With more than one million trips planned on the Travefy platform, the Lincoln-based company has positioned itself as a leader in travel innovation. Now Travefy founder and CEO David Chait is sharing with others in the industry what the company has learned about travel.
Last month, Chait spoke on the panel “Creative Ways to Identify & Reach Your Target” at the first-ever Agent2021 Conference in Miami. Agent2021 was founded by Gary Vaynerchuk’s team at VaynerExperience and played host to leaders in the industries of travel, real estate, auto dealerships and insurance companies from around the country.
Travefy is an itinerary management and client communication platform for travel agents.
Chait joined speakers from other international tech companies, including Google, Twitter, Facebook and more.
“I spoke on a panel specifically about reaching your target customers,” Chait said. “But before you even get into the steps for reaching your target audience like content, SEO, media marketing and paid advertising, (you have to) recognize your core competency. What is your secret sauce?”
Chait said the key to honing in on that target is in an organization’s data.
"At Travefy, we’re a very data-driven organization,” said Chait. “While there are important inputs on what type of travel someone wants to be serving, (they have had to) look at the data and say, ‘What are the profiles of the types of trips that I’ve planned for clients in the last six or 18 months?’”
By looking at the profiles of clients through collected data and looking at things such as demographics, geographies and travel destinations, agents or businesses might realize that their expertise is in a different area than they originally thought.
“(What you really understand is) maybe you thought of yourself as the cruise agent but in actuality, the majority of what you’re doing is sending millennials to Thailand, and that’s really your expertise,” Chait said. “From there you can apply strategies to double down on that or change if that’s not the mix of business you want. But you have to understand your realistic starting point.”
Even though he joined the conference on the travel agent track, Chait said the concepts he spoke about apply across many industries that traditionally don’t consider themselves high-tech.
“A lot of businesses are relying on referral and existing business and haven’t had the push to really analyze their data, which will allow them to think bigger,” he said. “Those that are using data are in many ways the most-successful organizations because they are efficiently using their resources, be it capital, time and everything else.”
Travefy underwent huge growth in 2017. The company works with thousands of travelers and travel agencies that run their businesses on the Travefy platform.
“This past year, business grew literally by 200 percent in terms of both business and revenue,” said Chait. “We really do see a lot of data and are able to provide some salt leadership to the industry with lessons learned from our successes and also from our missteps, frankly. We’re seeing more of that across the industry where Travefy is being looked at to help and can help.”
Chait said 2018 will be about scale and continuing to focus on sales and product, while also helping the rest of the industry.
“We started last week in Fort Lauderdale and ended in New Orleans at the Virtuoso Forum, where Travefy is the preferred technology vendor,” Chait said. “We’re trying to be anywhere and everywhere we can be. We love the agent industry and the advisers we work with and we just want to spread the word and be out there.”
It sounds hectic, but Chait wouldn’t have it any other way.
“As a travel company, we are nomadic in our lifestyle and the lifestyle we support. Life is too short. You have to do what you love.”