Sugati joins the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA)

Sugati is pleased to announce our recent partnership with the UK’s Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), an organisation representing the UK’s leading travel businesses. This is an important milestone for Sugati in reaffirming our position as one of the Travel Technology leaders in the travel sector.

About ABTA

We’ve been a trusted travel brand for 70 years, offering advice and guidance to you, the traveling public, as well as leading the travel industry in supporting high service standards, working with our Members on health and safety, and promoting responsible tourism at home and abroad. ABTA has around 4,000 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. Learn more about ABTA here.

Sugati reaches new heights of innovation and customer service

Salesforce regularly reviews its partners’ products on AppExchange to reward hard work and excellence. 

We’re delighted to announce that Sugati’s innovation and customer service have earned us ‘crest’ (gold) partnership status with Salesforce.

Salesforce places its partners on tiers, starting at ‘base’, then ‘ridge’ (silver), ‘crest’ (gold) and, finally, ‘summit’ (platinum).

Less than 10% of Salesforce partners get this far up the mountain! Being at the crest tier of partnership means recognition of our creativity and commitment to helping our clients, and gives us the opportunity to develop Sugati into an even more integrated solution on the Salesforce platform.

Check out what the team has produced in the past few months: more than 200 how-to articles and over 100 short instructional videos. You’ll find them on our support portal.

Latin Routes has signed up with Sugati Travel CRM

Latin Routes has signed up with Sugati Travel CRM

Built on the Salesforce platform, Sugati is the ultimate end-to-end travel management solution. From the back office to the front desk, every process happens in one app, instead of across multiple touch-points. Tour operators like Latin Routes are working with Sugati to get ready to thrive once more.

“Back in March 2020, we were just about to sign on the dotted line with Sugati, and then the coronavirus pandemic changed everything,” says Martin Johnson, CEO of Latin Routes.

We had to reassess our business on the spot and the Sugati team has been stellar in understanding our situation.

Latin Routes made the decision that if we needed Sugati prior to the COVID-19 outbreak then we’ll still need it to prepare for the end of the lockdown.

The Sugati team have been super-accommodating in the onboarding process and we’re now using the downtime to master the software and stay ahead of the competition.

Let us help you prepare for the end of the lockdown. Our team is ready to get you onboard with Sugati today.

Top 10 Travel CRM Features Every System Should Have

Top 10 Travel CRM Features Every System Should Have

Hot on the heels of our last blog: Four Reasons Why Travel Businesses Need a Travel CRM we’re following up with the top 10 travel CRM system features travel agents and tour operators should look for. If you’re evaluating your current system, or investigating whether to invest in new CRM travel technology, read on to find out the deal breakers and top tips from travel and technology experts around the world.

By Claire Matheson

Safety First

Customer data misappropriation, misuse, or outright hacking can destroy a travel company’s reputation. Coverhound Insurance has named data security breaches as one of the top three challenges travel agents face in the line of duty. Choosing a system with strong security is a must.

Larger CRM providers such as Salesforce have vast departments and mind boggling budgets dedicated to protecting your customers’ data. While smaller, independent providers competitively innovate in other areas, there is no bigger incentive to choose a travel CRM system supported by an industry giant.

Get Your Head in the Clouds

When you work in travel, you need to be able to log into your system from your phone or laptop in an airport lounge. Or access it from the backseat of a taxi. Or from any time zone, anywhere in the world.

A system that is available and accessible online, anywhere, anytime is something no travel agent or tour operator can compromise on. Adding on to the previous point, cloud hosted technologies usually provide stronger data security with more advanced authentication. According to SuperOffice, the top reasons businesses should choose a cloud hosted CRM are ease of use and accessibility, reliability, seamless integration and enhanced compatibility. Private hosting in travel has been relegated to the realm of floppy discs and cassette tapes.

Reliable travel technology brand loyalty

Consistently Reliable

If you want to see someone’s worst side, put them in a room with slow, failing or outdated technology. Making a big investment in new tech needs to be smooth sailing. Nobody has time for glitches, shutdowns or data loss.

Microsoft found reliability in technology is an essential elements needed to create trust between businesses and their customers. Over 90% of Americans said they would consider changing brands if they had to deal with unreliable or outdated technology (Source: Bizjournals). So how often does your system go down? Once is once too often.

