Shanterria Earley never set out to be a travel agent or entrepreneur. Earlier in her career she was employed in a government job. She was a huge NFL fan and would arrange blocks of hotel rooms for friends and colleagues when they traveled to watch games.
One day, an employee at the hotel she was staying at told her that she could get a $5,000 commission for booking those rooms if she was a travel agent.
So Shanterria looked into how to become a travel agent. Then she expanded her offerings to other options like cruises and party buses.
As her impromptu business grew, Shanterria realized she needed software to handle her email marketing and invoicing.
What she discovered was business automation. And that changed everything.
Shanterria started by automating her marketing campaigns and payments process, but soon discovered that she could create systems and automations for nearly everything in her business.
Now, every time Shanterria creates a new travel package to sell and fulfill, everyone on her team knows exactly what to do.
“We have standard operating procedures for everything,” Shanterria explains. “I’m now the strategy person. I could sell the business today and they’d just have to hire a CMO to do what I do. The rest is handled by the team and the processes we have automated with Keap.”
Here are a few of the key strategies Travel Divas uses in all four areas of business automation:
Travel guides — The company has travel guides for every destination they offer as the lead magnet for each trip. That’s followed up by a series of automated emails for each travel guide, with lots of storytelling using pictures, videos and testimonials.
Tracking pixel — When a person who’s already a contact in the Keap CRM visits a travel destination page on the Travel Divas website, a tracking pixel is used to kick off a sequence of sales emails to that person about that destination.
Payment plans — How do you sell a high-priced service 18 months before the travel date? Give prospects the option of a monthly payment plan that allows them to pay for the trip in the months leading up to the trip. About 95% of Travel Divas customers choose the payment plan, which can be conveniently processed through Keap.
Engaging post-purchase emails — Since trips are booked so far in advance, Travel Divas sends regular emails that keep excitement high leading up to the trip. Shanterria even hires a fashion designer who curates outfits for the trips, which customers can buy on Amazon. A media team goes on every trip to take photos and videos, then compiles them in a yearbook at the end of the year. This serves as a memento for travelers on that trip and a sneak peek for customers signed up for next year’s trip.
Customer service — If a problem happens, the customer service team has access to all the data they need to determine what went wrong. Keap tracks every message that was sent to each customer, so there’s no doubt as to what was communicated when.
Reporting — Shanterria uses the Keap dashboard and reports to keep an eye on KPIs so she can quickly see what funnels are running and what’s converting well (or not), and then make decisions based on the numbers.
By maximizing automation opportunities throughout her entire business, Shanterria has freed up her time to focus on doing what she loves — creating amazing new trips and going on them herself.
Travel Divas now averages around $17 million in annual sales, and most of the work happens without Shanterria’s involvement.
The other major benefit Shanterria loves about automation is the freedom. “Once you automate you get your time back,” she says.
Shanterria now mentors other travel companies, helping them duplicate her success by teaching them her strategies, systems and tools — including Keap.
“It almost feels like Keap is family,” she confides. “I found this tool that’s a huge part of my business.”
Now, with every part of her business automated, Shanterria could sell her business if she wanted to, but she stays because she loves what she does.
“People transform when they travel, when they learn about different cultures,” Shanterria explains. “And it’s my company that’s pushing people out to see the world.”
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