Increasing Travel Agency Sales
RAA Private Client Travel
RAA Increases Travel Agency Sales
Earlier this year I conducted an webinar on travel for a number of international motoring clubs. An article summarising the content was created and published in an internal magazine. What follows is the summary and interview about how I have driven travel sales throughout my organisation.
Integrating travel agents into a retail shop environment, upgrading and modernizing shops, adding a Web site to increase travel sales as well as increasing the number of travel consultants and sites and other improvements prompted by a member survey have increased sales and profit margins at the Royal Automobile Association (RAA).
Since 2008 RAA Travel turnover has increased 12%. Yields increased from 10% to 11.5% during the same period, Senior Manager Retail Distribution Michael Kromwyk told some 20 worldwide automobile club executives during a recent Global Mobility Alliance Webinar.
RAA Travel went from one somewhat outdated site with 14 travel consultants in Adelaide to six strategically located modern sites and 16 travel consultants. The group also added a premium service private client travel group.
Another key improvement was addition of a Web site, resulting in some $150,000 in monthly sales. RAA Travel also added a contact center to handle calls previously fielded by travel consultants. Prior to changes, the mix was 50% road and 50% travel agency, now the mix is 60% travel agency and 40% road.
RAA was not taking advantage of its “competitive advantage … travel wasn’t focused on the RAA’s vision and mission,” he says. And there was “low awareness of RAA Travel as a travel agency.” Plus it was difficult for members to get to only one location in Adelaide.
Changes were phased in after a member survey revealed members placed “high value” on traditional RAA Travel products such as maps, accommodations and touring related offers and discounts.
He says travel wasn’t adhering to RAA’s philosophy of providing members a channel of choice to do business, there was no Web offering, facilities were “tired” and travel needed new modern offices because members told the RAA they valued “premium quality service.”
RAA Travel had been around for 50 years, mostly as a separate business. So the change process used was an “evolution not a revolution.” Travel is a relationship business and the club didn’t want to “lose top performers to other agencies.” In addition, members told RAA they appreciated the “personal touch” they were used to when dealing with the RAA.
Instead of offering the same or similar products as other agents, RAA Travel now offers “unique products sold only by automobile clubs,” he says. “RAA Travel is now integrated with and adheres to the same principles and vision as the RAA.”