New in-house back-office agency technology is promising agent members of the Hays Independence Group a much more sophisticated approach to marketing.
The group, which met for its annual domestic conference in Birmingham, comprises a wide range of agents from traditional high street outlets to start-up OTAs.
One of the newest members is hotholidays.co.uk, the new venture from sunshine.co.uk founder Chris Brown. Travolution Award winner loveholidays.com is also a member.
John Hays, the founder of the agency group, told the conference that the move away from Comtec’s back office Travelcat system was now completed and rewards were being reaped.
He said although Travelcat was very robust it was not fit for purpose for the modern age and did not allow agents to exploit the data they have on customers and prospects.
“We had been working around the system for quite a while,” Hays said. “We were having to manipulate data to actually fit modern practices.”
The Hays group has now migrated away from Travelcat and it has not played a part in any new bookings for nine months.
“I acknowledge that changing systems has been painful and I thank you for your forebearance; it’s always difficult in a reasonably large organisation.”
Hays said the company now had its own data in a data warehouse which members can access to get a much more granular view of their clients.
“Once you have got that level of data, which we could never get before, then you can really engage your customers with sophisticated marketing easily and cost-effectively.
“The reporting quality of the data is so much richer and fuller. It’s work in progress but we have done huge amounts of work to get to where we are. I’m pleased with the progress we have made.”
By making back office administration more efficient Hays retail staff will be able to spend more time engaging with customers and making sales, added Hays.
“This level of knowledge about your customer is gold dust. This is not just for big companies, this is for you. All this data is available for you.”