Most travel firms see CRM as essential as the internet to their success, but they have some significant hurdles to overcome first.
According to a KPMG report, four out of five travel firms see CRM as key to the success of their business. Most companies agree that, in the current economic climate, customer retention and more strategically focused customer acquisition are essential. CRM now joins the internet as one of the leading priorities for the industry.
However, most companies believe that CRM will not be a 'quick fix' and expect to wait up to two years before they see significant gains.
There are practical difficulties: while about half of the companies surveyed agree that they need to consolidate the information that they have on their customers, the data is currently held in a variety of disparate systems and formats, supplemented by vast amounts of paper records. And, while companies realise that their margins are diminishing rapidly, and that customer retention is becoming ever more important, they are still not paying enough attention to customer service within their CRM programmes. Of those using CRM, customer service accounts for an average of less than 20% of their CRM budget.
KPMG commissioned 'CRM and the Global Travel Industry' for World Travel Market, November 2001. It was compiled from a cross section of travel and leisure companies in the US, Europe, and the UK. Companies ranged from retail travel agencies, online internet travel services, inbound tour operators, business travel agencies, incentive tour operators, to eco tourism/adventure companies.