Edwardian Hotels London helps more guests make great memories with Salesforce
It’s Sara’s 50th birthday and she’s planned a stay at her favourite luxury hotel to celebrate. Thanks to Edwardian Hotels London, Sara will be making special memories even before she’s unpacked her bags. “We want to anticipate our guests’ needs before they arrive at one of our properties. A stay with Edwardian Hotels should feel like coming home,” said Siraj Singh, Director of Marketing and Ecommerce at Edwardian Hotels.
For Sara that means the extra pillows she needs are already in her room when she arrives, along with her favourite products from the hotel’s spa. She’s also received a link to book a yoga class and a voucher for complimentary birthday drinks in the hotel bar. “Our hosts are constantly adding those extra personal touches that make a stay with Edwardian Hotels so extraordinary,” said Singh. “With Salesforce, we can make more special memories for our guests.”
Edwardian Hotels delivers exceptional experiences
Edwardian Hotels has been welcoming guests for more than 40 years and is now one of the largest independent hospitality groups in the UK. It owns and operates around a dozen luxury four and five star hotels in iconic locations in London, Manchester, and Heathrow as well as a range of distinctive restaurants, bars, and spas.
The group’s success is rooted in its ambition and ability to deliver a truly exceptional experience for guests. “We are all hosts - from the reception desk to the board room - and we are all committed to going the extra mile to surprise and delight our guests,” said Iype Abraham, Commercial Development Director for Edwardian Hotels London.
This commitment doesn’t just shape every interaction but also every investment - from the soft furnishings and artwork in the hotels’ meeting rooms to the group’s training programmes and IT systems. “We want to empower our people to be the best hosts and that means enabling them with the best technology,” said Michael Mrini, Director of Information Technology for Edwardian Hotels. “We are constantly finding new ways to raise the bar a little higher. Deploying Salesforce is the ultimate raising of the bar and will enable everyone to see every interaction with every guest.”
Pandemic spurs on digital transformation
The Salesforce implementation is part of a broader digital and cultural transformation that will help the group reach new customers and unlock new revenue streams. Edwardian Hotels participated in a series of workshops with Salesforce's Office of Innovation, which helped them understand the art of the possible. The workshops included conducting a deep dive of the group’s aspirations and creating a plan of action and execution to help them achieve their business goals. “We always strive to stay one step ahead of the competition and wanted a partner and platform that would support our digitalisation ambitions,” said Mrini. “Salesforce helped us think about how we work today and how we want to work tomorrow.”
When its properties were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, Edwardian Hotels didn’t take its foot off the transformation pedal. In fact it doubled down on its efforts, implementing Salesforce in spring 2021 with support from partner Globant.
“Disruptive times lead to disruptive ideas. The lockdowns gave us a chance to take a step back and review our systems, processes, and teams,” said Abraham. “By continuing to invest during challenging economic times, we can bounce back stronger.” And Edwardian Hotels is hoping for a big bounce back: it wants to boost direct bookings from 6% to 20% and close a revenue gap of around £30 million between the group and its competitors.
Eliminating data silos to support personalisation
Enabling greater personalisation throughout the guest experience will be key to realising these goals. But personalisation can only be achieved with real-time access to rich customer data - and Edwardian Hotels has a vast amount of data distributed across multiple back-end systems. “For us, Salesforce is much more than just a CRM system. It’s the platform that will bring all our data sources together to enable 360-degree visibility,” said Singh.
Edwardian Hotels has developed around a dozen APIs using MuleSoft to integrate and sync important guest data, such as room reservations, food and beverage purchases, spa treatments, and survey responses. “We don’t just use data to spot trends but also to trigger tasks and make bookings, so it has to be up to date. With MuleSoft, we can refresh around 100,000 records every 10 minutes and view availability across every room and every hotel for the next 12 months,” explained Mrini. “It also helps us implement new ideas from the business more quickly as new integrations can be established in a matter of minutes by reusing existing APIs.”
Edwardian Hotels enriches the guest experience with 360 visibility
Everyone from housekeepers to maintenance teams can see relevant guest and hotel data via role-based dashboards in Service Cloud. “We can now capture information on the entire guest lifecycle in one place,” said Mrini. “With Service Cloud, we can empower our people with better information so they can become better hosts.” Teams even have visibility of mobile app check-ins and guest interactions with Edward, the group’s award-winning virtual host, which has been integrated with Service Cloud.
These insights not only enable richer personalisation of the guest experience but also initiate automated workflows. For example, if a guest asks Edward about parking at a property when checking in, a voucher will automatically be sent to their mobile phone. As more insights are captured in Service Cloud during a guest’s stay, these tasks and workflows are updated to reflect their preferences and interests. These insights also help to shape future marketing campaigns and guest communications.
Greater visibility boosts B2B revenues and service levels
Edwardian Hotels has also boosted visibility and unlocked new insights for its B2B account teams with Sales Cloud. The group has relationships with a number of travel agents and online booking sites as well as corporate accounts, which generate significant revenue. “We need to be able to provide B2B customers with a range of reports, some of which used to take up to three days to generate,” explained Mrini. “With Sales Cloud, this data is available in just a couple of clicks. It’s become the single source of truth on our B2B customers.”
With all B2B customer details and interactions captured in one place, sales leaders and hotel general managers can easily track outreach and performance across different accounts. This not only maximises revenue generation but also improves service levels for the group’s B2B customers.
The team also uses Salesforce Anywhere to share account updates in real-time, generate reports, and collaborate with their B2B customers.
