Chicks That Trip – The best way to know my clients | TravelResearchOnline

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Chicks That Trip – The best way to know my clients

I consider myself a relatively organized person; especially compared to most people I know, so it is with much chagrin that I am writing this particular piece regarding CRMs—or Customer Relationship Managers. Over the past year I have been vacillating between a couple of CRM programs; now, before I tell you which ones, I would like to say that I am one who does not typically deliberate for over a year about anything. While I am not a kneejerk reactionary person, I do like to make decisions and move on. So, this situation has caused me a great amount of stress for a couple of reasons because, a)  I don’t want to select the wrong program and feel “stuck” with it; and b) I would prefer not to pay for a program that isn’t going to be able to provide me with at least a majority of my needs.

Over the course of this past year, I have talked to countless people about their CRM, and if there are any pitfalls I need to be aware of in making my final decision. I am glad to say that most of those I spoke with, indicated that the selection of a CRM was difficult for them too; however, once they selected the one that best fit their needs, they have been on cruise control ever since. I also troll through a couple of the home-based travel agent boards to get a sense on what others are utilizing, as well as really soaking up as much information that I can when I attend the technology portion of the trade shows throughout the year.

I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the past year in my quest, is that a CRM can be one of the most critical parts of your business. Without one, you are in some ways floundering, and possibly not reaching potential clients. Utilization of a CRM is not only a landing place for all of your current, and (hopefully) future clients’ information; but, it’s also a place where the vast majority of marketing information and preferences are stored.  In my opinion, if you are not utilizing a CRM, you are at a competitive disadvantage.

There were two major points that crept to the surface while I investigated:

  • Try not to make cost the overarching reason for your selection
  • Make sure you select a program(s) that will be able to grow with your business

It can be confusing to a newcomer, or even a veteran in this field, because we are constantly facing changes and demands on our time and attention, and there are always new items on the market that make big promises, yet, most fail to deliver.

With all of that being said, I believe for my needs that ClientBase or ClientEase are the two CRMs that appear to be most aligned with my needs as a business, and they are also travel centric programs tailored specifically for the travel community. While I know there are those who are able to successfully integrate multiple types of “cloud” technology to meet their needs; I prefer to keep things as simple as possible.  The more places I have to go to access my information, the larger the likelihood that I will miss something, and in this business you can ill afford to miss anything. Wish me luck!

Do you use a CRM? Which ones? How do you track all of your client interaction. Let me know the pros-and cons in a comment!

Chanté Owens is co-owner of Chicks That Trip, and is an independent affiliate of Incentive Connection Travel. Chicks That Trip specializes  in group travel, culinary & wine experiences, and major sporting event packages to the UK, France, Italy, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and select Southern Caribbean Islands. She can be reached at chante@chicksthattrip.com. You can also visit her website at www.chicksthattrip.com and her blog penned under the name, That Chick Té at http://chicksthattrip-lobbybarconfessions.blogspot.com/

  3 thoughts on “Chicks That Trip – The best way to know my clients

  1. Geoff Millar says:

    We use Clientease. As far as functionality, they are about equal. I like Clientease because I don’t have to have it housed on my computer. It is Internet based and they have back-up systems in place. What that means to me is that I can access Clientease from any computer, regardless of where I am. Also If I have a mojor problem and my computer crashes I don’t lose everythig. Also if I get a virus on my computer I don’t spread it to my client base through emails I send them. Just my 2 cents.

    I think I heard that Clientbase has an online version also but have not seen it. I recommend whichever you select I would select the on-line version.

    I like the support from Clientease, very personal with Darla and they listen to your suggestions.

  2. Chanté says:

    I agree Geoff, I plan on getting the on-line version, and I had the same concerns around viruses and security as well!

  3. I am also looking to integrate into a CRM, mostly because everyone says I need one. I want one that will do marketing automatically for me and allow me to import the supplier confirmations for personalization with my agency information.

    I have managed my marketing for 11 years very successfully through my yahoo by setting up groups that allow me to easily send out batches of marketing messages. But I have now maxed out the 5000 database so have to find a new solution. Also, during their upgrades last year, they totally erased my categories so I don’t want to have to reset those up in yahoo if I am going to start using a CRM. Fortunately, I do have a backup csv file that was done shortly prior to their upgrade.

    I have managed my quotes and sales goals in a complex excell spreadsheet so I know where my sales come from and how I am meeting my goals. I am not certain that I will be giving that up any time soon, I will have to learn more about what a CRM can provide.

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