We see automation all around us. Now it’s the time for travel agencies to think about automating their workflows as well, as it can provide them the opportunity to experience a variety of benefits in the long run.
Travel agencies are getting a lot of inquiries from potential customers daily. They create trip budgets and send out as quotes to all those potential customers. However, not all of them will eventually spend money and purchase the trips that travel agents offered. I believe that if travel agencies can follow them up, they can convert more customers. This is the main reason why travel agencies should think about an automated follow-up process.
Travel agencies will not be able to manually follow up all the potential customers who request quotes. If they did this manually, they would have to assign a person for it. However, this would be a massive and unnecessary expense. And with lots of failure points as it would be a manual process. That’s why they need to think about automating the follow-up process.
Technological advancements have provided excellent assistance for travel agencies to automate the follow-up processes. Therefore, they can conveniently follow up all the potential customers that get budgets from their travel agency and convert a significant percentage of them to revenue-generating customers. This is one of the best methods available for travel agencies to increase the budget to purchase ratio. To be specific, an automated follow-up sequence ensures that all the efforts and measures have been taken to convert all of the budgets in a customer purchase. The follow-up sequence should be strategic. It should be automated to achieve the specific goal of raising the budget to purchase ratio.
An automated follow up helps to bring back the customers and to build a valuable relationship with them. It not only brings to the travel agency back the qualified and high-quality leads but also help you to ensure utmost customer satisfaction. It helps travel agencies to interact and engage with their customers in a better way.
SETTING UP THE FOLLOW-UP PROCESS AND SCHEDULE
The potential travelers went to the travel agency and the agency provided them with a trip budget. The relation between the travel agency and the potential traveler doesn’t end there, travel agencies need a consistent sales follow-up process to bring the deal home. Sending follow-up emails and making calls at strategic times is, therefore, a necessary and common part of the process. The process should be a mix of emails and calls to ensure that all efforts were made to convert the trip budget in a purchase.
The schedule of the follow-ups should be defined by travel agencies to be pushier or more pleasant, but it could be something like this:
The potential customers go to the travel agency and get a trip budget
Email thanking for choosing the travel agency
After 1 week
Follow-up email to understand if the potential customer already decided, and how the travel agency can help them decide
After 1 week
After 1 week
Follow-up email with some customer testimonials
After 1 week
After 1 week
After 1 week
Break-up email where the travel agency thanks to the customer for choosing them to provide the trip budget and letting them know that the travel agency will not follow-up anymore, but if the potencial customer needs any further help that the agency is “more than glad” to assist.
How to automate trip budget follow-up
FULLY AUTOMATED THROUGH A CRM
CRMs are used to understand customers. Using a CRM will give a direction and a purpose to travel agencies business. The customers are essencial to any business, and it is necessary to collect and organize data related to them. Investing in a CRM is probably the best way to do it. CRM is a tool which can take customer satisfaction to a whole new level.
There are many beneficts of using a CRM, such as:
A CRM is an advanced organizational tool that can be used to collect the customer’s data and valuable information at a single place. CRM allows travel agencies to store the data and information about their customers without taking up any space, due to cloud technology. Travel Agencies can organize their customers’ data using CRM technology. It can provide a quick insight into the customers’ actions, requirements, and demands.
CRM factors out the miscalculated data issues. CRM stores all the information in one place. The cluster of information at one place helps travel agencies to analyze the data more quickly and effectively. CRM is integrated with advanced tools and plug-ins which help to view the data from the dashboards quickly and efficiently.
CRM establishes a standardized level of communication with travel agency customers. As quoted earlier, CRM gathers the most important data about the customers and the travel agency by using cloud technology. The customers would not have to address the problem to someone new on their second interaction. CRM provides detailed communicable information about the customers’ preferences and issues so that travel agencies can follow up on them. Also, it ensures that all travel agents follow the procedures defined by the management team and communicate and follow-up in the same way.
AUTOMATE EVERYDAY TASKS
CRM also automates several everyday tasks, such as sending out emails, notices, filling out forms, informing the customers about the current offers and handling out the legal issues. The automated tool in CRM saves the employees lots of time.
IMPROVED CUSTOMER SERVICE
CRM technology enhances customer service. CRM is a database that is accessible to all employees. Every employee can access the information, preferences, and issues stored in CRM, and can provide a solution to the customer within a few minutes.
