Performa IT help luxury travel brand escape the pandemic better and stronger

Secret Escapes Statistics

  • Established 2011
  • Offices in London, Berlin and Amsterdam
  • 500 employees
  • 300 active Salesforce users
  • 6-strong internal Salesforce team

Performa IT’s initial engagement

  • September – November 2021
  • DevOps integration of AWS data into Salesforce
  • Integration with other 3rd party applications
  • Strategic understanding of business priorities
  • Broad technical and architectural knowledge and guidance


Luxury travel membership brand Secret Escapes has been a Salesforce user since 2016. Up until December 2021 they were integrating data from their website booking engine into both Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud to manage customer services, member contact and marketing.

During the pandemic Secret Escapes took the opportunity to review its Service Cloud instance, leading to some strategic decisions to move away from Marketing Cloud in favour of a third-party tool, and to make greater use of AWS functionality and standardisation.


Head of Business Technology at Secret Escapes, Kate Donaghy and her team were facing the perfect storm of challenges as the company approached its tenth anniversary in the final quarter of 2021.

“Not only had the lockdowns served up the trickiest time the travel industry has ever seen,” says Kate, “but also our Salesforce contract was coming up for renewal in the December. 

“With Marketing Cloud going we needed to find a different way of getting member data into Salesforce. 

“We could not afford to lose any customer data at a time when our members were making more booking changes, cancellations and re-bookings than ever thanks to the pandemic.”

And there was another challenge in the way of meeting the technical continuity deadline.

“Our internal Salesforce team had been reduced by half following the pandemic and we had no in-house experience of integrating Salesforce with AWS and other third-party applications,” Kate admits. 


“We needed a cost-effective solution to an urgent problem to avoid losing any data, and to lay the foundation for serving as much value to our members as possible going forward,” explains Kate.

“We had to integrate Salesforce with AWS and our alternative marketing platform as smoothly and risk-free as possible – all before our contract renewal deadline.

“Longer term we wanted to utilise the integration with AWS to establish our own best practice approach and to level up our customer service and member experience even more.”

Why Performa IT?

Kate first met the team at Performa IT following a recommendation from DPD UK.

“Our Salesforce Account Executive introduced us to DPD UK as a strong example of a Service Cloud instance,” says Kate.

“DPD UK’s demo gave us a sense of what Service Cloud could be for Secret Escapes if we invested time and money into it. It helped us shape our own ambitions of where we want to get to with a more personalised and prioritised service to our members.

“DPD UK told us they’d been working with Performa IT on the implementation, so I followed them up.

“I really liked how knowledgeable Performa IT are not just about Salesforce but also about broader technology. They had evidence and experience of putting data into Salesforce for other clients, so I was confident in their ability to assist us in our urgent requirement, as well as our more strategic vision.”

Performa IT’s approach

Commenting on Performa IT’s capability in the project Kate says: “Sam Chappell became our main point of contact within Performa. He quickly absorbed what Secret Escapes is about and it was good to establish an internal connection with someone who really knew their stuff!”

Kate continues: “Sam and his team became an extension of our own DevOps department. They had direct contacts within Secret Escapes and were very good at asking the right questions at the right time.”

Kate also appreciates how Performa IT operated under extremely tight deadlines. She says: “Performa really understood the urgency of our requirements and were very responsive to our time constraints. 

“Being a smaller organisation they have shorter lead times for project delivery than larger, more bureaucratic consultancies.”

Results, Benefits and New Possibilities

As a result of their high quality direct communication, technical expertise, and ability to fit in seamlessly, Performa delivered the project within a couple of months from engagement.

“Everything is working as expected since it went live and I haven’t had any worries at all about the integration,” Kate asserts. 

“Crucially we have not lost any value from our decision to discontinue Marketing Cloud, and our agents have been able to handle the changes in member circumstances because of the pandemic with more efficiency.”

Secret Escapes are also closer to their vision of tailoring customer contact even further, providing a highly personalised, knowledgeable and responsive service to their members.

“We now have a foundation of integration best practice and are now planning to get even more useful data into Salesforce to build on our members’ user experience,” concludes Kate.


Secret Escapes have been so impressed with Performa IT they have adopted them as their Service Cloud Delivery team. 

Kate says: “With Performa IT on board we can feel much more comfortable about tackling big changes in the future.

“Performa is one of the most professional and approachable Salesforce consultancies I have come across. They don’t just have the skills and expertise in adapting Salesforce, they also have a good understanding of future ways of thinking and working. 

“They definitely deliver the best value for money in Salesforce implementations.”