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The global pandemic has proven inhospitable to the hotel and travel industry. Brian King, one of the Marriott International leaders, 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.

In his recent interview Brian has discussed the future of travel, and technology for customer service provided by Salesforce to Marriott.

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

“I’ve always said that digital is hospitable”, says Brian. 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

“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”.