National Travel Systems
National Travel Systems (NTS) was a small but growing travel agency in Lubbock, Texas. Improve Group designed and implemented a storage & access system specific to their needs. The results have been dramatic.
National Travel Systems (NTS) was a small but growing business in Lubbock, Texas. NTS put together travel arrangement for large sporting events such as United States Gymnastics meets. The small workforce consisted of two women who were responsible for the day-to-day operations. These ladies, Gretchen and Kristie, worked hard year round to coordinate 8 events per year. The owners came to them and told them to plan on handling 12 events next year. Gretchen and Kristie said, “No Way.”
Improve Group’s Storage and Access expert, Tom Keaty, was in visiting NTS about some other storage issues within their company when he overheard Gretchen and Kristie discussing this suggestion from the owners and how impossible it would be. Knowing Improve Group could help, he took the opportunity to suggest we get some expertise involved to help sort it out.
Tom called Improve Group’s senior consultant Jeffrey Cox. Jeffrey flew into Lubbock to meet with both Gretchen and Kristie and the owners. He quickly understood the pain of their current processes and saw the limitations that would indeed make meeting the goal of 12 events per year impossible.
Improve Group was able to come alongside NTS with both consultation and the design of a new proprietary software system. Jeffrey’s recommendations of technology and best practices showed NTS how to better manage their workflow and increase productivity. The result was not 12 events per year, but 48 events per year, a change that affected not only the immediate future, but the entire course of the business.
Process before Improve Group:
NTS hired a webmaster to build website pages for each event. Because all of the changes and updates went through the webmaster, this was a time consuming process that relied on his availability.
When a customer signed up for an event through the website, an email would be generated to Gretchen and Kristie. The email would include the customer’s credit card information. This was a security issue that put both the customer and the company at risk.
From there, Gretchen and Kristie would type the information into ACT – a contact management application certainly not designed for reservation management. This fact, combined with the double-entry required (once by the customer and then by NTS) not only took more time but also allowed for human error. Gretchen and Kristie would then manually book the reservation for travel and hotel….more time. Once the reservation was made, Gretchen and Kristie manually emailed back a confirmation letter to the customer…are you tired yet? Then there was reporting, they had to pull reports that would export from ACT to Excel spreadsheets, and manually manipulate them. The average time to create a report was 2 hours and they needed 2 to 3 reports per day.
New Process with Improve Group:
Jeffrey was able to create a system that was personalized just for NTS that automatically created the webpage and could be updated in-house by either Gretchen, Kristie or another staff member. When a customer signed up for an event on the web, the information from the web automatically and securely came into the NTS system. This not only skipped a step for Gretchen and Kristie, but cut down on human error and kept the customer’s credit card information secure. This helped to protect both the customer and the company. Because of budget restraints, NTS chose to maintain the manual option of booking a reservation with the hotel, recording the confirmation number and marking the reservation as complete. However, had they wanted Improve Group to come up with an automated solution for this step, they could have. Once the reservation was complete, a confirmation letter is automatically generated and emailed to the customer. The personalized system included a reporting option that printed out in seconds instead of hours, allowing Gretchen and Kristie to add a coffee break to their day.