Feeling Supported

On the off chance something is not working the way you want it to, you need to have access to good support. When investigating a new provider, conduct some research with their current clients. Is online support available? Do they respond quickly? Are regular updates and improvements provided? Is their support actually helpful? Can they get everything working again as soon as possible and keep you informed throughout the process?

Additionally, look for the availability of online training guides or tutorials. This way, you and your team can learn to use all the features, in your own way, at your own pace. Studies of education and training methods show self-paced learning tutorials can significantly improve proficiency. (Source: Brookings) This is why Sugati and technology giants Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Salesforce and Amazon all have libraries of online tutorials, training guides, and learning platforms. 

Is Your Tech Talking?

There’s nothing more frustrating than setting up your brand new technology, then finding out it doesn’t sync with your payment gateway. Or that information from your GDS has to be entered manually. Or your mobile app does not support your online bookings. A CRM with an open API can integrate with all of your other travel technology. This is a must have for anyone with a POS or ecommerce site (Source: Hospitality Tech). Because life is easier when everyone just gets along.

Beautiful Documents

Having a CRM that produces your itineraries quickly and easily is fantastic. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be pretty too. Your brand is your business’ identity. As such, your itineraries, invoices and quotes should be tailored to reflect your brand’s aesthetic. It also helps if they can be viewed online or downloaded so your customers do not have to worry about data roaming costs or wifi access while travelling.

For UK based businesses, your system needs to be able to automatically generate ATOL certification at the time a booking is confirmed. Giving peace of mind to everyone involved, this is one more thing you and your customers shouldn’t have to worry about.

B2B Supplier speed interactions pain points

Smooth Suppliers

Among B2B decision makers, lack of speed in interactions with their suppliers is the number one pain point, mentioned twice as often as price (Source: HelpScout). Travel agents and tour operators often deal with a large number of suppliers on a daily basis. Communication needs to be easy and frequent.

A CRM system that automates emails, invoices and documents such as manifests is a huge time saver. Look for other winning organisation features such as payment queueing and scheduling, timed reminders, and margins and commissions. Because nobody likes a double booking or having to chase an unpaid invoice.

Keep It Simple

It goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway, your CRM should link to your mobile booking platform. This link between your customers and users needs to be simple and easy to use for everyone involved. If sales processes are too difficult or complicated, 74% of people are more likely to switch brands (Source: HelpScout). The majority of travellers who book their holidays online do so because of convenience.

Sugati’s latest client to go live with their system secured their first online booking within minutes from a retired couple. A whopping 92% of baby boomers now choose to shop online, including for travel(Source: Miva). Regardless of how tech savvy your users and customers are, your system should be easy to use. Your CRM system should make the facilitation of excellent customer service easier. It should deliver agent attention where and when it is needed to help keep things simple, and running smoothly. 

Automation Transformation

With every job, there are fun tasks that you look forward to doing, and there are daily chores which are not so enjoyable. CRM automation can cut your housekeeping significantly when implemented well. Improved workflow rules may help you discover a better way of working, or allow you to cut a number of steps from your processes altogether. Overall, an automated CRM can also be one of the best tools for your team to do more with less.

Additionally, automated functions and communication don’t have to be wooden or robotic. The wonderful world of chatbots (which Sugati can integrate with) are proof that automation can be tailored to deliver welcoming, personalised and branded customer service. This is particularly important considering 53% of people are more likely to shop with businesses they can interact with (Source: Sprout Social).

Measure Twice, Market Once

When spending big on items like holidays, sometimes it takes many interactions before a customer makes the decision to book. Other times, connecting at the right time means capturing that impulse buy. At every point in a customer buying process, there is a moment when you win them over. So how do you tell which interactions are the most successful? You can find your ROI sweet spot by tracking and reporting all your campaign data. The results may surprise you.

Positive experience customer recommendation

Above all, your CRM technology should help you and your team go the extra mile. It should facilitate the smooth running of your business, and help you present a more polished feel to customers. Unquestionably, it must give your customers (and your staff) a positive experience. Because 77% of customers who have a positive experience with a company go on to recommend that company to others. (Source: HelpScout

Sugati ticks every one of the boxes in this list. If you have questions about whether a travel CRM is right for you call or email us. Or if you’d like to see the powerful Sugati system in action, click the Request a Demo button at the top of the page.

Four Reasons Why Travel Businesses need a Travel CRM

What exactly is a CRM, and does your travel business need one?

