Features to Consider when Choosing a Tour Operator CRM

September 13, 2021 - 1:6 pm
Features to Consider when Choosing a Tour Operator CRM
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A Tour Operator CRM helps the business maintain and serve its customers better and more efficiently.

Running a tour operating business means you wear many hats. Along with managing daily operations, you might also tackle marketing, inventory, payroll, distribution, and keeping your guides happy.

If you feel a little—or very—overwhelmed, there’s a better way to stay on top of everything. Rather than thinking it all has to be on your shoulders, you can look to various business solutions at hand.

What is a Tour Operator CRM?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – some would say it’s a necessary evil, others would say it’s the key to the strong bonds they’ve built with their customer. Regardless of where you sit on the spectrum, it’s something that all tour operators should be using.

A tour operator needs to manage and meet the demands of their customers on the go. Hence, a CRM lets you coordinate and streamline the entire operations through a single platform.

A tour operator CRM needs to manage different parts of the tour. This includes ticket booking management, travel coordination, accommodation, daily plan management, etc. Instead of individually managing these tasks on a different basis, the CRM software lets you combine these different tasks on a single platform. It can oversee the entire pipeline of different activities and allows you to generate the maximum number of bookings. 

What features should you look for in a CRM?

CRM software is quite complex and you’ll have to sift through benefits and features thoroughly for the best match. Whether you’re already using a CRM in your business, planning to switch to a new solution, or thinking about dipping your toes in for the first time, here’s a rundown of some of the important features you should be looking for.

1. An interface that works for you

A lot of CRM sell their interface or user experience as their point of difference in the market. An interface is not only about how striking a software is aesthetically, but it’s also about how you find using it. There’s no cookie-cutter approach to what a good CRM looks like. It’s entirely up to you, your team, and the results you expect to get from your CRM.

Take any CRM you’re interested in for a test drive before purchasing. If they don’t have a free trial option on their website, get in touch with the company directly and ask to try it out yourself.

It’s also important to remember that powerful, feature-heavy software typically have a learning curve – intuition can only take us so far when we’re starting with a new tool. Getting one-on-one training with your new CRM is a huge bonus when starting out but unfortunately not always included. So check if the implementation team of the software company works directly with their client to ensure a smooth set-up.

2. Configurability

CRMs are more than just a contact list. Each client or supplier you store in your CRM has their own ‘profile’ or ‘contact card’ where you should be able to store information about your contacts.

Being able to configure the fields at the setup level is crucial – you know better than anyone how much things vary from business to business in the travel space. Being able to collect and store important information specific to your business is a must-have for any tour operator CRM. For example, you may need to store your client’s visa information, allergies, or special requests. A good tour operator CRM should allow you to customise the field options for customers, suppliers, and agents.

This granular level of configurability can be the difference between feeling like your CRM is a useful tool or an inconvenience that doesn’t add value to you and your team.

3. Integration with your back office software

Nobody enjoys double handling data. And when it comes to the travel industry, the time saved not doing this can be the difference between winning that new client or losing them to a faster competitor.

Ensuring that your CRM integrates with your back office software saves you a bunch of time and eliminates the chance of costly handling errors. An import/export functionality, meaning users can easily pull data from their CRM and upload it into other business systems without the need to double handle it, is a good feature to look out for.

4. Manage sales tasks and sells faster

A good CRM solution manages your sales team and eventually leads to an increase. In addition to that, it generates accurate reports to measure efficiency and ensures they are kept up to date. This helps you to keep on top of your sales pipeline.

You can also automate sales tasks as well as assign reminders so the sales process is smooth and efficient, such as email exchanges and booking requests. This lets your sales team focus on bringing in just more business.

A Tour Operator CRM automate sales tasks, letting your sales team focus on bringing in just more business. Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash.

5. Easy reporting

Retiring your filing cabinet isn’t the only advantage of using a digital CRM. Storing all of your clients and their associated information in one platform means you get insights in the form of automated reports. When selecting a CRM for your tour operator business, looking into the reporting functionality is a must.

Not only do reports give you insight, but they’re also a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to providing key stakeholders in your business with information on an ongoing basis.

Look for a CRM software that makes it easy to generate reports; is fast; and has a good, relevant library of standardized reports. When report season finally rolls around, you’ll be glad you opted for software that doesn’t make it difficult to get the information you need when you need it.

