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How Your Travel Company Can Use a CRM

Max Freedman
Max Freedman

If you run a service for travelers, your customer relationships are your lifeblood. This is where CRM software can help.

When running a travel business, keeping track of your current customers and potential customers is critical. Travel startups often use customer relationship management software to store a wealth of customer data.

With access to a huge database of information, you can learn a lot about your customers and have all the information you need to provide quick and convenient support. If you are in the travel industry, it is important to have a clear understanding of how the top CRM software can benefit your business.

What is a CRM?

A customer relationship management software platform, also known as a CRM, stores and organizes your customer data. CRMs can be used for a variety of sales, marketing and customer service initiatives. You can use your CRM to develop a sales pipeline and move prospects through it. Your CRM can also help you execute marketing campaigns and ensure you are providing helpful and timely customer support.

You can use your CRM to quickly access your existing customers' information, interests, and needs during sales or customer service interactions, whether those interactions are phone calls, emails, or live chats. And every time someone on your team interacts with a customer, they can use your CRM to track the interaction.

Did you know?Did you know? Most CRM systems are cloud-hosted, which means they can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection.

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Benefits of CRMs for travel agencies

Among the reasons a travel agency might want to use a CRM include:

1. Improved customer experience

With a travel agency CRM, you can easily determine the wants and needs of your current customers and target audience. CRM software contains an abundance of information about customers and your target groups, which you can use to enhance your customer experience. Having detailed records of past interactions can help your staff provide personalized customer service and more effective sales and marketing pitches.

2. Personalized traveler experience

Every traveler is different, with their own unique interests, preferences and choices. Some travelers like to explore the wilderness and stay in peaceful abodes, while some enjoy the buzz of big cities and want to be close to the local festivities or open marketplaces. As travelers' ideal vacations are so different, the experience they receive from your company should also be unique to each of them.

With the help of a CRM tool, you can easily understand the key preferences of your target audience, allowing you to customize or personalize the experience that you offer to travelers. For example, you could offer relevant recommendations to a specific traveler based on their interests or past destinations, or even modify your communications based on their tastes. You can do a lot when you know your audience better.

3. Increased number of customers

Your travel business can only grow if customers find it useful. Having a CRM can not only help you keep your current customers happy, but it also puts you in the best position to land new ones.

4. Customer analytics

Nowadays, we have a lot of interconnected corporate solutions. For example, certain programs with a dedicated CRM app contain specific applications for marketing and/or sales. These collaborative solutions can help everyone in your company work in sync, especially the marketing, sales and customer support (or CRM) departments.

Your customer support team is in constant touch with your customers; no one understands your audience more than they do. All this information about your customers and target audience is very valuable for your marketing and sales teams to build better strategies.

Input from your customer support team, based on insights from a CRM's analytics, allows your marketers and sales reps to know whom they are targeting. Their campaigns can be much more focused, increasing your ROI. 

Features to look for in a travel agency CRM

As you consider different software providers, make sure that any solutions you're thinking of using include the following CRM features:

  • Marketing automation. Through CRM marketing automation, certain lead, prospect and customer actions will trigger automated emails from your team. The result is hands-off email marketing that drives lead engagement and potentially results in new customers.
  • Additional marketing. Although automation is perhaps the most common marketing feature among CRMs, some solutions can identify which of your social media marketing channels is the most effective. And since all CRMs store and categorize your customer data, you can easily build email lists for your next marketing initiative.
  • Sales pipeline. Your CRM should enable you to build a sales pipeline that you can easily view from your CRM dashboard. Your team can look at your pipeline to assess how far along certain leads have moved and then incentivize them to book a trip.
  • Online booking. A travel CRM should include tools for online B2B and B2C booking. You may also want to find a travel CRM that includes adventure packages that persuade customers to choose your agency over others.
  • Itinerary builder. With the itinerary builders included in the best travel CRMs, you can easily create a schedule of events and activities to match any customer's desires. CRMs make doing so especially easy, since they store your customer data and detail their interests. Plus, for returning customers, you can use your data from their previous vacations to inform their current itinerary.
  • Cloud-based access. Travel is an on-the-go activity. And if you, not just your customers, are on the move, you might still need access to your CRM. Cloud-based platforms make this access possible whenever, wherever.
  • Sales performance and customer loyalty metrics. You aren't only creating dream vacations for your clients, you're also trying to run and grow a business. To do that, you need to know how often you're selling your services to new customers and retaining existing ones. CRMs store this information and can analyze it for you as well.

Bottom LineBottom line: Marketing automation, sales pipeline builders, online booking tools, itinerary builders and detailed analytic options are among the key features you should be looking for when shopping for a CRM for your travel business.

Best CRMs for travel agencies

Some CRMs that meet all the above requirements include:

  • Zoho CRM: Zoho's travel agency CRM includes standard CRM functions alongside flight, hotel and travel package booking tools unique to travel agencies.
  • Freshworks: The Freshworks travel agency CRM prioritizes communication both with your team and your customers. It also includes email marketing tracking and marketing automation tools.
  • Salesforce: The undisputed CRM industry leader, Salesforce offers versatile solutions to fit any travel agency's needs. Salesforce is especially notable for its recent acquisition of team messaging app Slack, which it plans to integrate fully into its CRM for seamless teamwork.

Travel agency CRM FAQs

Should a CRM contain lead management features?

Yes, it should. Many CRM tools contain lead management features, but not all. Since your CRM will contain your customer database, it's the perfect place to store your lead database, too. With all this information in one place, your employees will find it much easier to access travelers' details. You can use your knowledge of these to build strategies to convert them. The best CRM tools contain several other features to identify your top leads and the best ways to convert them

What is the role of a CRM in managing customer complaints?

Perhaps the biggest advantage of using a CRM is that it allows you to manage customer complaints and issues. Your customer support team can log details of all their interactions with customers, so they get to know about the problems your customers face and can access that information on demand. As the latest CRM tools contain modern software application technologies and cutting-edge features, your customer service team can use them to understand and help your customers.

TipTip: Keeping a detailed record of past customer interactions allows your support to address issues quicker, rather than always having to play catch-up.

How can you ensure the CRM is used to its full potential?

CRM tools are extremely capable, but your team should use them appropriately for them to do their job. You should train your customer service staff to use the CRM constantly. Your support team needs to maintain those connections and keep their information and communications up to date to understand customers better.

Travel companies should not ignore the power of CRM analytics. With the help of these tools, you can generate a lot of insights after processing your customer data. These insights can be very valuable for travel companies.

Running a travel business is not easy. Most importantly, your travel company should be able to manage its relationships with customers if you're going to compete in a crowded space like travel services. Only if customers are happy and feel listened to does your business have any chance of growth. This is why it's important for travel companies to adopt CRM tools with the latest technologies.

James Warner contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.

Image Credit: Bojan89 / Getty Images
Max Freedman
Max Freedman
business.com Contributing Writer
Max Freedman is a content writer who has written hundreds of articles about small business strategy and operations, with a focus on finance and HR topics. He's also published articles on payroll, small business funding, and content marketing. In addition to covering these business fundamentals, Max also writes about improving company culture, optimizing business social media pages, and choosing appropriate organizational structures for small businesses.