If you run a travel agency or tour operator group, do you need a CRM system? And should you be using a specialised travel CRM solution, or will any CRM software do? Here are four reasons you should consider updating the way you store your customer data.

By Claire Matheson

Do you go to the same coffee shop regularly? Walking into a familiar establishment, being greeted by name, your order made without you having to ask for it is more than a simple convenience. A barista who knows exactly how you like your coffee is a valuable asset.

This consumer relationship is special. There is a sense of camaraderie and belonging built on knowledge and trust. You can relax and have a chat knowing your coffee will be ready momentarily, exactly how you like it. This is why you come back, day after day.

The same can be said for any business transaction. When you know and anticipate your customer, the interaction becomes easier and more convenient for both parties. And this means you can focus your attention on building stronger, more personal relationships – the yellow brick road to loyal customers.

What Does This Mean for Travel Businesses?

For travel companies, a sale is much more complex than making a beautiful flat white. You need to understand your customers travel patterns and preferences. Then you have to know exactly the right point in time to strike up a conversation. Finally, you must spark their imagination and wanderlust. And you have to do all of this in a way that will make them book with you, rather than taking your ideas elsewhere, or doing it all themselves.

Enter Your CRM

According to IBM, companies using a dedicated CRM can:

      • Improve their relationships with their customers by up to 74% 
      • Boost their sales quotas by up to 65%
      • Double their productivity
      • Reduce their labour costs by up to 40%.

A CRM or Customer Relationship Management system is any database technology that stores information on your customer interactions. In other words, the aim of any CRM system is to grow sales. But a good travel CRM should do much more than this.

Industry crafted CRMs

A CRM system makes your pipeline visible, shows your sales cycle and processes, as well as the time and effort spent on converting each opportunity. But data storage and reporting is not enough. The best CRMs are those that are specifically tailored to the exact business needs of your industry. The more crafted, the better.

A travel CRM allows you to collect a wide range of information about your clients, from their travel preferences, to their booking habits. You can see and predict their needs from every angle. It lets you organise, analyse and report on this information for more targeted selling. But more importantly, it helps you to look after your customers. The travel sector is, after all, based on hospitality. To secure repeat bookings, outstanding and memorable service is a must. This is where a travel CRM differs from other more widely available CRM systems.

So how can a travel CRM help your travel agency or tour operator business?

Stronger Conversion Rates

A study by Harvard Business Review found companies connecting with a potential customer less than one hour after first receiving a query were “seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker” compared to those who waited over an hour. Companies who waited 24 hours or longer were 60 times less likely to qualify the lead.

Sugati sets up an immediate automated email response whenever a customer makes a holiday enquiry. The system assigns the lead to the next available agent, and prompts them to follow up. Within seconds of generating a query, your customers can be contacted by one of your sales team because of automated workflows. Your workflow rules also let your team know exactly where, when and how to concentrate their selling efforts. This means more conversions and fewer cold leads.

Precision Marketing and Sales

A UK survey found people begin looking for their next holiday only 17 days after their last holiday. The average Brit takes only 37 days to book a new trip after returning home. This leaves a window of just under three weeks for you to contact returning travellers, capture their imaginations, and convince them to book their next journey with you.

All good relationships stem from the right timing. Workarea found most online transactions occur between 8 and 9 p.m. with people buying more frequently on a Monday, closely followed by Sunday. If email is your primary point of contact, Hubspot found the vast majority of prospects worldwide prefer to open and read emails between 5 and 6 in the morning.

analyse existing clients

So when is the best time for you to contact new leads or potential repeat customers?

The ability to monitor and report on all aspects of customers’ enquiry and booking habits is vital to any travel business. Information is power, and there is no better way of understanding your target market than by analysing the patterns of behaviour of your existing clients. As a result, you can precisely target your marketing and sales efforts.

A Sugati system has unlimited reporting power. Cross-analyse any combination of data sets to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your sales and marketing processes. Which means you can automate your campaigns and contact methods using this information to make them more effective. In addition, you can also automate reminders and notifications for your team, giving everyone all the information they need to act with well timed precision.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

The most exciting reason for travel agencies and tour operators to implement a CRM is the opportunity to improve your customer experience. In a recent poll of CRM users by Capterra, 47% believed their CRM directly and significantly impacted on their customer satisfaction as well as their customer retention.

