Guest: Ryan Creek, Director of CRM, Staypineapple Hotels
Listening to your data = listening to your customers. If you want to thrill guests from their first touch with your brand and earn their ongoing loyalty, you need to make sure every step of their guest journeys is thoughtful, personalized, and trustworthy.
To provide this enthralling end-to-end experience, you need a hub to gather, sort, analyze, and interpret your customers’ data into real-time insights.
Today, explore Staypineapple Hotels‘ remarkable fusion of cutting-edge technology and warm hospitality with Ryan Creek, the Director of CRM.
With 10 out-of-the-ordinary boutique hotels in major U.S. cities, Staypineapple’s ‘Naked Experience’ sets them apart from the major chains. They built their brand identity around attention to detail in every aspect of a guest’s stay.
Discover how Staypineapple uses Salesforce to drive thoughtfully designed guest journeys and weave personalized magic into each interaction.
From data migration odysseys to redefining guest engagement, this conversation paints a vivid picture of hospitality’s tech-driven evolution and how your data can power the best customer experience possible.
Salesforce Empowers Optimized Guest Journeys
Don’t have time for the full episode? Here’s what you need to know:
0:52 - We want to be known as the out of the ordinary hotels in extraordinary locations. And what that boils down to is we want to really be known as the thoughtfully designed guest experience. So our owner and founder, Michelle Barnett, she was an expert. She was a master at designing exactly that. The hotel experience, the guest experience, start to finish. And it really resonates in what we get from our customer reviews, our five star reviews.
1:23 - We have 10 hotels in seven cities across the nation. So we're a nationwide brand. We are in New York, Boston, Chicago. San Diego, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle with a real strong footprint in the Northwest.
1:44 - One of our big differentiators is called the 'Naked Experience' and that's pretty eyebrow raising in itself. We have a lot of t-shirts that say “Get Naked” but that goes back to what I just said about the thoughtfully-designed experience. Our naked experience is really our bedding. And it's our whole bedding experience extended from there. It's the rug you know, beyond that everyone has the two individual European duvets. Rather than fighting for the comforters, it started with everyone had these really luxurious, cuddly duvets that we just get ravings about in our reviews. But it extends from that too, to like the bathrobes, the towels, the linens, and stuff like that too.
2:36 - A lot of people probably don't think about hotels and Salesforce going together.
2:43 - We're using Salesforce quite a bit. Traditionally Salesforce is that sales flow application. Since then, they've brought a bunch of applications on to really help any industry thoughtfully design their guest experience so they can extend that to personalization within their sales and marketing materials.
3:06 - We moved our entire database over to the Sales Cloud. That is more of the traditional Salesforce that houses our entire database. We get our reservation information . . . and non-reservation information coming in. We get to customize a lot of these sources coming in, from WiFi, signups from social media, newsletters, our food and beverage outlets. We get to take a lot of that data and stitch it together in a customized way that we want to. For example, I might put a higher source quality on some of those sources. If it's some data source I trust, I want that field to survive, like I want that email to maintain itself. If I get more data from a source I don't trust as much, it won't overwrite that. I get to maintain a personalized experience for our guests in the digital world.
3:59 - We are connected with Salesforce on their Marketing Cloud Connector, which means we take the entire database and only those people that engage with us, we move over to the Marketing Cloud product of Salesforce. . . . that's where we get all of our emails, our ads, all that other stuff. We're doing multi-channel work today out of Marketing Cloud.
4:52 - Yes, we had challenges. We're not exempt from that. We had more of a migration partner, . . . than an implementation partner. We got everything from one environment over to another environment.
5:05 - We utilize Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud but I had more experience on the Marketing Cloud with campaigning and the marketing side of things. Sales Cloud was really building our database with all these new rules that we got to implement, customized scenarios. We got to take data in. We get to standardize it. We use a service for appending. . . . we were using that type of stuff for our database to cleanse it. So that was more time consuming, tedious.
5:39 - There were a lot of new rules to write. Fortunately for us, we decided to migrate during COVID. We had more time, but I like to get things done in a quick and efficient manner. And that took a lot of time to understand Salesforce's objects, or reservation object, and their kind of backend infrastructure. The data scheme is something that from a strategy standpoint, I knew what I wanted to accomplish, but we're talking about Salesforce objects. How do you implement those? And that took some time and it was challenging.
6:15 - We are a premier customer for Salesforce. So with the premier account, you get what's called Training Accelerators. That's really helpful, again from a strategy standpoint, on what you want your data scheme to look like. What do you want to accomplish? How do you stay within their lines of what you were trying to do?
They're not going to help you implement it on those accelerators. Again, very knowledge-based, very strategy-based to confirm we're on the right path. But still very helpful from a training standpoint.
6:52 - Handling a lot of our guests' profile data, I would have to say. I want to honor our customers' permissions. We really pride ourselves on that—as much as we want to provide a really thoughtfully designed experience, that still extends to people's privacy data.
7:03 - We're not obligated to put our unsubscribe link on a transactional email. But we put the unsubscribe link available on any of our emails. So it doesn't matter what we're sending out, I want to make sure that all of our guests have a chance to unsubscribe. If it's not for them, it's not for them. So that's one way we try to keep our brand on the right side.
7:21 - Beyond that, I'd say opens and clicks. I always take a look at opens and clicks to make sure that we're way ahead of benchmarks. Ever since we've been on Salesforce, we've really had some great engagement on everything that we're doing. So it reinforces that the way we're handling our profiles is being done correctly.
7:37 - Another example is we may have a QR code on our front desk and our guest may snap a QR code with their phone and give us a five star guest review. We've taken the precautions to take that data and push it over to our email so that whole stay, we're not sending our survey to solicit a review from someone who has already done it. We try to be cognizant of people's inboxes and I think that's paid off.
8:11 - A lot of our marketing is done at the brand level, so it's a lot of social media. We do Pineapple Day, we do the month of October, we do a Pineapple Pup Contest where we get all of our guests engaging, showing their pups dressed up in costumes, so that's really fun. So it's not really a conversion metric because at that point, we let the product speak for itself. We think we're doing okay.
8:34 - TripAdvisor Traveler Choice Awards came out . . . we have 10 hotels and we won the award at all 10. . . . We get a ton of five star ratings, a ton of reviews. In that regard, we try to position ourselves at the brand level and show people what a fun and playful brand we are.
9:00 - We're going to try and share out the experience. We're moving into property management offering. So in 12 months, we will have our first few property managements . . . and be partnering with those people.
I don't think we want to grow too fast. I know we've spent some time trying to build everything so it's scalable, but at the end of the day, we don't want to disrupt what we've already built.
9:35 - Keep being the experts that you guys are and stay knowledgeable on all of the tools. As we mentioned, there's a lot of Salesforce tools out there. We're not done exploring and it's an ever-changing world as far as sales and marketing go. I have no idea what we'll want in two years. . . . There's an experience cloud that we could utilize. Then Pineapple still has its own first-party reservation call center. So there's a Service Cloud that integrates across all the platforms, too.
There are all these applications and clouds that Salesforce has and . . . the way to go is to be knowledgeable and be there for us should we need you.
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