Travel Counsellors claimed to have bucked the economic downturn by investing in technology to enable its home-based agents to provide a more personal, targeted service.
But technological advances were only a part of the strategy, the agency’s chairman, David Speakman, told 1,100 delegates, including 500 agents, at its recent annual conference in Telford.
“Technology is changing travel,” he said. “The rise of the internet means customers can now do for themselves what they previously needed travel agents for.
“Technology is taking over the ‘what’, but it’s about how you deliver and create value in your service, as now you don’t sell the product, you sell yourselves. As long as companies can switch on to this consumer-focused way of doing business they will be successful.”
Travel Counsellors said its new email marketing platform, allowing customer segmentation, had resulted in a 33% increase in sales of featured product in six months. The system will soon allow more-personalised rich content, such as videos, podcasts and newsletters, to be sent.
The Bolton-based agency also reported a 20% increase in investment per agent, largely due to technology, and added that a raft of improvements to the Phenix dynamic packaging system had helped push sales on which agents control their margin beyond 50%.
Talking about the email platform, sales director Malcolm Hingley said: “It’s all about making it personal to the consumer and making them feel special. This advanced level of marketing support takes work away from our agents so that they have more time to focus on speaking to their customers and building relationships.”