An Interview by Angela Ogg, Contributing Editor for Travel Professional NEWS® Interviewing
Interviewing: Sam McCully, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Avoya Travel
First and foremost, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us regarding the new Avoya Infinity, we are excited to learn more about this exciting new initiative!
What sparked the innovation of Avoya Infinity?
Every day at Avoya Travel® we’re focused on improving the vacation planning and booking experience – Reimagining Vacation Planning™ is in our brand’s DNA. When we do this, we’re delivering on Avoya’s Shared Success™ model and it is a win-win for Independent Vacation Planners in the Avoya Network™, travel customers, and our supplier partners.
Avoya’s commitment to reimagine vacation planning and booking lead to the creation of Avoya Infinity™, which created the framework for the ideal vacation planning and booking journey. We needed to map the customer’s journey and how the Independent Vacation Planner™ in the Avoya Network would be present throughout the entire process.
Avoya has a very unique value proposition of combining powerful online search with the expertise and professionalism of Independent Vacation Planners in the Avoya Network, and providing exclusive offers and values to help customers plan and book better vacations. To highlight Avoya’s value, our customer journey had to account for how consumers shop in today’s technology-driven marketplace as well as placing focus on the important relationship travelers have with Independent Vacation Planners.
Avoya Infinity took shaped as an infinity loop, symbolic of the endless relationships between customers and the Independent Vacation Planner, and boundless in possibility for innovation. Within the Avoya Infinity loop we cite seven critical points we’ve identified in a customer’s planning and booking journey: Dream, Discover, Book, Engage, Connect, Book, Excite, and Enjoy.
Moving forward, Avoya Infinity will power new innovations and capabilities at all seven stages of the customer journey.
Can you go over the process of the Avoya Infinity model?
Avoya Infinity maps the ideal customer vacation planning and booking experience by putting the Independent Vacation Planner at the center.
Avoya’s seven customer journey steps are outlined within an infinity shaped loop. The right side of the loop has the prospecting phases 1 to 3 – Dream, Discover, Engage. It’s during these phases that Avoya’s innovative marketing is reaching and engaging future travelers with messaging about why booking a trip with an Independent Vacation Planner in the Avoya Network is the best option. Most important to the model is the loop’s center and phase 4 – Connect – where Avoya matches a qualified customer lead to an expert Independent Vacation Planner to begin the booking process. On the right side of the Avoya Infinity loop are loyalty phases 5 to 7 – Book, Excite, Enjoy. In these stages, Avoya is supporting Network members with innovative programs that make it easier to develop and grow the customer relationship so that travelers repeat book and refer new clients to their Independent Vacation Planner.
Avoya Infinity is powering Avoya’s delivery of the best vacation planning and booking customer experience. It is already accelerating Avoya’s growth and delivering more, better qualified new customer Live Leads™. Avoya Infinity creates the structure and guide for future innovations and capability at Avoya that will further enhance the customer experience and drive business growth for Avoya and the Independent Vacation Planners in the Avoya Network.
Are there any additional resources that agents in the Avoya network have access to with this new customer journey?
We designed Avoya Infinity to benefit consumers and Independent Vacation Planners in the Avoya Network. Avoya Infinity is a concept and strategy that will ultimately create higher quality prospects and Live Leads for Independent Vacation Planners. Not only does Avoya Infinity power better ways to inform customers of the value modern-day travel professionals offer, it is adding more customer personalization on behalf of the Independent Vacation Planner to help build stronger agent-traveler relationships. The innovative initiatives we’ve already launched have triggered a lot of excitement within the Avoya Network.
For example, Avoya launched the high-impact Vacation Countdown email series to provide a better customer experience as well as to enhance the personal connection to the Independent Vacation Planner. Leveraging automation technology, Avoya is implementing post-booking customer touchpoints that are personalized from the Independent Vacation Planner. Applied in the customer journey loyalty phases of Avoya Infinity, Vacation Countdown is streamlining and making customer relationship management easier for the Avoya Network, while successfully increasing add-on sales such as shore excursions, onboard bookings, repeats, and referrals.
It’s mentioned that there were some added personal touches and enhanced pre-trip experiences when creating Avoya Infinity, can you explain in detail what those are exactly?
Vacation Countdown is a great example of the added personal touches and pre-trip experiences Avoya Infinity is creating. Vacation Countdown is a new automated email series that sends relevant communication to customers at strategic moments between booking and post-vacation. The information helps customers make the most out of their vacation and, because each email highlights the customer’s personal travel expert, it provides a strong connection to the Independent Vacation Planner. Avoya Network members are thrilled at this enhancement to their own customer relationship techniques and the time it saves. Vacation Countdown is triggering an increase in shore excursion take-up rates, more onboard, repeat and referral bookings, and stronger customer loyalty.
Is the Avoya Infinity journey available to all Independent Agents in the Avoya Network?
Avoya Infinity is delivering on our brand promise and reimagining vacation planning for the better. The model itself, and the elements and initiatives it powers, is available companywide and accessible for all in the Avoya Network.
Avoya Network members are excited about the focus Avoya Infinity places on the unique value and expertise that Independent Vacation Planners provide travelers. We are engaging innovative technologies to make connecting with consumers and nurturing a more personalized relationship easier and more efficient for the Avoya Network. Independent Vacation Planners in the Avoya Network are also excited about the higher-quality leads that are being generated as a result of Avoya Infinity and the pioneering programs and initiatives it has activated. For example, Avoya has implemented fresh marketing strategies, messaging and even design to reach new and different customer markets with targeted messaging that resonates with each audience.
There is no doubt that Avoya continues to be on the forefront of technology, can we possibly get an inside scoop of what’s coming up next?
Avoya Travel will continue to be industry leaders in creating the ideal planning and booking experience. To do this, we are looking at future technology enhancements, advanced marketing strategies, and innovative programs that better support the Independent Vacation Planners in the Avoya Network in booking even more new, repeat, and referral clients.
Currently, Avoya is investing in Avoya Infinity and developments within the seven steps of the customer journey that create more meaningful touchpoints and personalized connection between Avoya, consumers, and Independent Vacation Planners in the Avoya Network. Several marketing initiatives are in the pipeline that will reach new customer markets in creative and impactful ways to drive more Live Leads (new client leads) to the Avoya Network.
To further drive our unique value proposition and innovate, Avoya will continue aggressively investing in our brand, our technology and marketing capability, and ultimately in the creating the industry’s best customer experience.
Video Link: https://vimeopro.com/avoyatravel/avoyainfinity