Technology has enabled us to reach out to customers in ways we never could before. We have detailed reports covering what individual customers do, how they interact with our companies (over multiple channels), and if they're on our Web site at this very moment (and if so, what they're looking at). Yet our CRM strategies haven't evolved along with the technology. With great technological power comes an even greater customer contact strategy responsibility.

Travelocity is pursuing a good customer contact strategy. Like branders.com, it also has technology that enables it to know when users log on to its site, when they store itineraries, and (obviously) when they book trips. As a constant traveler, I've seen many of its e-mail campaigns and I'm impressed with them. Travelocity has a terrific browsing-based e-mail marketing strategy.

If I save an itinerary but don't yet book it, it sends information about the location I looked at. It doesn't offer special deals. It just tells me what relevant deals it currently has. This is good because if it offered special discounts, it'd be training users to wait for deals before they book. (This is why "Abandoned Cart" discounts are bad for business in the long term.)

Once a trip is booked, Travelocity sends more location information. Instead of travel deals (it's already booked), it sends "around the town" information with coupons to local events, restaurant listing, and other things I can do while there. This helps the company increase share of wallet among its customers and is a great outreach to communities that are more than happy to get ancillary business through it. It also helps position Travelocity as a trusted advisor, using education and knowledge as CRM tools.

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