Every advancement office wants to be a good steward of university resources. One of the most important annual budgeting items is clearly making the most out of travel opportunities. The plane ticket, hotel room, rental car, meals and the value of your time add up quickly.
Here are four tips on booking intelligent travel with the aid of marketing automation.
- Know Before You Go
Still booking anchor appointments on capacity scores and old data? Use marketing automation to identify individual points of affinity important to the prospect today … all before leaving the office. Knowing she graduated from liberal arts but reads articles on the cancer center helps make the most of the first visit.
- Use Affinity to Reduce Cancelations
A cancelation can be the difference between landing a gift and not. Especially if it is an anchor appointment. Who is more likely to cancel – the alum checking sports scores every weekend or the alum who hasn’t expressed any interest in the institution for years? Sure … things happen and schedules change. But prioritizing outreach to high-capacity alumni with affinity helps identify visits that want to see you as much as you want to see them.
- Act Fast to Book Second, Third (Fourth!) Appointments
The clock starts ticking when the appointment is set and travel arrangements are made. Prioritize your outreach to high-capacity/leadership visits with the highest affinity. Not only does this help improve the likelihood of giving while helping reduce the likelihood of cancelation, it can help make scheduling easier by reaching out to alumni waiting to hear from you. Plus, points of affinity are already known to maximize the impact of the visit.
- Remember Outliers
No one has ever visited that one high-capacity alum in xyz small town because there are no additional appointments to book in town. But you have marketing automation. Identifying high-capacity alumni with affinity can unlock an entirely new set of prospects. Sure … Old Man Jones is the only alum in town but he did well selling his company and keeps up with your entrepreneurship team every week online. Might be time to pay him a visit.
Making travel commitments using institutional time and money is important. Being a responsible steward of university funds means making these decisions with all the data. Marketing automation, like Capture Behavioral Engagement (CBE), lets you track alumni visiting your websites, browsing your e-newsletter articles and reading emails. By tracking individual points of interest and aggregating web visits into affinity scores, marketing automation provides the missing intelligence to prioritize regional visits before you even leave the office. Parting questions to help identify the impact to your bottom (and top) line:
- How much time/money is being spent on a second visit that could be accomplished in the first visit if we only knew before we went?
- How much time are we spending “in the dark” trying to set secondary appointments in other cities? How much do cancellations impact our travel results?
- How many outliers (high capacity/high affinity/small town prospects) are we missing? What is the lost potential? What is our plan to identify and prioritize outreach?
Did you miss the first installment of our series on budgeting? Go here to read “Budgeting Part 1, Make Your Gift Officers More Efficient.”
By Kevin Bauman, Director of Philanthropic Initiatives, Capture Higher Ed