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Four Reasons Why Travel Businesses need a Travel CRM

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.