Link Your Online and Mobile Bookings
Criteo’s 2018 Summer Travel Report shows OTAs growing foothold over the market is in large part due to increases in mobile bookings. Mobile bookings make up 39% of OTA sales, compared with only 10% for other suppliers and agents. In fact, 80% of all last-minute bookings are made from a mobile. EMarketer predicts online travel sales will exceed $817 billion by 2020. And mobile sales will make up a big slice of the pie. If you’re not online and mobile, you’re not in the game.
To be effective and compete with OTAs, your CRM and backend systems should be linked to your online booking systems, mobile apps and marketing campaigns. This means greater convenience not only to your customer but also to you. If you can track your customers’ preferences and online spending habits, you can find better ways to engage them. Assigning leads to your team automatically means you can follow up before they go cold.
Maximise Personalised Engagement
Anticipation is king when it comes to customer service. Making your customer relationships stronger comes down to understanding what your customers really want. Information is power, and the more chances for meaningful, personalised interactions, the better. In an end to end system, automated communications can be sent not only during enquiry, quote and booking stages but also throughout the customer’s travel journey. More chances to connect means more chances to impress your customers.
Automatically including individual customer information makes your interactions seem more heartfelt, tailored and authentic. Emails and mobile messages should not be limited to thank yous, notifications of received payments, and well wishes for a good trip. Additional advice on visas, vaccinations, packing lists or even weather forecasts can help turn their trip into a fantastic one.
Checking in on your guests during and immediately after their travel is an effective way to tap into future repeat sales. British studies find most people begin looking for their next holiday only 17 days after returning from their last one. This is also a good time to promote loyalty offers with 25% of travellers choosing to book in part because of a loyalty or rewards scheme according to Hotel News Now.
The Magic Behind the Curtain
In the workflow of any business, there are repetitive tasks that are either unnecessary or time consuming. What grunt work is taking up too much of your time? Which tasks could be performed by your system instead? Queueing and scheduling payments, communicating with suppliers, updating inventory, and providing notifications are essential in cleaning up your back of house. Ideally, your technology should also allow you to automatically set KPIs, show dashboard insights and generate reports. However, the real time-saving efficiencies for travel agents and tour operators lie in creating itineraries.
An automated itinerary builder can effortlessly keep track of your recommendations. This is a real advantage when competing with OTAs. Choosing accommodation, activities and add ons from your preferred suppliers can be done in seconds. All information can be inserted by the system into branded, personalised itineraries that can be accessed online, via mobile app, or downloaded so that your guests don’t need to worry about wifi. How much time would this task normally take you? How much time would you prefer it to take?