Luxury Escapes is Australia’s fastest growing travel business, having won over more than 2 million customers and reached $200 million in annual revenue in just four years. How? By putting customers first, every step of the way.
In our digitally-charged, always-on and increasingly transparent world, if you’re not thinking about the customer in every business decision you make, then you’re going to get left behind.
At Luxury Escapes, the single most important thing we do on a daily basis is think about our customers, and intrinsically understand their wants and needs. This customer-centricity is at the core of Luxury Escapes, flowing through every aspect of our business, from sales to supply to content to marketing. It has narrowed our focus – to providing just what our customers want, and providing very well.
This is undeniably a critical factor in our success and growth so far, and has seen us top AFR’s Fast Starters list for 2016-17, announced just last week.
The travel sector is a fiercely fought battle. A relative newcomer to the industry, Luxury Escapes has found its niche with a business model that provides the best deals, on the best hotels and tours, in the best locations. This could be a five-star stay in Dubai’s most opulent beachfront hotel or a six-day cycling tour of Tuscany staying in luxury castles.
Most travel agencies sell a bed, in a room, in a hotel, whereas we’re selling a pampered experience. This means we’re hand-picking our hotel and tour partners, we’re working with them to layer in value-added inclusions – like spa treatments and fine dining experiences – and we’re ensuring the package price is great value for money.
Our customers are a growing breed of traveller that wants to be treated like a VIP, but without the pricetag – they’re both quality and value conscious. Creating this desired VIP experience – from start to finish – is critical to our value proposition.
To follow through on this promise of luxury, a lot of work, rigour and due diligence goes into each Luxury Escapes deal. Which, at the moment, means we only have around 25 offers running at any one time.
This attention to detail even stretches to the content supporting each deal. Most travel retailers aggregate their product content, whereas we create it from scratch, even shooting video content on location. To befit our brand, each deal needs to speak directly to the customer, with an element of storytelling that brings to life the selling points that we know are of value to our customers – based on the daily intelligence gathering we do.
When your customers’ average cart size is close to $2000, you need to be able to engage them in a human and personalised way. Technology gives us the customer insights and capability to achieve this.
Through technology, we’re able to learn our customers’ preferences, behaviour and travel patterns, and tailor travel packages accordingly. We’re able to feed this real time business intelligence into enhancing the customer experience, but also back to vendors, improving our partner relationships too.
To provide a true VIP experience, it’s critical we can drill down to individual customer level. We’re able to identify things like annual spend, but also when a customer has returned from holiday. This data is passed directly from our ecommerce software to our CRM, and the outbound sales team then has the action of welcoming that customer back home. During this conversation, the team member is also able to gather further insight that’s fed back into improving our travel experiences.
Shopping cart abandonment is another area we give due attention to, with this data pushed from our ecommerce software to our CRM. A task is then automatically set for an outbound sales team member to follow up with the customer and have an informed conversation around that online activity.
It’s very basic, but even knowing what marketing channels our customers are engaging with is pertinent to the success of our business and customer-centricity goals.
Up until recently, most of Luxury Escapes’ marketing efforts centred around print and digital, connecting with customers via our website, app, email or social channels. We’ve had a great deal of success in a digital environment, with 20% of our bookings regularly coming through via mobile, which is unusual in high-value transactions (30% of sales are via phone).
But, as our business grows, we’re evolving that channel mix, endeavoring to get closer to our growing community of customer advocates who genuinely love the brand, but also introduce Luxury Escapes to new customers. Most recently, we’ve added traditional face-to-face town halls held around Australia to the mix. These enable us to offer an edu-tainment experience to our customers and prospects.
Making the customer experience even better is always top-of-mind for us. We fundamentally believe that if you do well by the customer, you'll end up doing well in business – I think people forget that sometimes.
Inspired by Blake’s story? Read about other Salesforce Trailblazers and find out how to start blazing your own trail of customer-centricity.