Importance of multi-channelling in tour operating

Today one of the toughest challenges in CRM is multichannel management, including managing such complex and dynamic channels as social media and the internet. Why is it so important for tour operators to use the multichannel management? (Peelen & Beltman, 2013)

What is multichannel management? Multi-channelling refers to the practice by which companies interact with customers via multiple channels, both direct and indirect, in order to sell them goods and services. Companies use direct channels, or ones in which the company proactively reaches the customer (direct email, catalogues) or indirect ones in which they push content via websites or social media. (Rouse, n.d.)

Multi-channelling is important for a various reason but this is the most important one: as a company you need to be where your customers are. Customers are on each and every channel, according to SAS (n.d.) multichannel consumers spend three or four times more than a single channel consumer. (SAS, n.d.)

So why is it so important for tour operators to implement multi-channelling for their customer relationship management? According to Peelen and Beltman (2013), multichannel management is one of the areas within Customer Relationship Management that is attracting a lot of attention and is rapidly developing. Owing to innovations in the channel environment. Customers are offered travel insurance which they can accept and pay for using their mobile phone just as they arrive abroad. It could be useful to have agents in the contact centre browse a website in real time alongside the customer, or change the role of the store from a point of sales to an experience hub for the brand. (Peelen & Beltman, 2013)

According to Payne and Frow (2004) the multichannel integration process has a critical role to play in Customer Relationship Management as it takes the outputs of the business strategy and value-creation processes of a tour operator and translates them into value adding interactions with customers. It involves making decisions about the most appropriate combination of channel participants and channel options through which to interact with the customers of the company and how to ensure the customer experiences highly positive interactions within those channels. The customer experience is a very important role within the multichannel strategies for tour operators. (Payne & Frow, 2004)

To conclude; Multichannel management increases the customer experience and the customer – supplier relationship of a tour operator. Customer experience is one of the most powerful competitive differentiators. While the quality of the customer experience is important, consistency is equally important. That’s because the customers experience of the tour operator brand as a whole, whether their interactions with the company are online, in a store, over the phone, or some combination of these. (SAS, n.d.)

References

Payne, A., & Frow, P. (2004). The role of multichannel integration in customer relationship management. Cranfield: Cranfield University.

Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management. Pearson Education Limited.

Rouse, M. (n.d.). What is Multichannel Marketing? Retrieved from TechTarget: http://searchsalesforce.techtarget.com/definition/multichannel-marketing

SAS. (n.d.). Multichannel Marketing, what it is and why it matters. Retrieved from SAS : http://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/marketing/multichannel-marketing.html

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