Having a travel technology system which can generate branded itineraries, quotes and invoices in real time as you input the holiday enquiry information is a game changer. Taking the fuss out of time consuming processes like these allows you to spend more time with your customers. And more time means more personalised service, with greater attention to detail.

When you have a system that easily organises your comprehensive data, it can make you look like you can read your customers’ minds. Anticipating what, when and how your customers prefer to spend their holidays gives you the ability to tempt them with romantic notions of their ideal dream vacation. Because making them feel seen and heard is how you win them over.

Increased Revenue

How many seats are left on that tour? Which supplier bookings are giving you the highest margins? How can you maximise your upselling opportunities in the lead up to a customer’s holiday?

Targeted selling in the right place at the right time is bound to increase your revenue. However sustainable growth relies on improving your productivity. Using a travel CRM you can make your complex back end processes run easier, faster and better. The most widely used CRM globally, Salesforce users can increase their sales by up to 29%, their productivity by up to 34% and their sales forecast accuracy by up to 42%.

Sugati increases revenue

If your team are feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, or if you don’t have enough staff to deal with all your incoming enquiries, a CRM may be your best solution. For instance, Sugati clients on average are able to increase their revenue between 20-30% with no additional staffing or resources.

Making a Decision

Like everything in life, you get what you pay for. Research by Inc. shows the ROI on a properly integrated CRM system can range between US$2.50 to $5.60 for every dollar invested. The same amount as a fancy flat white. We’ll let you decide which is better – good coffee or great returns.

Even if you’re investing in a top shelf premium product with a bigger price tag, it’s likely to pay for itself over time. But success is not always guaranteed. Have a read of our next blog post: Ten Features Travel Businesses need in their CRM System? For a checklist on what you should look for in your new system.

If you have questions about whether a travel CRM is right for you, or if you’d like to see the powerful Sugati system in action, call or email us, or click the request a demo button at the top of the page.

How Can Travel Businesses Compete With OTAs?

How Automation and Personalisation in your Technology is the Answer if you want to Compete with OTAs.

By Claire Matheson

For traditional travel agents and tour operators, providing travellers with premium, personalised service remains the best way to compete with OTA large scale enterprises. But in this battle, exceptional service alone is no longer enough. Your greatest ally lies in digital transformation.

According to STR’s 2019 Traveller Panel survey the top reasons travellers choose to book through an OTA are convenience, access to discounts and promotions, and the ability to compare deals. Yet while price and convenience are driving factors in determining how travellers book a holiday, customer service experiences and word of mouth recommendations are where smaller competitors can win the war. And this is where technology can help travel agencies and tour operators stand out and compete with OTAs.

Online shopping outlets are putting many retailers out of business, regardless of industry. Thomas Cook’s closure is further evidence of the shifts in consumer behaviour in the travel industry. But this challenge presents a powerful opportunity to compete with OTAs. It is a chance to change, adapt and improve.

So how can travel agencies and tour operators compete with such large scale online companies? Ironically, the answer lies in online technologies.

Accessible anywhere, anytime, the right cloud based solution can add value, give you better insights into your business, and help you gain efficiencies. The right technology can not only help travel businesses compete with OTA big players, but also win the loyalty of their customers. With the right solution, you can build your brand, and grow your revenue.

Successfully automate

The Role of Automation

The key to a successful digital transformation is automation. And to successfully automate, your system needs to be able to insert the right information where and when needed. Which processes in your business are unnecessarily manual? Are they taking your attention away from your customers? Are there steps that could be done more quickly? Could you eliminate them altogether? And how can you insert personalised touches in your automation to make your customers feel valued and understood in a way that OTAs cannot? 

Make the Complex Simple

True automation which increases your productivity requires a sleek, all inclusive technology solution. Errors and glitches are more common with multiple data entry points or if your platforms have problems talking to each other. An end to end solution with built-in CRM capabilities is the best way to simplify your processes and cut out unnecessary actions. To compete with OTA giants, travel agencies and tour operators need more automation in all areas of their business. Your tech should help  to generate and assign leads, respond to enquiries, quickly build itineraries and handle customer bookings. It should also help you to manage your suppliers and inventory, organise your payments, and report everything back to your team. Above all, it should be easy to use.

Online and mobile

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?

