GBTA Spotlight on Transformation: Salesforce.com Soars with Social Travel Program

Who's the best person to answer questions like "What's the best hotel within company guidelines in Dubai?" or "Should I take a shuttle or taxi from Heathrow?" Someone who's been there and done that, that's who. The frequent travelers at Salesforce.com (aptly named "Road Warriors") knew this, so they figured out a way to leverage Chatter, the company's social platform, to take their travel operations social. This innovation and its amazing results have earned them the focus of our first "Spotlight on Transformation" story.

The Chatter tool, built into every Salesforce application, is a collaboration platform that connects people and information, fast. It works across applications—even legacy technologies—and makes data shareable, searchable and social. That makes it the perfect tool to connect travelers with other travelers, because travel by its very nature is social.

Salesforce.com's Road Warrior group had just 40 members when the travel department adopted Chatter. In 12 months, it has evolved into virtual global travel community that boasts more than 2,000 members and projects 3,000 by the end of the year. Clearly, members realize the value, making it THE group to join.

"Road Warriors share their travel tips, they post travel articles, they share their experiences, they ask questions—and they keep coming back," according to Dorian Stonie, Senior Manager Global Travel and Technology Solutions at Salesforce.com (pictured above).

At first, Stonie had to write all of the content, but today nearly 70% comes from its members. What does that mean to Stonie and the travel team? Improved service level and response time. In the travel world where turning hours into minutes can make all the difference to a road-weary traveler, social channels provide an immediacy otherwise unmatched.

"It could be 2 a.m. my time when a question comes in and by the time I get to work six hours later, the question has been answered and confirmed," Stonie said.

Stonie refers to Salesforce.com's use of Chatter as their "social secret sauce—one third corporate information, one third general information and one third fun." We think it's a sure recipe for taking business travel to the next level.

The >GBTA Spotlight on Transformation, sponsored by Concur, is designed to highlight the fascinating stories of those successful innovations that allow the travel manager and the corporate traveler to elevate the business of travel.

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