6. Know your guests

Know your guest more through a Tour Operator CRM. Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash.

Every booking tells you something about your customer. Any information you collect—address, age, diet preferences, referrals—offers a glimpse into your average guest. But with CRM for tour operators, you can find out so much more. Once a customer makes a booking with you, they are automatically saved in the tour operator CRM so you can reference their information whenever you need it.

By collecting and storing customer data, you can visualize their interactions with your tour company across platforms—including email, your website, social media, and more. Then, you can use that information to personalise their customer journey, from discovery to booking.

Also, as you build your relationships with your customers, you can keep track of bookings made by existing customers, add notes to existing customer records, and export your customer data for other purposes. You can find your customers quickly and access valuable customer information no matter where you are or what device you are using.

7. Track all customer communications

Add and update customer information from web bookings, point of sale, and website requests. As customers update their information in new bookings, the tour operator CRM updates the information for you.

8. All documents in one place

A good tour operator CRM helps remove clutter from your desktop and have all important documents saved exactly where they should be. Avoid situations of mixing up tickets or deep searching passports and ensure a headache-free workflow.

9. Awesome campaigns

With the integrations of your Tour Operator CRM, you can create awesome email and social media campaigns to market your popular destinations, monitor results, and take actions.

Create social media campaigns to market your destinations. Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash.

Manage your marketing and communication strategy within the system. Set up campaigns, set targeted keywords for SEO, and automate your Google Ads, Facebook, and LinkedIn campaigns. Stay constantly updated about your marketing results (leads, campaigns planned and ongoing, attractive keywords) by receiving an automatic report that gathers all the key metrics we are looking for.

10. Get paid faster

Choose a Tour Operator CRM that gives you a better overview of your financial statements. Get up to date on overdue payments, ongoing deposits, and payments received. Set up automation rules for your suppliers’ invoices, set reminders, and be on top of your financial flow. Create a long and loyal relationship with your suppliers and clients as well as succeed with technology.

11. [Digital] central office

Work closely with your team, make their life easier and your customers happy. Inform suppliers of accommodation and activities of your clients’ special requirements. Keep your clients on track with flight time departures as well as weather conditions. 

12. Faster enquiry management

Increase the speed of your enquiry management as the Tour Operator CRM can also help in lead qualification and lead scoring while ensuring that you never lose any of the leads from websites, booking engines, calls, emails, billboards, print media, social media, and travel expos. It lets you actively track all of your enquiries and monitor them through each stage of the sales funnel till it gets converted. This provides you with valuable insights that will help in improving the productivity of your workforce.

Give your sub-offices access to enquiries meant for them only, while you get a macro view of enquiries within each of your sub-offices. Auto-assign tasks to the concerned team and knows the real-time status of your enquiries. Viewing all enquiries categorized as per branch in real-time through a unified dashboard is a slick perk.

13. Generate quotes in seconds

You can create a variety of awesome Quote Templates using a Tour Operator CRM. These quotes can then be instantly sent to your customers via email from within the CRM itself.

14. Create and send itineraries from the CRM

No more words, Powerpoints, PDFs, and waiting for mail attachments. Create and send good-looking itineraries within minutes directly from the CRM. A basic form-filling feature that lets you add travel info through few dropdowns is all you need to create detailed travel itineraries in your brand template within minutes. Also lets you have some preset standard itineraries ready to be delivered to your customer with just a send button.

15. Seamless integrations

A powerful Tour Operator CRM has seamless integration with all travel partner sites, telephony, chat, accounting, and reservation management systems. Leads are consolidated from multiple channels and stored in on unified inbox. This way, you can always keep track of the incoming leads and assign agents to attend the leads.

Ease the workload of your travel agents by automating repetitive tasks and by giving them access to relevant customer information that they can use to improve customer relations. A CRM software helps in sending custom itineraries directly from the CRM, improves efficiency, converts queries to leads, makes your team of travel agents more productive, and saves a lot of time and resources.

Photo by Jacqueline Munguía on Unsplash.

A Tour Operator CRM is essential for anyone who wants to dip their toes in the travel industry. It helps the business maintain and serve its customers better. Needless to say, the Tour Operator CRM should deliver outstanding value with an astounding array of features for a fraction of the cost of any comparable industry system.

Featured image: Headway on Unsplash

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