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Travel firms to connect more meaningfully

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Several South African travel companies will kick off 2018 with a new focus on nurturing customer relationships with the adoption of a cloud-based, fully integrated travel management system that has been designed specifically for travel agents and tour operators.
Club Travel and Sure Giltedge Travel are among those companies rolling out Travelyst in early 2018 — an initiative, which Club Travel founder and MD Wally Gaynor believes will foster a win-win relationship with the customer.
“Customer relationships are key,” Gaynor says. “The reality is a customer can research and book online, but if someone they trust can offer options they haven’t thought of and products they don’t know exist, but suit their specific needs and wants, plus saves them money, you’re on to a win-win relationship.”
Travelyst is designed to manage the complete business process of a tour operator or travel agent, from initial client contact, through to sales. “We have incorporated a tightly integrated customer relationship management (CRM) module especially for the travel industry,” says Craig Byren, MD of ViaData, a Cape Town-based IT firm which develops custom business systems, including Travelyst.
“Travelyst fills a large gap in the travel management and tour operator market as travel solutions in use in South Africa don’t typically focus on CRM functionality. Generic CRM solutions also don’t have enough travel-specific functionality to support integration into itinerary building and constantly evolving quotation and consulting processes.”
Travel companies can use this fully-integrated travel management system to track all leads from enquiry to travelled, and record the entire conversation between the consultant and traveller.
“The ability to manage incoming enquiries, allocate to sales consultants, client interactions, itinerary building, booking confirmations, documentation, payment tracking and reporting are all built into Travelyst.
“We also streamline and automate many of the everyday processes and tasks required to run your business effectively, managing the entire end-to-end life cycle of every travel enquiry that comes into your business,” says Byren.
“Our leisure business makes up around 40% of what we do, so we feel that it’s vital to keep a good database of our clients and where they travel to, as well as to provide a more uniform quote. This is a challenge, as we have locations all over the city and we can’t scan every mail that goes out. We need to keep it professional and true to our brand,” explains Trish Lombard, GM of Giltedge International Retail Travel Division.
“This system will make us more efficient and produce a very professional quote that looks the same, whether the client we are dealing with is in Fish Hoek, Paarl, Tokai, Century City or Mossel Bay.”
For its part, Club Travel aims to enhance its end-to-end processes, from tracking and managing the initial query, to all the correspondence in between, the quoting and itinerary management, explains Gaynor.
“We really feel that Travelyst is much more than a CRM. With its travel-specific process flows, it bridges the gap with the whole booking and itinerary management process.”
“Travelyst will help us create and maintain an accurate and working client database and provide a reliable and efficient quoting system. It’s one of the most workable products I have seen on the market and it’s financial viable,” adds Lucinda Taylor, Club Travel product