In a world where social media can make or break a business, Tripcentral.ca puts it all on the line for their customers. The only major travel agency to leave their Facebook reviews open for public comment (with a 4.8 star approval rating and immediate responses to any negative comments), they put their reputation to task daily to hold themselves accountable to their customers, and to be the best they can be.
A brick and mortar start up nearly 30 years ago, Tripcentral.ca has grown to be an industry leader for online and storefront travel purchases. Times have definitely changed since 1989 when they first opened their doors. Phone calls and walk-in customer calls are down, while web-chats and online bookings are up. The new generation of travelers appear to prefer the latter. At a recent industry event Richard VanderLubbe, the president of Tripcentral.ca, had this to say:
“There’s a commonality of communication style between introverts and Millennials—less direct, less on the phone, less in person. They’re very time consuming, but they are more loyal. We use the four-second test for the web page: it’s got to be clear what it’s about and have a clear call to action in the first four seconds or you lose them.”
— Richard VanderLubbe, President, TripCentral.ca
In an effort to not only engage their customers, but to help educate them as well, Tripcentral.ca utilizes many different social media outlets to reach their customers. From their industry leading, proprietary website, and their Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, to their Youtube channel with video commercials and “agents who’ve been there” commentaries on various destinations and resorts, they are finding many ways to use social media to interact with their customers.
To help win customers and to facilitate brand loyalty, Tripcentral.ca has online contests where website users can have daily trivia questions sent to their inbox so they can enter daily to win a trip for two! Users can also opt to sign up for emails with current promotions and sales. Tripcentral.ca’s SEO Copywriter and blogger, Amanda Stancati explains why social media is so important to them:
At tripcentral.ca, we place an emphasis on engaging with our customers via social media, whether it be answering questions, providing advice, or just inspiring people to travel with blog posts, tips, contests, photos and more. We recognize the importance of prompt responses and understand that social media is meant to be a two-way platform, so we’re happy to engage with our customers and share our first-hand knowledge from agents who have actually been there. It isn’t always about promoting yourself, but being a company that people can engage with, even when they are not in the market to purchase travel just yet. ~Amanda Stancati|SEO Copywriter & Blogger, Tripcentral.ca
The Tripcentral.ca blog is likely where the majority of the educational experience happens. Agent experiences, top 10 lists, destination wedding information, and so much more can be found here. All in an effort to further engage customers and to offer them the very best travel experience. Want to go to Punta Cana? Trying to find out what Cuba is really like? They have the answers on their blog. Tripcentral.ca has also recently added hotel reviews from customers who’ve been there to add to the overall educational experience for potential customers.
Lessons for Others
Customer engagement certainly doesn’t stop after a trip is booked. In an effort to develop and maintain customers by providing them with the best travel experience, emails are sent out prior to travel with links to related coupons, airport hotels, and excursion options in destination.
From Richard Vanderlubbe, president, tripcentral.ca speaking to industry professionals:
“The web is not a channel of distribution; it’s a channel of communication… You need to be working with the web– not against it – in order to truly engage the consumer and make sure they buy from you.”
– Thinking that the Internet is a booking path or a way consumers want to buy is a very narrow view of what the web is, Vanderlubbe said, challenging his audience to “open their minds.” Instead, think about it as a way to interact with your client. Think about how you can embrace it and bring it into your business; be proactive by taking on the role as the source of inspiration for your clients in between trips via e-mail and marketing communications to highlight certain products or destinations.
There is certainly something to be said about a company that is open and willing to lay it out there for the public. Tripcentral.ca has built their reputation and created brand loyalty by taking advantage of every available opportunity to engage with their customers and to be front of mind whenever their customers think about travel. They use social media to be transparent and accountable to their customers. They have positioned themselves as a leader in their field, and prove with their effective use of social media that it is important, and necessary, to do so.
Industry: Travel Agency
Name of Organization Contact: Amanda Stancati, SEO Copywriter and Blogger
Authored by: Julie Bond
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