OPTIMIZE THE CONVERSION PROBABILITY
CRM helps to improve data-driven leads. Moreover, it helps travel agencies to build qualified leads that can optimize the conversion probability. CRM allows travel agencies to access the contact numbers, emails and addresses at one place. It enhances the efficiency of the business when multiple teams are working together. Hence, optimizing the conversion probability.
Several CRM systems have features and tools for an automated follow-up sequence. Some of them are:
HubSpot is a top-notch CRM. It is widely used for social media marketing. This feature of the CRM system connects to the social media platforms and trace some useful information from the customers’ profiles. Travel Agencies can merge HubSpot with their email inbox and allow it to log all activities automatically. Moreover, they can see all your contacts in one place with the help of HubSpot. Learn how to automate emails in Hubspot in the link below:
Agile CRM is a CRM system that provides service and sales automation on a single platform. This software includes mail tracking, a sales tracking system, website analytics, automated marketing tools, two-way email system, and a simple and unique modern interface. Travel Agencies will be able to use it and create better customer experiences. It can help travel agencies to organize all the contacts to a single interface and automate the follow-up process with ease. Learn how to automate emails in Agile CRM in the link below:
Pipedrive is a CRM tool, which is specifically designed for the use of sales teams, and at the end of the day, that’s what travel agents are. Travel Agencies will be able to use it to streamline their deal-making process. Therefore, a travel agency that wants to make more sales with existing customers can take a look at Pipedrive. It is a software in the CRM system that helps the small sales team to manage the lengthy and intricate sales processes. Learn how to automate emails in Pipedrive in the link below:
Pipefy is a CRM-based software that is used for accomplishing streamlined sales processes and operations. Moreover, it improves the collaboration between the multiple teams and improves communication between multiple teams. It also offers a calendar that can help the employees to accomplish the assigned tasks on time. The greatest feature of the Pipefy is its automated technology to execute an action if that action is predefined. With the help of Pipefy, travel agencies can use email templates to automate customer follow-up process. All that they have to do is to pre-configure the email templates and it will automatically send them according to the sequence that they define. Learn how to automate emails in Pipedrive in the link below:
Keap is a CRM, which is designed to help to keep the business growing. Travel Agencies can use Keap to update the information of all their potential customers and then automate the follow-up process. They can also use Keap to walk through the entire customer journey. Moreover, it optimizes the customers’ experience with a business and enhances automated marketing strategies and customers’ relationship with the company. Learn how to automate emails in Keap in the link below:
To those travel agencies who are not ready to implement a CRM system in their follow up sequence, here are some alternatives which can be used to semi-automate the follow-up sequence.
MAIL MERGE IN EXCEL
Mail merge can merge the emails, labels, envelopes, and letter to create multiple documents, all at once. Travel agencies can get all their potential customer information to an Excel file. Then they can send out emails to follow them up. For every single email, it can grab specific customer information from the Excel file. Therefore, travel agencies can send personalized emails to potential customers, without adding specific information to every single email manually. Having that possibility there is just a need to set a date for each follow-up and run the mail merge in Excel in the specific date. Learn how to semi-automate emails in Excel in the link below:
MAIL MERGE IN GOOGLE SHEETS WITH THE ADD-ON MAIL MERGE WITH ATTACHMENTS
Travel Agencies can also think about managing the customer records on a Google Sheet. When they maintain an Excel file, they cannot collaboratively add and edit customer information to it. If they have a bigger sales team, it will be an issue. That’s where they should think about mail merging with Google Sheets. The logic is the same as the mail merge in Excel, but with the possibility of several people collaborating in the same Google Sheets. Learn how to semi-automate emails with Mail Merge with Attachments in Google Sheets in the link below:
Travel agencies have been using technology in the last decades provided by companies such as Travelport and TTS – Travel Technology Solutions, that enhanced their processes, workflows and their business. Nonetheless, the world evolves every day at an ever-growing pace and travel agencies have to keep up with that pace. Historically the budget to purchase ratio is low and I believe that with this automated follow-up process ideas, travel agencies can raise that ratio to higher numbers and increase revenue.
Article by João Taborda, Head of Sales @ TTS.
As featured in Publituris