_Automation doesn't need to be robotic. It can ber personalised, customised and powerful._

An Automatic Advantage

Technology should be convenient. It should be clean, simple and make life easier. And not just for you, for your customers too. In STR’s 2019 survey, 48% of travellers cited convenience and ease of use as their number one reason for booking with an OTA. Travel businesses which “Allow customers to secure their accommodation with as few clicks, swipes and details entered as possible,” have the greatest advantage. 

Automation lies at the heart of improving your workflows. It can make all aspects of your business more convenient and accessible to your customers. But it doesn’t need to be robotic. It can be personalised, customised and powerful. When linked to a strong, specialised CRM system, automated technology can create individually tailored experiences for more engaged customers. Guests travelling with your company will feel valued. 

By spending less time on the tasks that can be automated, you can focus your efforts on delivering exceptional customer service. Without hiring additional staff, you can achieve the ultimate travel business goal – saving time and money while turning your customers into loyal ambassadors for your brand. And this is key if you want to compete with OTAs.

Do you have questions? Would like to see the powerful Sugati system in action? Call or email us, or click the request a demo button at the top of the page.

Data and Storage Resources – Salesforce

Salesforce listens and it is a win for all of us as clients, partners and the entire Salesforce ecosystem

The reason why we love Salesforce is mainly their fantastic technology platform which empowers SMEs to harness the technologies that used to be readily available for global companies.

For small to medium sized Tour Operators and Travel Agents, affordability of Salesforce is always a challenge. On the surface, Salesforce is expensive. Sugati encounters this problem on a daily basis as a niche ISV partner of Salesforce, that is specialised in Travel CRM technology solution, whenever we try to onboard a new client.

One thing we have been saying to Salesforce really is the cost of data storage. Based on the number of licenses you have signed up, Salesforce will offer 1GB of data storage as a base. For Tour Operators and Travel Agents that carry approximately 5,000 – 7,500 pax a year, 1GB will be sufficient for the first 1-2 years. After that, you really need an extra storage. That’s where the additional expense comes in. An additional 1GB of storage on Salesforce is equal to one enterprise license which is roughly about £1,000 annually. Imagine if you needed 10G of storage, you would be paying £10,000 annually just for the data storage!

Therefore storage on Salesforce is expensive. This is quite understandable because Salesforce not only needs to host the data but also monitor the changes to the data, take a back up, and most importantly ensure that it is secure. We are paying the top price as a result.

Back in the days, to overcome the data storage limit challenge that we have to perform routine tasks of deleting unnecessary records and archiving historical records onto a different server etc… A lot of businesses would rather focus on their core offering rather than doing this mundane task.

New storage facility

However! one good thing about Salesforce is they actually listen to their partners and customers. From the end of March 2019, among many other updates they have made to the core Salesforce platform, and storage facility too, have been updated. This really means Salesforce base level Data Storage offering has now been increased to 10GB from 1GB !!! This is a massive win for all the Salesforce clients and its ecosystem. I suspect this must have come as a result of their deep partnership with Amazon Cloud.

Salesforce must have been taken a huge hit on their revenue from the data storage income. But as and when the core platform that Sugati Travel CRM has built the solution on has made this sort of improvement, it just reaffirms our trust in Salesforce and our professional recommendation we have made for you to sign up with Sugati.

The 10GB storage is more than enough for most of the Sugati’ clients. To check this upgrade has been applied to you:

  1. Go to Set up, 
  2. In the Quick Find, type in Storage
  3. Click on Storage Usage and
  4. You will see the storage allocation for you.

Follow up tasks for you if you are one of those Sugati clients who has bought additional storage in the past, get in touch with your Salesforce AE to remove that from the next billing cycle. Chances are that you will no longer need that extra storage anymore. Otherwise, the contract will be auto-renewed.

Increase in the storage capacity doesn’t mean you should lose the good habit of tidying up your data. Keep your data nice and clean, use Sugati Travel Insight dashboard to understand the KPIs of your business.

Happy belated Easter everyone.

More information about the upgrade can be found here – https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=overview_storage.htm&type=5

In the meantime, if you want to learn from the best travel technology, Sugati Travel CRM, please get in touch. Our team will be delighted to talk to you and understand more about your current challenges and see how you can benefit from our travel software.

Partnership at Heart

Partnership at heart

APAC has been a region that we have been monitoring to expand our presence into for some time. Whilst we now have an excellent array of clients in Asia, we have never worked closely with our partners in the region.

