FAQs | Collegiate ECHO 2016-2017

1. Budget /ROI Related Questions 
a. What is your cost per customer acquisition? 
A: The actual numbers are confidential. Here are ranges that are valid:   Our cost per customer acquisition is <$400, with a target CPA of $200-$300 Under $200 we consider a home run. Important to keep in mind: the CPA will vary by source. 
b. Should we factor in-house or outside agency costs, production/material costs, labor, etc. into the budget? For the purposes of the competition, what can we assume these costs are? 
A: We do most of our creative in-house, with our own direct mail planners, a sales team, and outbound calling. We use agencies/partners for production, materials, media buying, and lettershop.etc.  For the purposes of the Challenge, don’t budget for internal labor or creative costs, but do use industry standards to factor all costs to print, postage and to buy media. [media includes TV, and Digital]
c. What does Collette consider variable versus fixed costs (selling, media, operations/admin, etc.)?  % of revenue for these? 
A: All Marketing costs are variable costs, but you do not have to include salaries as variable.  The lower the % the better, of course.
d. Can you provide cost of sales percentage(s)?  
A: This is confidential.  You will need to make assumptions/do research in the guided tour space.  
e. What portion of sales come from owned and operated retail travel bureaus, other travel agencies, response TV/media, internet, etc.?  Would you like to see this response rate shift?  
A: For the challenge, we'd like you to focus on our retail business.For the purposes of the challenge define "Retail" as either direct-to-consumer [direct mail or e-commerce] or through a travel agent.  For the purposes of the challenge use 80% of retail coming through travel agents.  We challenge and welcome you to maintain our robust Travel Agent Channel and come up with new innovative channel marketing and product solutions to grow our direct to consumer business. 
f. What is the current average order size/amount?  
A: AOS is approximately $4,500 including airfare, options, insurance.
g. You mention a sales force.  How large is the sales force?  Should we include a B2B component that addresses travel bureaus? 
A: We have over 50 strong national sales force that supports our agent retail business. 
h. Do you calculate the average lifetime value (LTV) of a customer?  If so how?  How does LTV vary by segment?   
A: Not at this time. We are building a multi channel multi media attribution solution, but this challenge, not meaningful. 
i. What kind of response per channel/ per segment do you currently have?  
A: We see a wide range. The higher the price point, the lower the response.  Response rates for acquisition can be as low as less than 0.1% and as high as 0.8%+; Past guests respond to over 2.0%.
2. List-related questions.  
a. Do you have an active customer database? If so, how is the list segmented? 
A: Yes.  We segment by recency of last travel, cancels, prospects, channel (direct, agency consumer, agent, white label).  We also -apply models on lapsed guests, survey information, reply card response/preferences, persona information, website activity, loyalty program involvement, among other variables.
b. What is the list’s size?  
A: We have over 2 million records on our database consisting of consumers, agents, group leaders, and prospects.
d. What response rates can be assumed for various types of lists, e.g., mail and email lists?  
A: See #4 but email open & click rates vary depending on the offer & segment.  Use industry standards unless a plan is built to exceed that.
e. How does seasonality affect response rates?  
A: Summer and holiday time frames are low.  Strongest seasons are Q1 & Sept/Oct early Nov and early part of Q2.
3. Web-related questions.
a. How does seasonality affect site visits? 
A: Booking patterns are consistent across channels similar to 5e, although we sometimes drive additional web visits with strong offers in the “off-seasons.”
b. How do you calculate / what is your conversion rate?  
A: History shows when it’s best to drive media buys.
c. What is the cart abandonment rate? 
A: Because we are a multi media/multi channel business, we do not view cart abandonment as a variable. We drive the consumer to convert by whatever channel works best for them. We are agnostic when it comes to channel. 
d. Can we propose a website redesign? Mini-sites?  
A: Yes, that works, as long as  you remain channel agnostic, from the consumer point of view. 
e. What conversion do you anticipate via paid search such as Adwords, banner ads, etc.?
A: This is confidential.  Please research industry standards.
4. Mobile related questions.
a. What portion of your site traffic comes from mobile devices? 
A: Low, but it is growing.
b. What kind of conversion do you receive from mobile?  
A: We really do not get many mobile bookings at this time.
c. Cart abandonment? 
A: High.
d. Can we propose a mobile app?  
A: Of course.
5. Social media related questions.
a. What are your primary social channels?  
A: Facebook & YouTube.   Twitter is really not a sweet spot for us although we use it, but Instagram just launched for us.
b. Of these, what are the levels of engagement on each? 
A: That can be seen online.
c. How do you track social media? 
A: All of the below:
i. Fan Count
ii. Engagement Rate (Likes+Comments+Shares/Total Reach) 
iii. Twitter Interactions (Tweets + ReTweets + Replies)
5. Research-related question.
a. Are there any particular travel industry resources (industry trends, standards, benchmarks, etc.) you want us to pay attention to and cite in our projects? 
A: You can research this information.  The challenge is to understand what we offer now, how we should evolve for our target audience’s needs, and how to market to that generation.  Research is a key element to understand what they want and how they want it.