Welcome to another edition of Leading Through Change, our live video conversation series exploring how leaders use software to drive impactful change in industry. For upcoming interviews: Salesforce.com/Live.

The global pandemic has proven inhospitable to the hotel and travel industry. Global Officer of Distribution, Revenue Strategy, Customer Engagement Centers, the Global Sales Organization, and Planning & Services Brian King, for Marriott International, notes his industry has been hit harder than most. He reports that one job in ten around the globe is in travel and tourism, totalling 200 million facing unemployed worldwide. King has worked for Marriot since he was 17 years old, and he has years of experience to share. In this episode, he chats with our Executive Vice President, Digital Transformation and Innovation Peter Doolan to discuss the future of travel, technology for customer service, and how Marriott was one of the first international companies to offer LGBTQ+ partner benefits. Highlights from the conversation, in their own words, are below, they are edited for clarity. See the full video below.

Later, we’ll see a Service Cloud demonstration from every angle. And from France, Angélique Kidjo shares a recorded musical performance.

Highlights from Marriott’s Brian King include:

Technology shouldn’t get in the way of the human experience

I’ve always said that digital is hospitable. People think technology is a dark enemy that’s going to take jobs away. That’s not really true. Teaching our associates digital skills that will serve them well into the future is very important to us. Technology is in the background as an enabler. It will never get between us and great customer interaction. We work very closely with Salesforce to make sure there’s a feeling of true warmth in every digital interaction.

Booking travel brings people hope

I call the “Let’s Go There” campaign a good example of “partner to prosper.” People have been locked in their homes for all the right reasons. But there’s a point where it’s going to go from cabin fever to travel fever. We did some customer research in early June and three things came out of it. One, people miss travel greatly. Two, they’ve taken it for granted. Three, they have nothing to look forward to. People need something to look forward to – maybe it’s six months or a year from now – but they need to get it on the calendar. The campaign is all about when you’re ready, we’re ready for you.

The magic of travel means never having to ask

The idea that we can fulfill guest needs through the Salesforce Cloud is absolutely sacrosanct to us. We’re able to use technology and the Cloud to instantaneously get the guest request into the hand of that associate who can deliver it. It has been a game changer for us. And we are using Service Cloud throughout the entire customer journey. The idea of knowing what guest preferences are, intimately, is the magic of travel. I know I’ve been successful with my customers if they never have to ask.

Watch the Service Cloud demo

At the 33 minute mark, Director of Product Marketing Amanda West unpacks Service Cloud’s capabilities for the hospitality industry.

Hear the music

“We need entertainment to survive,” said Angélique Kidjo. And in this live interview and performance video, we’ll all be surviving, thriving, and jiving.

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