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Salesforce Connections 2024 - surfing to hyper-personalization success at Turtle Bay

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan May 24, 2024
Keep it simple for the C-suite, advocates Robert Marusi, Turtle Bay’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay Resort, a luxury vacation resort on O‘ahu’s legendary Hawaiian North Shore, has traditionally been a destination of choice for tourists and it’s not hard to see why. Boasting nearly 1,300 acres with five miles of unspoiled coastline and seven beaches, visitors can choose from 408 ocean-view guest rooms and suites plus 42 Ocean Bungalows, as well as a concierge experience center and cultural gallery, numerous restaurants and bars, an 11,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, elevated beach experience and four swimming pools.

But like so many resorts around the world, Turtle Bay took a hit during the pandemic and the consequent drop off in travel. While that’s thankfully in the past, the organization has needed to re-ignite revenue in the Vaccine Economy. To that end, earlier this year it announced a tie-up with Salesforce to augment its service agents with AI and personalize the entire guest experience.

Using Salesforce’s Einstein 1 Platform, Turtle Bay had a series of objectives. As per the official announcement:

  • Personalized guest communication: Turtle Bay Resort is delivering more tailored messages to guests across web, email, and social with Marketing Cloud and has seen a 40% uplift with triple-digit conversion growth through advanced segmentation, personalization, and journey optimization.

  • Holistic customer experiences: With Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Data Cloud in one platform, Turtle Bay is working to create a full “Guest 360” of customer profiles for optimal experiences from pre-booking to post-stay.

  • Real-time assistance: Turtle Bay will use Salesforce’s Einstein 1 Platform to improve guest experiences and personalization even more. Data Cloud will segment customers into ideal personas, and an AI assistant will make tailored recommendations. For example, if they are segmented into a family category, family-friendly activities will be recommended.


When the deal was announced in March,  Robert Marusi, Turtle Bay’s Chief Commercial Officer, said:

Our work with Salesforce marks a new chapter for Turtle Bay Resort. By leveraging Salesforce’s powerful suite of tools through Einstein 1 Platform, we are able to reach new guests with a highly tailored approach to our engagement, ensuring that every guest receives a truly unforgettable experience unique to them.

This week Marusi popped up at Salesforce’s Connections marketing conference in Chicago to provide an update and some insights into how the project is progressing. He said:

Early on, we did quite a quite a renovation and a re-imagination in this resort and I had the luxury of being able to change my distribution channel to, in essence, a digital brand experience.  I knew early on that I had to change my tech stack. The stack was closed loop at best. It was a lot of point-to point solutions that we took off-the-shelf to accomplish very siloed engagements and things. There was no end-to-end connection. There was no view of the customer. I knew early on that I needed to take the journey to get a 360° view.

This was necessary to face up to basic realties, he added:

We're in the 'choice economy'. It's about the client, the consumer, being in the middle of this omni-channel spoke. It's our responsibility as brand people to be delivering choices to that consumer. That's what they want. That's the way they want to consume their data across the omni-channel. I knew that I had to get into a whole advanced personalization, hyper-personalization, tactic and strategy. And I knew that I had to be able to segment my data based on mosaics and personas speaking to the client.

This was where Salesforce’s Data Cloud came into play, he noted:

Data Cloud became that very apparent platform for me to segment my data, put it in different data sets, data spaces, and then be able to talk to the consumer that hyper-personalized fashion.

Looking at the original objectives, it’s a pretty daunting ‘to do’ list for any organization. At a time when across industries, buyer decision-making cycles are getting longer and seemingly extended by executive scrutiny/caution about tech investment - particularly around AI - that’s all the more the case.

For his part, Marusi has some advice based on his own experiences of dealing with C-suite questioning:

At the end of the day, it's how do you keep your use case simple, because it's a daunting thing to think about AI and what is AI in terms of how you digest it. Is it gen AI ? Is it AI that lives on a trusted data model? What are you trying to use it for? In the martech/ marcomms space, it was very easy for me to get there. I kept it simple. I kept the use cases very tight and simple to be able to really talk across the cross platform of marketing.

There’s a large element of education in play, he added, as well as a need to digest the tech case down “in chunks” so that executives understand the ROI:

The advice is keep it simple. Really understand. Get the reps in the game Spend the time on the insight sites -  McKinsey insights, Gartner insights, Accenture insights -  and learn about data and AI, because the conversation with the C-suite level leaders today is is long and it takes a while. You're going to be in an education process. You're going to be in a change and transformation engagement with them.

And it’s important to show as well as tell, he concluded:

Get the wins along the way. Get immediate wins. That's the key. ‘How are we going to make money?’ -  that's the question you always get as operators. But if you can prove that success quickly, then then you're off to the races.

Or possibly the beach.

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