CRM checks in at hotel chains

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Major international hotel chains are investing heavily in CRM applications to ensure the smooth running of their business. The Best Western hotel chain, the world's largest, has begun using products from Kana, while le Marriot has opted for software from Salesforce.com.

Best Western is using Kana's Contact Centre, Response, and Connect platforms to move its call centre and other CRM applications to a Web-based architecture. The new software will allow Best Western customers make reservations via the Web in real-time. They also will serve as the interface for all of the hotel's customer service agents. Best Western already uses Kana Response for its frequent-traveller programme members.

Kana Contact Centre is used in the Best Western call centre by customer service agents; Response is used to sort through and respond to incoming e-mail customer requests; and Connect handles outbound e-mail marketing, such as targeting cross-sell, up-sell, and promotional offers.

Meanwhile le Meridien has chosen Salesforce.com's global CRM solution to help its international sales team, manage relations with clients across 55 countries. The software will be used to support the management of business from region to region, as well as provide central oversight of the global business.

"We are introducing salesforce.com for two main reasons,” said John Ryan, Le Meridien's senior vice president, worldwide sales. “The first is to improve the management of our customer relationships through the 200 strong sales team around the world, and the second is to help us drive revenue,"

Says Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com. "The benefits of an online CRM solution -- rapid, low-risk implementation, ease of use and access, cost-effectiveness -- are often most dramatic during global deployments."

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