How Edwardian Hotels uses tech to increase personalisation
One of the largest independent hospitality groups in the UK, with around a dozen luxury four and five-star hotels in London and Manchester, Edwardian Hotels London has been welcoming guests for more than 40 years.
The group’s success is rooted in its ambition and ability to deliver a truly exceptional experience for guests, a commitment that shapes every investment it makes, and that includes its investment in technology.
As Michael Mrini, director of IT for Edwardian Hotels puts it, “we want to empower our people to be the best hosts and that means enabling them with the best technology”.
Always on the lookout for ways to raise the bar higher, and stay ahead of the competition, Mrini points to the group’s ongoing deployment of Salesforce as the “ultimate raising of the bar” that will “enable everyone to see every interaction with every guest”.
Part of a broader digital and cultural transformation underway at Edwardian Hotels, designed to reach new customers and unlock new revenue streams, the implementation of Salesforce began pre-pandemic with a series of workshops to uncover exactly what the group wanted and put a plan of action in place. “Salesforce helped us think about how we work today and how we want to work tomorrow,” says Mrini.
The onset of the pandemic, which forced the closure of properties, reinforced the group’s transformation goals. Realising that the key to achieving their ultimate goal of boosting direct bookings from 6% to 20% and closing a revenue gap of around £30m between the group and its competitors, was in providing richer personalisation of the guest experience, they doubled down on their investment implementing Salesforce in spring 2021 with support from partner CloudShift.
Enabling 360-degree visibility for all hotel staff
Implementing Salesforce enabled the group to bring all its data sources together in one platform, to further enable 360-degree visibility.
The group has developed around a dozen APIs using Salesforce’s MuleSoft software to integrate and sync important guest data, like room reservations, F&B purchases, spa treatments and survey responses. They don’t just use data to spot trends, but also to trigger tasks and make bookings, and this means data needs to be bang up to date. MuleSoft allows them to refresh around 100,000 records every 100 minutes and view availability across every room and every hotel for the next year.
“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,” says Mrini.
And everyone from housekeepers to maintenance teams can see the data via role-based dashboards in Service Cloud, meaning the group can capture information on the entire guest lifestyle in one place, empowering its people with better information so they can become better hosts.
Teams even have the 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.
Such insights not only enable richer personalisation of the guest experience but also initiate automated workflows, so say a guest asks Edward about parking at a property when checking in, a voucher will automatically be sent to their mobile phone. And 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.
So, how will this help the group to boost its revenue and unlock new growth opportunities?
Unlocking new growth opportunities with Salesforce
Sales Cloud allows the group to evaluate its B2B relationships, with travel agents and online booking sites, and this makes outreach and performance across different accounts more easily trackable helping the group maximise its revenue generation.
And with a single platform for all teams, where anyone in any department can log a potential lead, the group can maximise its cross-selling opportunities between B2B and B2C customers. So, for example, a concierge could flag a B2C guest that works for a large global firm as a potential B2B lead in Service Cloud, which is then shared with the sales team via Sales Cloud. And by pulling this lead data into Pardot, Salesforce’s B2B marketing automation tool, the group can create personalised campaigns and “develop targeted communications that keep prospects engaged”, says Mrini.
But that’s not all. Account teams can see how B2B contacts have responded to different marketing content via dedicated Pardot dashboards, and these insights enable the group to calculate a cost per booking based on their marketing and ad spend, thereby increasing the success of future campaigns.
Personalised communications is at the heart of this step-change. The group is using Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder to develop several journeys that encompass the entire customer lifecycle. This means they can engage with people as soon as they start researching hotels and can continue to nurture them after their stay to encourage repeat bookings.
And by using Marketing Cloud’s Email Studio, the team can refine their outbound communications using AB testing and maximise resources with customisable templates. “We can develop an email campaign in hours compared with days previously, which means we can engage with prospects and customers more regularly,” says Mrini.
The group plans further implementation of Salesforce platforms, 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,” concludes Mrini.
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