Hospitality CRM: A Hotelier’s Guide to Learning Salesforce

April 20, 2020


“Love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy the effort and keep on learning. “  - Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. 

In her best selling book, Mindset, psychologist Carol Dweck shows in her research how a growth mindset, marked by one’s willingness to always continue learning, leads an individual to much greater success in life, when compared to its fixed mindset counterpart. 

With that said, it has long been known that Salesforce is the global leader for CRM. This cloud-based technology is easy to use, highly customizable, scalable and when used correctly, provides phenomenal ROI.

What is not as well known is how perfectly it fits as a CRM tool for the hospitality industry. It is my hope this article teaches you a bit more about this fit and encourages you to want to learn more. 

This article’s purposes is to demonstrate ways Salesforce can empower the hotelier. 

The Hospitality Industry powered by Salesforce!

There is no wonder why the largest hotel company in the world uses Salesforce. Marriott’s customer recognition platform uses Salesforce’s Service Cloud to create a “360-degree view” of guests, as well as allowing “continuous interaction” across different messaging services, mobile apps, websites and call centers.

Marriott knows that guests share a lot of information with them and that they in turn want a highly personalized experience. Service cloud allows hoteliers to see preferences such as bed types, higher or lower floor preferences, wine affinities, names of their beloved pets, etc. As former Marriott International’s Global Chief Commercial Officer,  Stephanie Linnartz put it,  Marriott has used Salesforce to have high tech empower high touch. 

Salesforce’s Analytics platform, Einstein Analytics, could also be employed to analyze billions of transactions every day, giving the ability for their hotels to radically use artificial intelligence to be more productive and smarter about their customers. Imagine real-time, actionable dashboards displaying data by guest, broken down by company, by property, by region, by brand, and by date range.

Accor hotels is another large hotel group, having used Salesforce since 2013 to empower their hotel sales managers with a 360° overview of the Group's strategic accounts, thus giving them a better understanding of their B2B customers. Accor also uses Salesforce extensively for its concierge services.

Salesforce is also easy to integrate with, as can be seen by the Intercontinental Hotel Group’s use case

IHG integrated Salesforce with Avaya Communication Manager to create a phone and guest log system. IHG team members were able to easily identify callers and see any relevant open cases related to the account or contact within Salesforce. Automatic logging of calls and easy association of the correct cases with a single click allowed for guest cases to be closed more quickly and ultimately improved customer experience satisfaction. 

Others large hotel groups that have used Salesforce include Barcelo hotels, which uses Salesforce for customer-data driven, targeted marketing campaigns, Kimpton Hotels who rolled it across their portfolio for a high touch Guest recognition and Loyalty program, and Wyndham Destinations who armed their sales people with iPads to hand to guests during their tour of the timeshare property, allowing them to directly input their information into the CRM. 

In summary, Salesforce can allow for front desk agents to have a 360 degree view of their guests, with profile information, interests and AI powered recommendations at their fingertips. With Sales Cloud, sales teams can easily manage their B2B sales accounts, making sure their meeting and events spaces are always booked. Finally, Marketing Cloud can give marketing departments the ability to use their PMS-enriched guest data to create customizable and timely campaigns, to have hotel guests booking more often and directly.

A Growth Mindset 

Not only is Salesforce a best of breed CRM, but it is also geared towards people who are students at heart. And they do a great job of providing different resources to really learn the solution. 

As a sales account executive myself having used Salesforce for over 5 years, to this day I’m still learning new ways to use the solution to better my craft. Here are some ways you too can learn Salesforce. 


For new learners, I strongly recommend the book, Salesforce for Dummies by Liz Kao and Jon Paz. In this book, you will get the ABC’s of Salesforce. What I love about it is that it breaks down jargon terms used throughout Salesforce such as “records, objects, and flows” It also breaks down each of Salesforce’s working pages like Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Reports. 

It is easy to read and you can skip around and over areas that you are already familiar with. Best of all, it does a great job explaining why the new “Lighting Experience” is better than Salesforce Classic, something long-time Salesforce users have a hard time transitioning to.

Salesforce U

Salesforce offers the ability for its users to get familiar with the system through its self-guided modules located in its version of a Salesforce University called “Trailhead.” It offers different "trails” you can go on to begin your Salesforce education adventure. 

If you are a salesperson like me and looking to go on a fun-filled adventure trail, then I highly recommend the Sell Lightning Fast with Sales Cloud route!

Salesforce users also comprise the Trailblazer community that you can ask other Salesforce users for tips and best practices in using the system. It was through this community that I found links to what I consider the best two modules to quickly get the Salesforce basics, the Salesforce User Basics module, and the Salesforce User Tour. Both modules offer quizzes in the end so that you gain Salesforce Points and earn those super cool Salesforce Badges!

Salesforce and Hotels 

Since we are in the Hospitality industry, then the logical question is how can I learn to best use Salesforce for my hotel?

To that I highly recommend watching Jonathan Reynolds’ presentation at Dreamforce 2019, Unlocking the value of guest data and driving innovation. Jonathan goes into all the ways Salesforce works for hoteliers, highlighting neat features like Guest 360 views, Einstein Analytics, Integration to the Hotel PMS, and creating timely, relevant marketing campaigns. 

If you want to further delve into how Salesforce integrates into PMS, then his Loom videos on Opera PMS integration are fantastic as well. You can find them on the Hapi Vimeo page.

These two articles from Salesforce’s own blog, The Benefits of Using CRM Software for Hotels and How CRM Is Improving the Hotel Industry also give a fantastic overview of ways the CRM perfectly fits in the hospitality market and is a statement of the company’s focus on higher penetration. 

Jump Right In!

Finally, the best way to learn Salesforce is by jumping right in! Like anything, it is when you actually go out and start getting your hands dirty that you will truly begin to understand it.  

So enjoy the learning experience and Hapi Trails! 

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