That changed yesterday. We took the first stride towards the partnership much more seriously and much more visibility in APAC region. We’ve successfully hosted a breakfast seminar with Salesforce for Travel agencies and Tour operators.

We’ve met up with a range of local Tour Operators and Travel Agents. They are not just looking for what’s next in the travel technology but more of how can they realistically serve their customers insure the customers have their dream holidays.

These companies that we have met up are passionate about what they do and how they operate in general. They are also realistic that without adapting onto a new travel technology and more specifically a Travel centric Customer Relationship Management Solution, they may never know their customers needs truly.

A travel technology for all

Most of these agencies are also aware that they don’t have an unlimited budget to keep on top of data security, AI, VR, mobile app and so on. They not only seek for travel software but also for a sustainable partnership. A company like Sugati Travel CRM, which is specialised in technology for travel agencies and tour operators, that can grow with them.

Wowza! is some of the reaction we have got as soon as they see what Sugati Travel CRM can do their businesses and benefits the travel system brings.

We have a bright future in the region. Our local team is going to support every single client nicely in their own time zone.

Automated ATOL Certificate generation

ATOL Certificate – how your travel software can help

ATOL is a UK’s financial protection scheme that protects travellers while using a UK ATOL holder travel agency. That ATOL certificate is a guarantee for your clients to be protected. That ensures them that they will not lose money if the health of your travel business becomes critical.

What do you need to include in your ATOL certificate?

The first and last name of all passengers included on the trip as well as the PAX. You have to mention what is protected by the certificate, including dates, flight number, airline, hotels, type of room, etc. The details of the travel agency that they have used to book the trip with, have to be mentioned too. Finally, at the bottom of the certificate, you have to add the details of your ATOL number and the unique reference number of the certificate.

Why is ATOL painful for Travel Agent and how automation help you in that process?

As explained above, ATOL certificates must contain all components that make up the trip and has to be really specific. Even if you have a template to follow it’s really easy to make mistakes. You might have to find every single component in a different place. I could be that you find them from your GDS platform, airline suppliers, client’s details or other databases… Everything takes longer when you have to pull each piece of information manually, mistakes are commonly made, that’s for sure.

With Sugati what we do is really simple! We take pieces of information from the booking level and we populate the data automatically into the certificate for you. It’s really helpful and allows you to gain back crucial time.

Find the way to automate your ATOL certificate

Also, what’s really cool with automation, is that if there are changes on the client booking: date, number of PAX, airline company and so on, the related information will be changed automatically in the certificate. We can at the drop of a hat change their processes or certificates.

Sugati Travel CRM can take the stress out of this by updating the certificates for you upon request.

With our travel software you have the reassurance that your information will be legally correct, accurate and the format, background colour and text sizes are as required. In other words, we provide you with a stress-free feature that allows you to avoid mistakes. At the click of a button, the system understands the logic behind the booking to provide your clients with an ATOL certificate.

Commons mistakes

As it’s not always at the front of the staff’s mind since it’s only bookings with flights on, it’s easy to forget to send an ATOL manually. Sugati can automate the sending of the certificate. We can also include the certificate with the confirmation email/document when a flight forms part of the itinerary.

Why you shouldn’t spend anything to update your travel software

Why are regular travel CRM releases essential to your travel CRM software? 

There is always a debate over whether it is better to invest in an ‘off the shelf’ solution or have a bespoke system built for your business. There is no right or wrong answer to this dilemma. We would recommend that whichever option you choose, that you make sure the travel software (bespoke or off the shelf) is regularly updated without any additional cost.

It doesn’t make any sense to opt for a travel technology solution that does not allow you to use a certain section of the system without additional charges. In the process of finding the best travel CRM, make sure you will always benefit from a fully updated travel solution. Whether you want to invest more or not. Whether you have paid a setup fee or you are on a subscription, that element is really important to consider.

Ideally, the travel CRM should be built on top of a technology platform rather than at the back of your website (for example, WordPress). Otherwise, you are missing out on a whole bunch of technology innovation that technology disruptors and your immediate competitors are going to adapt quicker than you think.

Say no to old school system

It’s about time you stop wasting money!

