Web Service offers solutions to technology challenge facing Canada’s travel agencies.
In the face of the Internet and technology, there has been much discussion about the future of the travel agent. Some people believe that travel agents will become extinct, while others believe that agents will thrive. TravelActive.com Marketing Inc., a new Internet marketing service for travel agents, is making headway to ensure travel agencies thrive.
Increasingly, travel agencies are feeling the pressure to go ‘online’. Travel consumers have become more Internet savvy, and they are no longer asking for just telephone numbers and storefront addresses - they want email and website addresses. In a year 2000 survey of Canadians Internet users, Ipsos-Reid found that 59% had gone online at least once to research travel information, and 18% had used the Internet to book some elements of their travel plans.
And while online, more and more travel consumers are researching travel information and destinations, before they visit their travel agent. But despite this increased interest in the Internet, consumers still prefer to purchase at a ‘bricks and mortar’ site.
TravelActive.com Marketing Inc. offers travel agencies a way to diversify their marketing strategy and to capture travel consumers on the Internet. In a national campaign, TravelActive.com is launching their concept and database-driven website to the 5,000 plus travel agencies across Canada. TravelActive.com is currently marketing in the Kitchener/Waterloo region and will target Toronto in the near future.
“We already have some agencies who have signed on, and they are enjoying the TravelActive.com system. We are confident that the reception from the other agencies will be as strong”, says Dr. Russell Currie, CEO of TravelActive.com, whose company has already signed up agencies in Ontario, Québec, Alberta and Manitoba.
TravelActive.com is a new Internet travel site where consumers can search for vacation specials and find local travel agents, by postal code, who can provide professional advice and fulfil the purchase transaction.
There is an average of 6,000 specials listed on the TravelActive.com website on any given day, with approximately 2,000 specials and `sell-offs` added daily. The TravelActive.com travel suppliers currently include Air Canada Vacations, Air Transat Holidays, Conquest Vacations, Signature Vacations and World of Vacations. Through TravelActive.com, travel agencies can now promote thousands of last minute sell-offs, where pricing is displayed in a range to accommodate for gross pricing, net pricing and differing commission rates.
Internet users who log onto www.travelactive.com can search the database of ‘Great Deals’ being offered by local travel agencies. Net users can also create a Custom Quote for any given travel agent to get additional information about a special; they are then contacted by that agency as soon as possible. This is a convenient feature especially when the travel agency is closed for the night or if the Net user doesn’t have time to call or drop into the agency. Visitors to the site can also create personal profiles to receive updates of travel specials that match their interests.
Each travel agency that signs on with TravelActive.com is given a customized webpage that is extremely personalized. Visitors to an agency’s site can find out where the agency is located, find out about the travel agents, such as destination experience and specialties, see actual photos of the agents, and get specific store hours. Agency webpages are linked to the TravelActive.com site so that Internet users can also use a currency converter, find out worldwide weather conditions, and read destination features, travel tales and tips for the traveller.
“The traveling public wants great deals, great service and real travel agents. That’s the premise we’ve built our business upon. In the face of online travel, we’re offering the travel agent a solution to their technological challenge”, explains Currie.
TravelActive.com offers the travel agency a means to prosper in the technological world, where the agency can benefit from the power of collective marketing, since more traffic is generated to the Canada-wide TravelActive.com site versus a harder-to-find stand-alone site. The agency can use TravelActive.com to: (1) attract new local customers who are searching online; (2) maintain old customers who are increasingly using the Internet for the sake of convenience; and (3) update their customized TravelActive.com webpage, without having to hire a web-designer.
TravelActive.com has the endorsement of the ACTA, the Association of Canadian Travel Agents, an industry-led association that represents the retail travel community and its stakeholders.
As TravelActive.com sets out on its national campaign, the company is gaining increasing recognition. TravelActive.com was recently at the Travel Technology 2001 tradeshow at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (February 26th and 27th). The company has also been receiving increasing media attention. In recent months, they have been featured in newspapers (The Cambridge Reporter, the Kitchener Waterloo Record), magazines (The Exchange Magazine for Business), newsletters (Cambridge Economic Development) and on radio (CBC Radio).
The goal of TravelActive.com is to market Canada-wide and sign up all of Canada’s travel agencies.