How important is a travel CRM to your business’ success?
During Travel Weekly’s Spring Form, we joined the conversation about the future of travel. Kaptio and Salesforce evaluate lessons and priorities resulting from COVID-19 and how personalisation with travel tech software will lead the way in recovery.
Here we highlight the conversation between Rachel Kenney, Salesforce and Jon Pickles, Kaptio led by Lee Hayhurst, Travolution during this forum. In this session, Fail to invest for a digital future at your cost, we delve into how travel tech will lead the rebound.
Kaptio sees successful recovery in the reassurance, personalisation and high-end touches the luxury traveller now expects. “Technology is going to be very much at the heart of the rebuild of travel,” Lee Hayhurst stated.
Recorded Session: Fail To Invest For A Digital Future At Your Cost
Start the video at 2hr9m
The Partnership between Kaptio & Salesforce
Jon Pickles, Kaptio, COO illustrates how Kaptio and Salesforce work together. “We are a Salesforce ISV partner, which means our solution, our product sits on top of the Salesforce platform. We have a customer-centric reservation travel system, which covers the entire customer lifecycle from initial engagement through quote, booking, on-trip, and post-trip and re-engagement. The key thing being, our customers have one system across their business.”
Why a Travel CRM is Necessary for Luxury Travel
It has been recently said that CRM is now considered to be old school, and the more modern approach is moving towards data analytics. That is all well and good for some travel businesses such as OTA’s and low touch businesses; but, for the tailor-made high-touch luxury providers and tour operators we support, we would disagree. For the high-touch traveller, data and knowledge about the customer at the point of sale is invaluable.
Lee Hayhurst, executive editor for Travolution, inquired what Salesforce is seeing from their travel clients and Rachel Kenney, senior regional vice president, responded. “One of the things we have seen most recently is a lot of our customers are interested in building more direct relationships with their customers. Mainly to target those customers more effectively, so while some customers can’t wait to travel, we are all aware of those a little bit more hesitant. So understanding customers, reaching out to them at the right time with relevant offers will be really critical to having a successful recovery.”
To remain relevant with prospects, tracking all communications and touch-points your brand has had with each customer is vital. Touch-points such as email, web-chat, social media, proposals, etc., and deeply understanding their journey with your company helps to win business. Surfacing pertinent details, offers and content along the journey offers a seamless booking experience—all achieved with a travel CRM. To better understand business transformation, don’t miss our blog post, Digital Transformation—How Will This Affect Your Travel Business?
Preparing for Increased Demand
Kenney also goes on to explain. “Another thing that is quite common in conversation right now is, how are travel companies going to rebuild their businesses quickly, how are they going to recover, how are they going to respond to spikes in bookings or customer service demands on the backend of this year. How do they do that without compromising customer experience and not increasing costs or certainly not in a way that’s not sustainable.”
Our answer to these questions is through an all-inclusive travel tech solution. Upgrading your travel tech during lockdown might be challenging, but what better time to implement a solution that can grow with your strategy. The timing is especially critical if your team was downsized in 2020; equipping your essential staff now with even more powerful tools before major spikes in demand is a smart move. Companies will need to balance reinstating furloughed staff, all while managing costs. You will also want to reduce the number of systems your users need, reducing costs whilst providing a single platform for them to work with.
Offering Reassurance to Travellers
Travellers are indeed reassessing many aspects of their lives and goals; paired with being cooped up for 12+ months we anticipate a surge in bucket list trip bookings. However, in booking a grand trip such as this, reassurance and confidence will be key. Customers may be willing to book their trips, but they want to be supported by an expert consultant and a strong brand, plus being offered the flexibility to cancel and make changes based on the uncertainty of a date when travel borders are re-opened.
Pickles describes the value of choosing a robust, established CRM solution. Coupled with what Kaptio has been doing with Salesforce, there are so many features in Salesforce that we can harness, which you would have to build and develop from scratch if you didn’t have that capability. For example, web to lead, managing the full CRM, and the life cycle of a 360-degree view of the customer—that’s all part of our solution out of the box. Pickles also touches on how Kaptio connects operators to customers via the Salesforce integrations with social, chat, voice, etc., which is at the root of offering a customer-centric service.
The Move Towards Personalisation
“People want reassurance; they want to know that you understand what they need. Which is why, I believe, travel agents are going to have a resurgence because people want that personal touch, and that’s all a part of the customisation and understanding your customer,” Pickles states. “Imagine you are a large travel company, and you have many of customers, it’s very difficult [to have a meaningful conversation with each and every one of them,] as it’s not in one person’s head. Anybody needs to pick the phone up and be able to talk to the customer with the knowledge about the customer so that they can service them. I think that a service-focused industry and that customer-centricity is going to be the key moving forward.”
Part of what is holding back personalisation in travel is the lack of information at hand or a significant delay in receiving what is needed to service customers well. Unfortunately, data is usually very disparate within a travel company and often across different systems. One of Kaptio’s strengths is that we are built on top of Salesforce with their customer-centric approach, and together we connect all aspects of the business into one single cloud-based solution.
If you missed this forum, tune into all three days of the content from Travel Weekly’s Spring Forum to see where the industry is headed and how to be strategic as we move toward travel reopening. Plus, read Travolution’s article, Using tech to track trends is vital to a successful recovery.
Only Kaptio Travel and Salesforce, the world’s no 1 CRM system, delivers a truly customer-centric approach. With your customers at the core of your system, you can understand their needs and react quickly, offering them the certainty they need in an uncertain world. Get in touch today to discover why brands like Rocky Mountaineer and Rhino Africa rely on our travel CRM and travel tech software as the single solution to power their operations.