Edwardian Hotels unlocks new growth opportunities
By implementing a single platform for all its teams, Edwardian Hotels can maximise the cross-selling opportunities between B2B and B2C customers. “We want to encourage a growth mindset. With Salesforce, anyone in any department can log a potential lead,” explained Raguraman Srinivasan, Financial Fluency Director for Edwardian Hotels.
For example, a concierge can flag a B2C guest that works for a large global company as a potential B2B lead in Service Cloud, which is then shared with the sales team via Sales Cloud. By pulling this lead data into Pardot, a B2B marketing automation tool, Edwardian Hotels can create personalised campaigns to nurture and convert prospects. “With Pardot, we are no longer casting a wide net in the hope that something will catch. We can develop targeted communications that keep prospects engaged,” said Mrini.
Connecting the dots between marketing campaigns and hotel bookings
Account teams can see how B2B contacts have responded to different marketing content via dedicated Pardot dashboards. These insights enable Edwardian Hotels to calculate a cost per booking based on their marketing and advertising spend, which will help to increase the success of future campaigns.
Edwardian Hotels can tap into similar ROI analytics in the B2C space using Datorama, which is part of Marketing Cloud. Mrini and his team have developed a dashboard that shows how different activities have contributed to guest reservations. Edwardian Hotels can also use the dashboards to analyse bookings, for example, by geographical locations, market segments, and financial parameters. “We want to learn more about our guests so we can encourage them to book with us direct,” said Singh. “With Datorama, we can embrace the science behind marketing and enable a step-change in how we engage with prospects and customers.”
Personalisation and automation boost marketing efficiency
Personalised communications will be at the heart of this step-change. “With Marketing Cloud, we can share the right content with the right guest at the right time. It makes mass personalisation a lot easier,” commented Singh.
Edwardian Hotels used Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder to develop several journeys that encompass the entire customer lifecycle. “We can now engage with people as soon as they start researching hotels,” said Singh. “We can also continue to nurture guests after their stay to encourage repeat bookings.”
With Marketing Cloud’s Email Studio, the team can refine their outbound communications using AB testing and maximise resources with customisable templates. The marketing team currently spend around 80% of their time on manual tasks. With Marketing Cloud and Pardot, Edwardian Hotels hopes to reduce this to approximately 25%, which will enable the team to devote more time to strategy development and campaign analytics. Email Studio will be key to achieving this efficiency gain as it enables marketeers to generate their own templates and resolve data queries without the need for specialist IT skills.
“We can now develop an email campaign in hours compared with days previously, which means we can engage with prospects and customers more regularly,” commented Singh. Edwardian Hotels can also ensure it’s engaging with the right people by using Marketing Cloud and Pardot to identify lookalike customers.
Supporting the launch of new boutique hotel
Smarter processes and sharper campaigns will be key to the successful launch of The Londoner, a super boutique hotel in the heart of the West End. The 350-room hotel will combine panoramic views with a wellness centre, expansive ballroom, and multiple themed food and beverage outlets. “The Londoner is a lifestyle hotel so we need to ensure people understand all the different experiences that are available,” said Srinivasan. “Marketing Cloud will be our primary go-to-market tool and help us attract and acquire the right customers.”
Edwardian Hotels will use Audience Studio to target the guest personas that it has mapped to The Londoner, and Social Studio to track people’s posts around the opening in autumn 2021. “We want the restaurants and bars at The Londoner to become destinations in their own right,” said Srinivasan. “There are a lot of growth opportunities within food and beverage, and Salesforce will help us tap into this potential.”
To ensure The Londoner and its other hotels comply with evolving COVID-19 guidelines, the group has established new automated processes using Edward and Salesforce. This simplifies key tasks, such as the completion of COVID-19 questionnaires by guests, and reduces the volume of internal emails.
Personalised learning trails boost employees’ skills
Edwardian Hotels doesn’t just invest in new properties and new technologies to fuel growth and enrich the guest experience; it’s also committed to developing its people. “There’s a real family and entrepreneurial spirit across our organisation,” said Abraham. “We want to give something back to our employees by helping them progress their careers.”
As well as running its own training academy, Edwardian Hotels organises courses with Imperial College Business School. In March 2020, Edwardian Hotels added another upskilling channel to the mix: MyTrailhead, Salesforce’s online learning platform. More than 400 employees - from housekeeping and maintenance to reservations and finance - have used MyTrailhead to learn about how new Salesforce capabilities will benefit them and guests. “People love the interactive and intuitive approach to learning and that they can access the trails anytime and anywhere,” said Mrini. “Trailhead was really popular with employees on furlough as it gave them the opportunity to develop new digital skills.”
In the future, Edwardian Hotels plans to create personalised trail mixes, which will enable it to use real-life scenarios and anonymised guest data to provide a richer and more relevant learning experience. As more employees join the MyTrailhead community, Edwardian Hotels will use the platform’s powerful analytics to celebrate success and identify where additional training is needed.
Edwardian Hotels keeps innovating and excelling with Salesforce
Expanding its use of MyTrailhead is just one of many innovations in the pipeline at Edwardian Hotels. It also plans to use Social Studio to boost social engagement and to provide guests, partners, and hosts with self-service capabilities via Experience Cloud. “We want to keep pushing the boundaries when it comes to automation, apps, and AI,” said Mrini. “I’d love to get Edward and Einstein talking to each other, which would enable us to provide our hosts with intelligent recommendations on next best actions.”
Edwardian Hotels’ ground-breaking use of technology has already resulted in several awards, and its ambitious digitalisation roadmap will once again put the group in the innovation spotlight. “Our digital transformation will empower our entire organisation to discover new value-generating opportunities,” said Abraham. “With Salesforce, we can keep enriching the experience for our guests and hosts by achieving greater efficiency and synergy.”