Tailored CRM Strategies

Jul 3, 2018

The travel industry is primed for change as a result of changing consumer needs and this fundamental change in the customer landscape has opened up a wide variety of opportunities for businesses to capitalise on.

One of the avenues into this upended customer landscape, is that of a refined CRM strategy, a leading edge ancillary tool which CarTrawler offers to its worldwide partners. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is an indispensable tool which businesses can deploy to enhance their relationship with customers. The implementation of a strategic CRM initiative is also an innovative way of ensuring that companies are kept at the forefront of customers’ minds throughout their journey. It ensures, by utilising tailored notifications and email prompts, that customers are brought back into a company’s original purchasing funnel.

At CarTrawler’s annual Summer Conference at the K Club, CarTrawler’s Niall O’Toole and Rob White, Commercial Director and Director of Business Development respectively, highlighted how CRM can successfully target a wide variety of customer segments within both the active and latent customer audiences, and touched on how CarTrawler can help businesses capitalise on the insights provided.

Keeping customers within that original purchasing funnel

Companies have to be poised to capitalise on opportunities that arise as a result of the emergence of the digitally-connected traveller. If companies fail to deploy the correct CRM strategy they risk missing out, but by working with CarTrawler, our current partners, airlines and OTA’s are in the optimal position to connect the dots. Once flights are booked, consumers generally think of car rental and hotels as secondary in importance. In a post-purchase world therefore, it is crucial that consumers are kept within that original funnel where they initially purchased their flight. In this manner, customers are maximising their wallet spend within your organisation.

Niall highlighted how CRM is the ultimate tool for shepherding consumers, encouraging them to stay within the original purchasing funnel. The success of this is important in the short term, as further ancillary activity within the funnel generates greater ancillary revenue, but even more relevant in the long term as these behavioural data sets serve as platforms from which to launch future tailored campaigns.

Targeted emails communicate with current customers and unlock hidden customers

CRM is without a doubt one of the most cost effective and easy to implement solutions which airlines and OTA’s can utilise as a communication platform for consistent customer engagement. Targeted email campaigns touch on various customer segments. The most obvious and most pressing is that of the active customer, that is customers who are due to travel, currently have the majority of their journey booked and are susceptible to marketing plugs from CRM campaigns.

The other, more intriguing audience is that of customers who have travelled in the past and can still be targeted to avail of 3rd party ancillary products such as ground transportation and car hire. These are seperate, bespoke messages that can be readily implemented into the CRM strategy of partners. This retargeting of previous customers in a partners’ database ensures that customers are brought back into a partners’ funnel in order to purchase an additional ancillary product. Previous customers are given a second lease of life, as the opportunity to sell additional products is created as a result of targeted CRM activity.

This CRM toolkit commands everything from CarTrawler and virtually nothing from the partner in terms of resources

Niall and Rob work together on CarTrawler’s Commercial team and are well-adept at implementing specialised, partner-specific marketing campaign strategies. CarTrawler has reduced the time for implementation significantly, with virtually no heavy lifting on the partner side. ‘Our CRM toolkit commands everything from CarTrawler and virtually nothing from the partner in terms of resources.’ Niall and Rob emphasised how the data is already there, it is merely a case of digging into these data sets and using them to deploy relevant CRM strategies. Refined reporting strategies are a given with CRM enhancement and in turn generate more intelligent insights that can then be fed back into the CRM process. They spoke of how CarTrawler is in a perfect position to garner highly insightful data and use this to fuel targeted CRM activity that can keep customers within an airline or OTA’s purchasing funnel.

1 in 5 bookings originate from engagement in CRM activity

Beyond the low level of commitment on the partner side, the resulting incremental volumes achieved are second to none. Any partner who has used CRM in conjunction with CarTrawler’s car rental and ground transportation catalogue have seen weekly uplifts and increases in booking volume and growth. ‘This is not a long-term ROI– you’ll see direct uplifts almost instantly. Examples from partners who have embraced this strategy are testament to this.’ CarTrawler have rolled this out for a number of partners and their trial and testing method is bearing the fruits of these efforts with 1 in 5 bookings originating from engagement in CRM activity.

Relationship Management is a key staple of CarTrawler’s offering and this trait becomes even more crucial, given the historically infrequent communication that has characterised the air travel paradigm for a large number of passengers. The average European consumer purchases 1.5 flights per year, leading to very little in terms of communication opportunities. When there is a low frequency of customers experiencing what you offer, you must find other ways to engage them in the interim between purchases. The growth of ancillary products has opened up a window of opportunity to augment the historically restricted relationships between consumers and travel companies. CRM enhances this relationship, by pushing out tailored, relevant communication. CRM draws on the various consumer segments to unlock hidden customers, brand loyalty and repeat purchases. Niall emphasised the importance at knowing when to intercept correctly at the right points in a customer journey and spoke of how ‘that’s what will deliver loyalty.’

Tangible Results

Rob White delved into the tangible returns of targeted CRM campaigns, outlining how they are one of the largest growth opportunities for CarTrawler’s partners. CarTrawler’s wide range of supplier relationships allows them to engage in high-discount sales of up to 50% over 14 times per year. Rob demonstrated how this could be applied in practice with the example of a successful CRM strategy for a European airline which benefited greatly from a bespoke CRM solution to augment booking volumes. Volumes rose by an unprecedented 53% when CRM was utilised to seek out greater customer engagement and in turn, higher booking volumes. Notifications are increasingly being used to notify consumers of these sales and engagement from these push notifications is phenomenal.