Every year, Outlook Expeditions gives over 3,000 young people the opportunity to develop new skills and confidence through tailor-made programmes of life-changing adventures, with their pick of over 80 destinations worldwide.
As Outlook’s Chief Executive, Matt Wells, explains: “Outlook is a quality provider of expeditions for young people, and what sets us apart is that every trip is tailor-made. But that puts significant demands on the business to customise every individual’s objectives, itinerary and price. Organising the trip of a lifetime is only part of what we do. The customer journey starts from the moment we engage teachers in the sales process, through specifying the trip, to giving parents full visibility of their kids’ itinerary while they’re away from home. We were outgrowing our manual business processes and with such a broad range of itinerary options on offer, we needed a better digital shop-front, integrated with our back office infrastructure, to communicate our offering in more compelling and innovative ways.”
Outlook’s ambitions called for more than just a fresh new website. “We needed a scalable IT and digital infrastructure that would integrate with our marketing processes, give staff the tools to create a unique customer experience, and allow parents to pay for and oversee their child’s expedition online,” says Matt. He appointed digital specialists, Rawnet, based on their pragmatic commercial focus and a reputation for delivering measurable results.
“Finding a single digital partner that could combine a solid technical proposition with creative flair and deliver the project smoothly seemed like a tall order, but Rawnet came highly recommended on all counts. We took our challenges to them and jointly explored potential solutions.”
“Rawnet’s first task was to transform our customer-facing website,” Matt recalls. “We wanted parents and teachers to be able to explore the world from their desk and browse our amazing range of destinations and activities. But it had to be more than just an inspiring online travel brochure – dealing with the youth sector, we need to provide a lot of information and assurances, so the site had to facilitate that conversation as well as capture leads. Then we decided to go a step further and incorporate tablets into our sales process to bring the experience to life.”
Rawnet responded with the creation of an iPad sales toolkit, based on the same database engine as the website itself to ensure the global consistency of content, images and pricing. Simple navigation and filter options allow Outlook sales advisors to showcase the various trip configurations to schools, even without a 3G connection.
According to Matt, significant productivity gains have been achieved with the addition of a live quote generator. “It used to be costly and time-consuming for our internal sales assistants to produce bespoke proposals in Adobe Illustrator. Through clever use of asset management and CRM integration, Rawnet has enabled our sales team to create a customised expedition brief at the touch of a button, and equip the prospect with information in real-time to assist the buying decision.”
The third component of the Rawnet solution is an online trip management portal for parents. As Matt observes: “We wanted to give parents the best possible customer journey from start to finish. If they’ve enjoyed a slick and flawless sales experience, this should continue throughout the build-up to the trip, right to the point of their child’s return.”
Rawnet developed a Parent Portal that simplifies and streamlines the entire process of planning for an individual’s trip – from paying in instalments thanks to Direct Debit integration, to uploading important documents, specifying dietary requirements and even live flight information.
Reflecting on the project, Rawnet’s MD, Adam Smith, observes: “We’re all about using digital to make our clients’ businesses more successful, and Outlook was undoubtedly one of our most engaging projects to date. In conjunction with our CRM partners, Workbooks, we had to really get under the skin of the client’s operations to create a whole suite of IT and digital solutions that would have demonstrable impact on their bottom line from day one. Good IT shouldn’t be noticeable – that was our mantra throughout the project – but the business transformation that this infrastructure will enable should see the company through rapid growth over the coming years.”
Matt agrees, “Thanks to Rawnet, we now have a goal-driven website, iPad sales toolkit and a very sophisticated, powerful CRM integration, all of which equips us to communicate effectively with customers every step of the way. The advanced CRM not only helps us track leads but also keeps tabs on all business activity and parent interactions. The net result is substantial improvement in our internal efficiency and information accuracy, while outwardly we’re able to offer a seamless and compelling user experience that illustrates the value of our offering.”
What would Matt recommend to businesses about to embark on a similar journey? “Rawnet’s vision is to create solutions that drive business growth, not just interfaces that look pretty. Their dedicated Project Manager captured a detailed functional specification, and kept us in the picture at all times so we could maintain focus on what needed to happen at our end. As with all IT projects, this one threw up some technical and process challenges, but Rawnet’s team resolved them all with considerable agility. Their reputation is bound up in every project they undertake, and they will always stretch themselves to achieve your ambitions, no matter what. With ongoing support and enhancements provided through an SLA, we’re assured of their continued involvement in and commitment to our success. Fundamentally, what Rawnet has delivered is an industry-leading solution that will leave our competitors trailing in our wake.”
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