Travel and tourism specialist digital marketing agency Souk is aiming to double in size over the next three years, having added Customer Relationship Management expertise to its services.
The London-based firm has focussed purely on travel for the last three years and worked with a number of travel brands, including Haven Holidays, Audley Travel, Exodus, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Hurtigruten, Flybe and Glasgow, Southampton and Cardiff airports.
Paul Vennard, head of digital, said while the nature of the business has seen retained marketing deals decline in favour of more project based work, CRM is a growing area of demand from travel firms needing to understand their customers better.
“We speak to a lot of clients who have databases here there and everywhere and they are looking for someone to bring it all together. That’s a growth area for us.”
Souk has built a CRM product based on a third party platform and is integrating other service like call centre tracking.
Vennard said travel clients are usually looking to drive up volume of either web visitors or phone calls, but he said Souk urges firms to start from the point of knowing who their existing customers are and optimising their conversions first.
Claus Larsen, head of creative, said the focus for travel clients should be about the emotive nature of the product they are selling and to stress what makes their company different from the competition.
Therefore Souk is pushing the personalisation agenda and what motivates and inspires customers to buy a travel product. However it says it’s important not just to look at past behaviour, because firms need to offer customers something new.
Larsen said a problem is that firms believe they can achieve this “on the cheap”.
“We have a lot of clients talking to us about content but we say what assets have you got? You need to spend some money to get those assets. There are too few companies that have got it and there are too few willing to invest in it.”
Vennard said companies believe they can rely on user generated content. “Too many companies say we are going to get our customers to generate this content for us. If you want to do content properly you have to produce it.”
Souk believes television advertising which offers segmented audiences like Sky’s Adsmart service is making the channel more affordable for brands and it is powerful enough to make a difference.
It believes social has a role to play depending on who brands are talking to, but too often social is just used for the sake of it without a clear idea of what it is meant to achieve.