What should you focus on in 2019
2018 brought its own set of challenges for Travel Companies. The Destinations that were expected to do well didn’t do so. A lot of companies were not able to sustain themselves and packed up and shut shop while some other had meteoric rise and beat all the Odds. The companies which were big names at one time shrunk down even further What did these companies do right that others didn’t and what can we learn from it.
What did the companies that succeed in 2018 do right? Not only did they have a great product that they sold, they also stuck true to their vision and catered to the right audience. They made sure that their marketing played a key role in their success. Their teams were trained and incentivised to close more sales. To break it down
1) They made Innovative products which were based on customer interaction (Online and offline) The Online Data was recorded by the marketing and Offline by the Sales agents and shared with Product Teams. This gave them a deep understanding into what the customers were looking for. (Data driven)
2) They monitored the trends online and offline and shared this information in real time. Which helped them tweak what they were offering in real time and show the right message to the right audience. (Data driven)
3) Using the right technology they were able to segment their customers and show the message on the relevant platform there by bringing in more people into the top of the funnel. (Data driven)
4) Since all the Data and Interactions were being recorded the teams armed with all the information were able to answer faster and share relevant information. Using the right technology they were able to follow up on time there by closing more than others. (Technology and Training)
5) The teams were incentivised financially. They all have their targets and once they go over the targets they have financial incentives, having all the data on hand. Sales closed v/s Sales in Pipeline they were able to push for closing sales. All the information was available in realtime and they didn’t have to wait for figures to be shared at the end of the month. This meant that at all times they were on top of the Sales funnel. (Technology and Training)
6) The Top of the funnel was extremely large, since the closure rate is only between 5-7% having a large entry funnel ensured that there were always enough prospects and those who didn’t qualify / didn’t book this time were placed in the database for future marketing / future holidays. (Data and Technology)
A couple of things that are a given in my analysis is that the companies which have succeeded had many great products to offer, if one product was not doing well they were able to quickly pull the plug and allocate their spend to what had potential. They had a website which was optimised for desktop, Tablets and mobile viewing. Over 2/3 of the sales today happen using a handheld device as that is where we spend most of our time.
The outcome of this comes down to 3 major things what helped these companies succeed and that Travel Companies need to focus on in 2019 if they are to stay relevant in Business.
1) Technology: Starts with having the right content management system (CMS) on the website, something which can be updated on regular basis and in real time. (Bigfoot Marketing always recommends WordPress as it has a wide assortment of themes which are made for travel Companies and saves the need to be creative with design and layouts, plus is SEO friendly using various plugins) Then comes your CRM solution, the CRM should be able to speak with other technology in real time. There are various ways this can be done. An update in one should reflect in the other in realtime. Your CRM should also be hooked upto your automation platform which is extremely important so that you can have all relevant metrics in realtime against each contact. We use Active Campaign, Using the tracking code we know when our leads visit our website and how they interact with the information we share. Active campaign is also our CRM, which helps us stay on top of things at all times.
2) Training: This is one area where travel companies have never been known to spend money on. Imagine you buy a 1000$ phone and it doesn’t get any updates, no new security patches, the first 3 months it would work very well, the next 3 it would work well and after that every month it would deteriorate and slow down. Similarly with the teams, if they are not taught new things they will stop being effective. A basic human need is to grow. Growth is both in skills and financial and both are needed for good companies to become great. The companies which constantly upgrade their people are the one’s who succeed.
3) Data: This is the most misunderstood thing in Travel Agencies. Travel Agencies don’t realise the value of the data they have. Data is gold mine if stored in the right place and used properly. Everything you need to succeed today depends upon data. Who visited your website, what did they check, who called your Travel Company, what did they Inquire about, why did they not purchase or why did they buy from you. What do the heat maps on your website reveal, which of your customer is a regular with you and who is just a shopper. Whom should you target more and what. Having the data your life becomes super easy.
For 2019, if you wish to succeed you need to realign your focus and start investing in technology, Train your teams and give your Marketing a lot of support. Your marketing needs to make sure that your Top of the funnel stays as large as possible (depends upon your budgets and products) and your teams are well equipped to handle all queries.
Not all companies can have a full fledged marketing department and the knowledge to make it work, that is where we help you out. We help you create and deploy your marketing roadmap, assist with the right technology and are there with you every step of the way helping you achieve your goals.