Extending the benefits of Balanced Scorecard for a Travel Agency

Often for a travel agency its overall success is closely related to the experience it can offer to its customers

This involves taking proper care of travel needs of customers and ensuring that they return with a pleasant trip feel. However, incentivising on this "intangible asset" gathered from clients is definitely not a child"s play, it rather asks for a pretty sophisticated and focused thinking to tackle the issue.

Financial parameters, which are all statistics and numbers, do not pose problems, but when it comes to "assessing customer experience", a deeper study and understanding is needed. The management needs to be clear as to "why they exist" and "what do they strive to achieve". This in turn, demands identification of not only those areas which the group wishes to develop as "strengths" but also the ones that are "liable to create or become pitfalls". By selecting and filtering the measures that can truly and accurately mirror the conditions (both positive and negative) of these processes will constitute an apt solution to drive the organization on its "success path".

Further, in addition to this challenge, the other areas which require substantial attention include competition, customization and adapting to the dynamicity of surroundings.Competition is increasing in almost every sector at an appreciably high pace. The survivors and flourishers are trying to add to their customer base using every tactic or strategy they can lay their hands on. However, with the client base not spreading at a similar rate, it turns a "snatching game"; leaving less space to "test and make moves". Consequently, a foolproof method to eye on the daily affairs becomes all the more important.

Considering that there can be various groups the company caters, like corporate, leisure travelers etc, a package that meets the requirements most closely adds to the attempts of the taskforce.Drawing from these observations, it is seen that a very potent and concentrated approach is the need-of-the-hour. One of the means is to structure a "balanced scorecard" for the operations and deploy it in the organizational workings.

Putting down the metrics in areas which matter and following those on a regular basis will help a player of this sector bridge the gap from being a "not-so-successful name" to a "well established and reputed brand".For instance, by framing "customer satisfaction" as one of the perspectives attached with appropriate metrics, a constant check on the experience being provided to clients can be had. The metrics that can be of use are "number of ancillary services", "favorable review index", "% increase in customer base" and "look/book index". This goes a long way in guiding the managerial staff to know "what"s paying" and "what"s not". Besides sustaining the existing customer base successfully, a solution like Balanced Scorecard goes also in managing the expanding operations. Other dimensions in which indicators can be helpful are- Financial, Internal Operations, and Business Planning and Growth.

Financial earnings position can be obtained with parameters like operating profit, % increase in planned sales, actual sales step-up ratio, etc. Internal operations can be had by measuring situation with metrics like number of booking channels, abroad to local bookings ratio, packaged to independent bookings ratio and green index. Business planning and growth is yet another perspective to be calculated, which is possible with knowledge of ticked delivery standards, disaster recovery planning effectiveness, % increase in number of tour packages sold, etc. However, to extract maximum benefits from this methodology, one should monitor the values on daily basis, as monthly or quarterly reporting will not serve the actual aim.

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