SMOOTH SAILING by ProQuest

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There are sea cruises, and then there are sea cruises. Travel Dynamics International (TDI) specializes in the latter. New York-based provider of luxury travel has been operating since 1969, booking small-ship expeditions to historical sites and combining opulence with education and cultural exposure. TDI's reputation is built on delighting members of an elite niche. Repeat charters are a must, so expert handling of customer relationships is key. The IIS team suggested that TDI might do better with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but TDI's manager of technology and special projects Nikos Papagapitos had done some initial research and was hesitant, especially after a disappointing first demo. That all changed after a second viewing, this time at the hands of Matt Bogan, a senior project manager at IIS.

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									SMOOTH SAILING                                                                              we had one integrated database for
                                                                                            everything,” Papagapitos says. “With
                                                                                            Astro, we had no way of tracking loyalty
Travel Dynamics International finds that adding a real CRM system                           and its revenue effect, whether with an
can lead to unexpected destinations                                                         organization or a person. Now we can




T
            here are sea cruises, and then Sage CRM system,” Papagapitos says.              see who our biggest, best, or most-
            there are sea cruises. Travel “But [when] the partner realized we               frequent travelers are.” Rapid access to
            Dynamics International (TDI) needed a large-scale solution they didn’t          client data and fast input of new book-
            specializes in the latter. The have the resources for, Sage pointed me          ings has become the new standard.
New York–based provider of luxury to Infinity Info Systems.” Also based in                     The new system enabled better sales
travel has been operating since 1969, New York, IIS casts a long shadow in the              practices as well. “In the past, it was like
booking small-ship expeditions to his- world of value-added resellers, and was              the honor system: The sales team would
torical sites and combining opulence the recipient of a 2007 Rising Star award              try to pull in new alumni, organizations,
with education and cultural exposure. from CRM magazine—not to mention a                    and travel agencies, but if [the prospect]
To achieve that end, TDI went on a jour- slew of other accolades from its two pri-          didn’t come in the attempt was forgot-
ney of its own, starting with one CRM mary partners, Sage and Microsoft.                    ten about,” Papagapitos says. “Now, if a
plan and ending up with another.                  “When we were first brought in, I re-     person calls in, we can see their history
   The largest of TDI’s three vessels holds alized TDI doesn’t only work with or-           with us, and can record what made them
114 guests, the smallest just                               ganizations for selling and     choose us in the first place.” It also allows
34—but every booking is about “Instead of looking           booking,” says Brian Heltzer,   targeted marketing in a way TDI could
comfort and a sense of commu-                               an IIS account executive.       never manage before.
nity. Private charters are avail- in four or five           “There are individuals within      Best of all, IIS gave TDI a gift that
able, but the majority of TDI’s places, we had one          those groups as well, and the   will only increase in value as time and
clients are academic societies
and alumni associations with a
                                                                       was not always
                                     integrated database bookingthe same [people].
                                                            through
                                                                                            technology advance: the ability to add
                                                                                            new capabilities as needed. “We were
particular interest in a given for everything.”             TDI needed to be able to see    exasperated with their old system,”
topic. Cruises are built around                             the hybrid of both, but Sage    IIS’s Bogan says. “You had to run every
each topic, and the nature of the journey tends to be very organization-focused.”           little change through multiple people
typically aligns with that theme, often in-       The IIS team suggested that TDI might     over the course of time. Now, TDI is
cluding expert lecturers.                       do better with Microsoft Dynamics CRM,      largely self-sufficient and can mak
								
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