President & CEO
As a home-based travel agent, you wear many hats as you strive to know all of the travel suppliers with whom you work and the products they sell, understand the world’s geography and political climate, and use your expertise to match your clients’ wants and needs with the right vacation experience. All of this cuts into the precious time to run your business as the owner and travel entrepreneur that you wish to be.
Staying organized and understanding your business at a quick glance can be the difference between a business remaining status quo and a business reaching the next level of success. One differentiator is having the ability to create data driven sales tactics and strategies. Technology today offers a variety of solutions to compile information and several companies offer travel agent specific solutions, mainly in the form of a Dashboard. But what exactly is a Dashboard and what information should it contain. In searching Google for the definition of “Dashboard” (it does seem we Google everything these days), the website SearchCIO relates the following:
1) …a user interface that, somewhat resembling an automobile’s dashboard, organizes and presents information in a way that is easy to read…and
2) …products that aim to integrate information from multiple components into a unified display…
Megan Wilcock, VP of Business Development for Sweetspot, comments in her April 23, 2015 Blog that “the ideal dashboard is relevant, meaningful and intelligible…and [used] to incite action.” So, what information do you want to integrate and how would you like the information displayed to make it “relevant, meaningful, intelligible and actionable?
Just like you spend time with your clients to understand their vacation experience wants and needs, you will want to spend time to define your business needs on a day-to-day, month-to-month, and on an annual basis, and seek a dashboard solution that best fits.
As you begin, here are some thoughts you might want to consider:
1) What format do you want to view your information? Is it easier for you to look at information in a graphical format in real time or do you prefer to view your information in more of a snapshot spreadsheet format?
Each of us works and assimilates information differently and the ability to configure business information to match your needs is important as you strive to drive the efficiencies needed to operate your business. (delete this: you’d be surprised how many agents don’t have a desire to grow or make profits—so lets don’t assume they do)
1) What is your business model now and where do you want it to be in the future? Do you have other agents working with you and you need to track their sales as well as your own, or do you have plans in the future to add additional agents and need the flexibility to be able to track their sales at that time as well?
Each of these business models calls for different tracking ability and, if you plan to grow, you will want something that is flexible enough to grow with your business. If you currently have, or plan to have additional agents, you will want the ability to track each agent’s business separately, as well as combined for a single report at your agency level. You want the ability to understand what you and your agents are selling and does that align with your preferred supplier directive or goals?
1) What information do you want at your fingertips to enhance your relationship with your clients, your suppliers and to make optimal financial decisions?
The ability to action daily tasks such as clients departing/returning and payments due in a single click saves you time and develops a deeper relationship with your clients as you can contact them to wish them “bon voyage” or “welcome home.” Access to information consolidated to highlight payments due alleviates the possibility of final payments missed and cancellation of cruise cabins or vacation plans.
Identifying your sales with each of your suppliers helps you establish a deeper relationship with that supplier and your local BDM, or if you currently do not have a relationship, provides you the tools to foster one. Arming yourself and your business with information is the best way to enhance your reputation and gain access to supplier co-op, fam trips or special recognition.
If you have goals that were set either by you personally or by the supplier, the ability to quickly identify at a glance where your sales are to goal is paramount and the ability to focus on directional selling will maximize revenue opportunities. Finally, the ability track sales by destination and trip type provides you a deeper understanding of what’s being sold, by whom and to where, and do those sales align with what you expected or projected.
Having a system to automatically compile this information provides more time to enhance your relationship with your clients, close more prospects, and provide you time to travel to new and exciting places.
Xcelerator by Trisept Solutions is a modern travel technology that seamlessly integrates almost every function you need to service your clients and run your business on one secure platform. One of its best features is a highly customizable dashboard that includes:
• Flexibility and ease to view sales trends in either a graphical or a grid configuration – whatever format works best for you.
• Integration of your sales information, by agent and agency, to gain a better understanding of your business.
• Visibility of clients departing and returning today, this week, and next, to maximize your client engagement opportunities quickly and easily, including immediate access to client contact information
• Ability to track payments due today, this week and next, reducing the possibility of missing a final payment and system cancelled bookings
• Quick and easy charts that show sales by destination and trip type.
• Coming in the summer of 2016: Visually track preferred supplier sales to goals. This new feature will expand your opportunities for higher commissions, fam trips, supplier co-op and special recognition. Ready to take control of your business, enhance your client relationships and interactions, and impact your revenues?
Visit http://xcelerator.triseptsolutions.com to learn more. http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/dashboard http://www.sweetspotintelligence.com/en/2015/04/23/5-questions-asking-creating-dashboard