Back to news home Back arrow

Finders, Keepers: Why unlocking value for clients is key to success

February 05, 2021


By Nicholas Vournakis
Managing Director, Global Customer Group, CWT

Client retention is the centerpiece for any sound business strategy, which is not to say that growth and new client acquisition are not important, but retention is fundamental for long-term business success, and it can be a secret weapon for maintaining stability and profitability during economic downturns. It costs anywhere from five to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one, and even a 5% increase in existing customers can bring in up to 95% in profits.

As I reflect on 2020, it is hard to imagine a set of more devasting circumstances to navigate. On the other hand, it’s quite easy to find silver linings and key learnings. 2020 was a year of resilience, perseverance, and character building. It was a year where our collective mettle was tested, forcing us to rethink what we thought we knew and to show up differently.

Our clients have come to expect CWT to stay ahead of the curve. And in a year where anticipating the curve is close to impossible (i.e., a global pandemic) success necessarily requires – more than ever – embracing a customer-first mindset.

Clearly anticipating the importance of travel authorizations, understanding the evolving needs of data and reporting, and enabling travelers to book with confidence based on a new set of travel and health restrictions. It’s not just about the dollars and cents associated to travel – and let’s be honest, there aren’t a whole lot of those to go around these days. It’s more about the strategic weight of enabling travel programs and being nimble and agile when times are tough.

As a result, I’m thrilled to share that throughout 2020 we sustained continued retention success across our seven key customer segments! Here are some of the highlights:

  • Our overall retention rate was 96% - which is right in line with our historic performance
  • About half of which we retained without a competitive RFP
  • We retained our longest standing relationship in the history of the company, dating back to the late 1940’s
  • We signed our first ever SEVEN-year retention

That’s not to say we were perfect. We suffered a few body blows along the way. But we learn from these experiences and they will make us stronger as we look to drive continued success here in 2021.

2021 will be no picnic. Our competitors are hungry, and they are tough. We have to be better. We will be better. Our new vertical alignment will help us unlock new value for our customers giving them access to deeper expertise and more meaningful data and analytics. We will continue to deliver on our industry-leading hotel capabilities, price optimization solutions and guest travel experiences. And finally, we will remain relentless in the pursuit of perfection.

Bring it on 2021, do your worst. We are primed and ready!


Media Enquiries:

If you're a journalist looking for assistance with a media query, we're here to help.

Contact us at and one of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.