Large travel companies and web-based startups have dramatically increased industry competition in the last 10 years. Individual travel agents are now few and far between. And, thanks to new technology, even group travel companies have felt their impact. Fortunately, the very nature of group travel requires a personal touch. But, overhead costs are always changing in today’s market. So how does a small group travel company compete, especially with shrinking profit margins?
1. Get Efficient
Identify where your true costs are coming from and stop slimming your profit margin wherever possible. Most group travel companies see upwards of 90% of their revenue go towards covering overhead costs like airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, attractions and events. However, many small group travel companies fail to look at internal inefficiencies. How much time does the front office staff spend communicating with clients? How many emails go back and forth about payments or scheduling? How many minutes are spent on the phone? Inefficiencies do not only waste time, but also hold up new business and sales.
2. Rethink Marketing
Stop wasting money on promotional products and campaigns that are not targeted. Unless the promotional campaign offers a significant gift or reward, its value is all but lost. Instead focus on relationships and building a community that is loyal to your brand. Instead of focusing on chasing new business at the expense of delivering service, focus on providing an amazing experience for current clients. Let your current clients be the vocal champions for your brand and services.
3. Get Mobile
Relationships also require a personal touch. So why is the staff spending all day in an office? Put down the keyboard and get mobile. New technology now allows small businesses to operate with a global reach. With a simple web-based system, agents can spend more time in the field selling and serving clients. Only minimal notes and updates are needed when relationships are properly implemented.
4. Consider A Comprehensive Approach
Explore solutions that solve multiple problems within your organization, its operations and your business model. A self-service solution allows users from anywhere in the world to access their account on any device. They can upload trip documents, communicate and engage with your brand 24/7/365. Providing a clean and consistent branded experience converts your clients into fans that sell your brand by word of mouth. Your most loyal clients become your most reliable and biggest supporters.
For brand and organization, efficiency in the business world can mean life or death. When was the last time you considered the hidden costs of providing services as a small group travel company? Use this calculator to see what your current situation is and compare it to how your organization would operate with 50% less work. Be sure to cover time and opportunities lost when you calculate.
*Photo by: Moyan Brenn | Flickr