Ensure CRM Success for Your Travel Agency

Sep 6, 2018

Suppose, you are planning a fixed departure to Crete. Now, once you’ve planned the itinerary, you will want to market the tour through various channels, collect leads, nurture them to convert into customers, collect customer data and manage your reservations accordingly. The success for any travel agency depends heavily on how well you manage this entire process. And, you as well as I know, how grueling this process can be. One mistake with meal preference and you have a dissatisfied customer in hand! That is why you require a CRM to ensure success for your travel agency.

Here, you need a system in place that can capture all data in one place, streamline reservation process and give you ready access to crucial documents (such as passport, visa etc.) within seconds. You need a travel agency CRM for this.

But, simply going ahead and purchasing a CRM is not enough! After all, it’s just a piece of technology, until and unless you implement it successfully for your business. So, the question is how do you ensure CRM success for your travel agency?

Actually, the path to CRM success starts long before you purchase the software. This statement is true for every industry. In case of travel agencies, the complex need of data capturing makes it crucial.

So, here’s a step by step guide on how to ensure CRM success for your travel agency!

Have a Vision to ensure CRM success

So, you have decided to put a CRM system in place for your travel agency. But, do you have a clear picture about how exactly you want this system to work? What is your goal for getting this system in place? What kind of technology do you want to go ahead with? All these questions need answer BEFORE you start looking for a provider.

What do you want to achieve with a CRM?

You have some pain points in your business process. Note them down- yes, all of them. Now take a good look at the problems. Which of these problems do you want to solve with a CRM system. Let’s take an example here:

John owns a travel agency based in Canada. He conducts both FITs and fixed departure tours. He has grown his clientele over the years. But with growing number of customers, it has become really difficult for him to manage everything on a spreadsheet. For every tour, especially fixed departures, he needs to keep track of all his guests, keep their official documents such as visas, passports etc in one place, manage their food and accommodation preferences, book transportation and so on.

So, he wants a system that lets him capture all these data against each of his tours, identify the primary customers and the corresponding guests, streamline all the information regarding all his guests and book food, accommodation and transportation accordingly.

Unlike other industries, John’s pain point is not simply tracking a customer’s journey from lead to customer. When you, as a travel agency is looking at implementing CRM system for your business, this clarity of vision is crucial. What kind of tour do you offer primarily? What are the pain points that are pushing you towards implementing a CRM? Answer this questions and you are half way there!

What kind of CRM technology are you looking for?

When it comes to CRM, you have broadly two choices: on premise and on cloud. The kind of technology you want to use depends a lot on your requirements.

As a travel agency, your primary requirement is an easy to use system that you can access from anywhere and everywhere. Moreover, the system should be easy enough to scale, as your business grows. Right?

Here, going for a cloud CRM is the best way out!

With a cloud CRM, you don’t have to invest heavily on technology. You can simply purchase a subscription and get started with a browser. Moreover, a cloud based system gives you the much needed mobility, which is crucial for any travel agent. Another reason is easy scalability.  Today, you might have 2 or 20 agents working for you. But, as your business grows, you’ll likely to increase the number of agents working for you. You might be offering only FITs right now, but as your business grows, you are more likely to offer fixed departures. So, you need a system that can be scaled easily (without you having to invest heavily on infrastructure) to accommodate these requirements. A cloud based CRM gives you this flexibility!

Plan the implementation process:

So, you have already chosen a CRM provider. Now comes the major issue: implementation.

A lot of businesses purchase the CRM system with sky high enthusiasm, but fail miserably to implement the same. More often than not, they blame the system. However, truth be told, faulty implementation is the culprit here!

Go for the right implementation partner

Most cloud based CRM systems are easy enough to implement on your own when you are looking at managing your leads, contacts and deals only. But, things are not as simple with travel agencies; is it? You need to capture myriad data and create a number of workflow automation to use your CRM to full potential.

Here you need an implementation partner, who have thorough understanding of how travel industry works. What are the complexities a travel agency faces and how exactly those can be overcome. Without this know-how in place, implementation often becomes difficult and time consuming process.

Customize the system to talk in industry language

Well, Shakespeare said, ‘What’s in a name’? With all due respect, A LOT! Especially when it comes to industry terminology. In fact, the terminology of your travel agency CRM has a greater impact on CRM success. Why? Clarity. Customizing the system with industry specific terms will only make it easier to use. Your travel agents speak in certain industry terms. If the system does not recognize the same terms, it often creates unnecessary confusions and hampers clarity.

Moreover, with industry specific nomenclature in place, you can easily translate your business processes into automated workflows and streamline your lead capturing, data management and reservation processes.

Work on executive sponsorship

A system, no matter how amazing it may be, is useless if not used properly. In 38% of the cases, CRM implementation fail because of low level of executive sponsorship. So, how to ensure that your travel agents are using the CRM you put in place?

Simple! Make them see the benefits of using the CRM system. Identify stakeholders and train them to use the travel agency CRM first. The stakeholder can be a supervisor, a team leader or simply the friendly nerd in the office. Once you turn them into your system evangelist, they can respectively train and influence their juniors and peers.

Remember, CRM implementation is not a one day job. It takes time for your travel agents to get used to the system. Here, using industry specific terminology comes into play again. When the system speaks the language of the travel agents, they will be more inclined to use it.

And voila! Your CRM adaptation is well on the way!

Last Words…

CRM implementation for travel agencies is complex at best. And this is why a generic CRM product is often not enough. Going for an industry specific solution here is the best choice you have. A vertical CRM built for travel agencies reduce the implementation time and also enhances user adoption manifolds.

Want an industry specific CRM for your travel agency? 50+ travel agencies around the world have successfully implemented our Travel Agency CRM to grow their businesses! You can be the next! Visit our Website & landing page to know More About Travel Agency CRM 

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