At their simplest, customer relationship management systems (CRMs) are tools that businesses use to manage client data. They support sales management, facilitate marketing incentives and deliver insights into travel trends – from identifying the destinations clients are booking to the type of experiences they are looking for.
Chris North, managing director at travel technology supplier Vertical Systems, says the benefits of a CRM come from its ability to monitor all aspects of the business in one place.
“By using a CRM, you know exactly how the business is performing by clearly showing how much it is making and what it’s losing. Furthermore, the process of handling an enquiry is much more streamlined and efficient.”
Building a bespoke CRM specifically tailored for your business model can improve back-office efficiency and generate savvy marketing materials that can increase sales. We ask three agencies how they went about the process and trained their staff on the new systems, as well as whether having a bespoke CRM has ultimately improved business.
Derek Adams, director at Spear Travels, says building the company’s InSpearational Travel CRM in 2008 was a necessity, as off-the-shelf systems were not suitable for the way they ran the business.
“At that time, you would have to run your business according to how the CRM systems on the marketplace worked. We couldn’t find a compromise that worked for us. We have 13 branches in the group and 20 homeworkers. We needed a system that would work across the entire business model.”
Waseem Haq, director of digital and innovation at Travel Counsellors, says the primary driver behind building a bespoke CRM system 12 years ago was for its agents to better understand its customers’ needs and therefore sell to them more efficiently.
“We included all the basic details of the client. Information about their travel preferences means we can integrate them into the booking process much more quickly and make it easier for future bookings. It also has marketing functions that manage all of the customer’s preferences with regards to the materials they want to receive.”
For Ed Texier, group marketing manager, Meon Valley Travel, building a bespoke CRM for the business’s leisure division was a “no-brainer” after seeing a 50% increase in efficiency from its business travel branch.