A system that’s not updated regularly is a travel CRM solution that is losing efficiency and value. This means that, slowly, you will use only a small part of your travel CRM software. Therefore you’ll lose the advantage to your nearest competitors. Using only certain components of your travel technology is like using an old-school travel system. If you opt for a ‘true travel CRM‘, in other words – a powerful technology, what is the point of only using part of it? 

On the flip side, if you are on a system that gets updated regularly, you don’t need to worry about changes. Your ATOL certificate, GDPR preparation, and changes in security certificate updates will be updated automatically. The vendor will ideally take care of everything for you, and come up with efficiency gain features on a continuous basis.

What is a flexible travel CRM solution?

A great travel CRM is a flexible solution

One of the key features that a buyer should be looking for a travel technology solution is flexibility. For example, as you start using the travel CRM system, you may come to realise that it would be great to be able to adjust certain components or elements on the travel system, in order to make it more user-friendly. Having such flexibility would definitely be a great bonus. 

What does user-friendly mean? 

Gone are the days where you need a specific programing language to make changes to the system. If you are speaking to a potential vendor who requires you to invest your time and money in for the below updates, we recommend you seek alternatives. It shouldn’t cost you a body part to be able to do simple things such as:

  1. Create a new field
  2. Change the page layout
  3. Create workflow rules
  4. Build reports  
  5. Create a dashboard

You will say that this approach seems difficult if you are a sales manager, marketing specialist or a financial director. I understand that. Actually, you shouldn’t need to approach developers to do all of these things, and the system should be flexible enough for you to be able to make the necessary changes.

Consider a user-friendly travel CRM solution, and make sure you are able to change everything you need, when you need to change it and how you need to change it. What makes the difference is really how easy you feel the system is to use. 

Struggling to find the best travel CRM solution

What about the back office functionality?

In terms of back office functionalities, a great travel CRM software enables you to create simple things that simplify your daily tasks, such as reminders, system-wide prompts, and task management (monitoring the workload and assigning tasks to an individual). These must be out of the box features.

Once again, these things have to be simple for you to change and automate. When choosing your travel CRM technology, ask for the training program. Make sure you are not buying a travel system that you will not be able to use. Your travel technology provider will have to provide either video training or in-person training, to help you start using your dream solution. My advice would be to opt for a technology vendor that provides in-person training. Talking with the technical team face to face and asking questions directly is always beneficial to your understanding.

At Sugati Travel CRM we always ensure we help you to use your travel CRM solution. Since Sugati Travel CRM is based on top of Salesforce, we do provide in-person or remote Salesforce training as well as documentation, and full access to training videos. We look after you before, during and after Sugati setup installation. We help you to become a Sugati expert and make sure you are able to use the system and change things on a daily basis if needed.

Is your Travel CRM system open source friendly?

Is your travel CRM software’s API connections friendly?

From experience, one of the main problems that our current clients face is the connectivity between the different platforms. 

The travel system must be able to connect to various GDSs such as Multicom, Expedia, Saber, Amadeus and payment gateway providers, for example, Stripe. The travel agency software must also be able to communicate to the accounting system, your map system and the telephony system in place. However, these integrations don’t come at a cheap price and that is what needs to be taken into consideration. 

We actually recommend that you look for a travel CRM that has an ecosystem of partner technology solutions providers, such as the AppExchange by Salesforce. For example, let’s think of your iPhone and various Apps you can purchase or download from the App Store. All that is required from you is to download a new app and start using it. Applications available on AppExchange are similar, in the sense that in a few clicks you will be able to add new features to your travel CRM system. 

Integrate your travel CRM with other technology solutions

But what kind of API shall I consider?

A solution that is designed to be implemented in different business environments is a travel CRM solution that is able to connect to your different business entity. The right solution has to fit your business needs, and you are the only one who knows what kind of integrations you need. However, the following here is a list of basic travel API connexion you would eventually require :

  • GDS APIs
  • Flights data 
  • Car rental
  • Public transportation
  • Cruises
  • Railway
  • Channel managers
  • Restaurant or Things to do platforms
  • OTAs

As the travel industry is changing rapidly and progressively, the API connexions are not obviously used by the current clients of your travel technology provider. However, if you make sure that your new travel CRM software is API connexion friendly, you won’t have any troubles.

Sugati Travel CRM is a fully integrated solution with many technology solution suppliers. Because with are partners with some of them, we always introduce you to the right person in order to help your setup installation. Find out more about our partners and many integrations Sugati Travel CRM offers.