Why I left an established Travel Company for a Travel Technology start-up.
A recent business trip home to Australia is the catalyst behind this blog. I have been extremely fortunate to have always worked for well-known travel companies like Contiki Holidays, Insight Vacations and Rocky Mountaineer. These are exceptional travel brands.
While I absolutely loved working for these travel companies and I learned a lot, in some ways, it was an easy sell. and I was in my comfort zone. I mean, I don’t need to convince you to visit the Rocky Mountains in luxury, you WANT to do that. The change I see in travel is that people still want to do the big-ticket items, they want to go to the places that are touristy and famous and fun, but the way we travel is changing. It’s not all about putting on a backpack and heading out at 20 or buying a cruise ticket when you’re 50. People are looking to tailor their experiences to do trips in their own way, not necessarily as part of a tour bus or fixed guides. People are getting savvy about their environmental footprint and immersing themselves in experiences rather than just snapping away with their cameras in front of ancient ruins. And that’s the challenge for the big operators – how they remain competitive while adjusting their sales model and customer experience.
Why Kaptio Travel Technology?
So when I was approached about this opportunity with Kaptio, it seemed like a great opportunity to immerse myself in the practical side of sales and the customer experience within travel technology. Building my experience in the travel tech side of the customer experience is out of my typical comfort zone.
I have been in travel for fifteen years, I’m great at sales, I understand people and I love spending time with them. I know that travel tech is such a huge player in that end-to-end customer experience now and being part of a travel technology business, that was tackling that head-on, appealed to me.
Do you see what I’m saying here? It’s not about moving from big to small or established to start-up – you need to tackle the bit in the middle about how the industry is changing. It makes sense to be part of that change, learn it at a grassroots level, while you bring your extensive industry experience to companies to help achieve their business goals.
Why is Travel CRM so Important?
As for the travel tech piece, for me, that’s a no-brainer. People like to have a certain amount of autonomy over their customer experiences these days. They don’t take a brands word that they are the best or that this is a good experience, they go online, and they research it. They look for recommendations, reviews. They want to be able to make payments knowing that if everything goes pear-shaped, they can get their money back. They want to check out hotels in advance, and they are using google street view and the googles street view to navigate around and see the hotel in the context of its location. They want to stay connected to their families and in travel, they want to stay connected to the travel/ tour company and feel that they can connect at any time for advice or assistance.
You want to use your years of experience to talk about what can make or break a customer experience and how travel tech is improving the experience by addressing those pain points (the whole challenge vs opportunity thing). At a very basic level, and probably the most important, communication – being able to use your own phone to call your folks, or your phone to send a postcard based on one of your own photos from your phone – mobile’s impacting on traditional travel experiences and how we participate in them. A flexible Travel CRM platform is absolutely key to this.
Kaptio and Travel CRM
This is what Kaptio is all about, a Travel CRM, a 360 view of your customer, an end-to-end booking system all built on Salesforce, the world leader in CRM. Kaptio is transforming the standard customer experience while also delivering incredible operational efficiencies for your business. Kaptio is a travel technology and travel CRM enabler to help businesses reach their strategic goals and improve their end to end customer processes. Put simply, the needs of the 21st-century traveller have changed, and I wish to help businesses address those changes.
So that’s why… that’s the opportunity ahead… and in my eyes, travel CRM and a 360-degree view of your customers is the future of Travel.
Thanks for reading, Steve Farrelly, Director of Business Transformation, Kaptio