Fifteen PEAK 15 principles to live by that we’ve found over the years:
Understand profitability intimately
Taking the time to build a detailed budget for each trip is critical. Even more important, though, is having a mechanism to easily compare actual vs. budgeted amounts.
One of our users once told us, “this business is all about the exception.” How true. Your organization should embrace the exception because every customer, every booking is truly different.
Enter information once
How many times is someone in your organization re-entering information into one system that already exists in another? Cutting down on double entry not only saves time, but it also reduces errors. Accounting is especially prone to the data re-entry problem.
Share information freely
A travel company should not operate like the CIA, except perhaps when it comes to highly sensitive information like credit card data. Only restrict people from seeing information if there is clear reason why they should not see it. When people have access to information, they make better decisions.
Create checks and balances
Not only should you distribute information freely in your organization, but also power. However, create a system of checks and balances that ensures consistency and accuracy.
Reward profit making behavior
Once profitability is understood throughout the organization, it presents a golden opportunity to provide people with incentives to make decisions that take advantage of that information.
Know your customers
The more you know about your customers, the more you can understand what they want, why they want it and who else might want it too.
Personalize your communications & offerings
By personalizing your communications you create a stronger relationship with your clients. By personalizing your offerings, by for example, offering FITs, you become a market of one.
Just because you personalized an itinerary for one client, doesn’t mean you can’t reuse that FIT for someone who wants the same or a very similar trip.
Garbage in, garbage out
Your customer data is your greatest asset. Don’t pollute that asset by not taking the time to make sure contact records are not duplicated or complete information is provided. This will only create a massive clean up effort later on.
Information is power
When it comes to negotiating rates and payment terms with your vendors, come to the table with a wealth of data about how much business you do with them, what your clients think of their offering and what types of terms other vendors are offering you.
Target your marketing
By segmenting your market you can target your marketing communications rather than blasting the same message or mailing to your whole database.
When you make a reservation with a vendor for space, you may be gambling on how many bookings you will ultimately end up with on a given departure. Manage that exposure by keeping a close eye on bookings as well as critical decision points such as cancellation deadlines.
Because travel is often purchased well ahead of its consumption, you’ve got long accounts receivable cycles to deal with. Make chasing A/R everyone’s job, not just accounting.
Analyze marketing ROI
Return on investment analysis requires that you first capture which of your marketing activities was responsible for some action on your clients part. And yes, this is sometimes a hard thing to track. Make sure everyone understands the importance of tracking sources of new leads to the organization.