To date, talk of personalisation in travel has seemed like a one-way street; firms acquire and analyse customer and browsing data and deliver a tailored experience back in the hope it hits home.
But travel firms looking to provide true personalisation understand that the process of buying a holiday rarely, if ever, stops at the initial point of contact and, in fact, this is usually just the start.
So can technology match, or even better in the travel market, the sort of experience customers are receiving in other sectors that are more advanced in online and customer service technologies.
This is precisely what then team at tprofile ltd has been working on for four years and now with 13 live customers, expected to rise to 22 by the end of the year, they are ready to make some noise.
Chief executive Tony Evans has extensive experience in the travel sector and says tprofile has crafted a super-CRM, specifically designed to deliver an exceptional customer experience and designed particularly with travel firms’ requirements and needs in mind.
The concept for tprofile came from a frustration that the technology available was incapable of delivering what was required for businesses who are passionate about customer service and genuinely believe it can deliver differentiation.
“There are two core reasons why the customer experience within travel is often poor in comparison to other sectors. Firstly, the technology, often based around fragmented systems not connecting and delivering a centrally managed experience for customers.
“The second is the reliance on people to deliver communication and responses at the right time and in the right way.
We wanted to create a cloud based technology platform that could address these two problems and provide a base from which travel businesses can deliver a consistent and exceptional experience for customers. Hence we have spent the last four years developing and delivering tprofile to our customers.”
The technology can effectively run in parallel with core back office booking and reservation systems and acts as the gateway between the company and the customer from inquiry, through to quote, booking and beyond.
It creates a customer profile for every customer, through which bespoke, beautifully designed proposals are generated and all interactions are initiated, managed and recorded.
Once a profile has been created from an initial inquiry the travel firm can then determine how the system prompts further follow-up activity based on previous interactions.
These triggers might be purely functional things like requesting passenger information, balance payments or delivering electronic documentation, such booking confirmations, vouchers and ATOL certificates.
Or they could be more personalised touches like wishing the customer has a nice holiday or a welcoming home and review request. Likewise the customer can interact with the travel firm through their profile. This ensures promising leads are not ignored, and further revenue opportunities like adding insurance, car hire or attraction tickets are pursued.
Newly appointed Sales Director, Russell Parr, previously worked for trade supplier Attraction World which knows all too well the low level of conversion many agents achieve for its products.
“Tprofile enables the travel company to mine the data that sits behind it so marketing is far more targeted than CRM activity has been in the past. “We have this all-encompassing platform that effectively manages marketing activity and promotes a continual engagement process with the customer.
“Customers are quite fickle in travel and we see tprofile as providing that much more personal touch and bringing in some brand loyalty along the way.” Evans added: “We are obsessed with getting this right, obsessed by making sure the customer likes what we do.
“We will continue to focus on our existing customers and those in our pipleine, but we are now ready to talk about our proposition and what we do.” Customers already using or in the process of deploying tprofile include major retail agents, tour operators and OTA’s.
Other unique features include management of group bookings with individual personal profiles, dynamic creation of web pages and content from agents rich quotes and a full automated task management and workflow process. Additionally, the company is at an advanced stage with a unique customer profiling technology on which it intends to submit patents.
Tprofile charges a monthly fee which gives it a guaranteed steady income and the firm says it is operating profitably as it targets sustainable organic growth. Evans said grasping the opportunities of personalisation won’t be an option for travel firms, as they are forced to compete as much on the service they offer as the products they sell.
“Nobody has really nailed this yet. This is about genuinely getting in to the consumer profile and understanding their, history, preferences, plans, desires and much more. Every business in travel will need to get into the personalisation space and focus on retention via this level of customer engagement’.
“But it’s a difficult thing to do. Some are doing it well to a degree and others are struggling to deliver a suitable strategic solution. That’s why we are filling that gap.”