For years now, travel agents have been heeding the call to specialize. Now they have another tool to drive business their way based on their hard-earned expertise.
1Trip3.com, the year-old travel agent referral web site, has changed its name to Tripology.com. The new web site will match travel agent specialties and profiles to consumer trip criteria, enabling agents to target only those clients that are profitable for them to service.
"We're not going to book travel," says Brett Krasnove, Tripology.com's vice president of product development. "We're like a dating service: traveler meets travel agent—we think you'll get along just great."
With the name change, Tripology.com will redirect all traffic from 1Trip3.com. The new site will be
used to expand the database of nearly 3,300 travel agents in preparation for
Tripology's consumer launch later this month. "Our goal is 10,000 agents
by the end of the year," says Krasnove. "Ninety percent of our agents
are from the
Interested agents fill out an online profile describing their areas of expertise. "It's to the agent's benefit to be truthful," says Krasnove. "We're going to monitor it closely. It's similar to the eBay model, in that agents will be subject to consumer feedback."
VacationCompare.com electronically passes consumers' requests for quotes to the independent travel agencies in their network that are experts in their respective fields. VacationCompare.com also charges agents a success fee of 2.5 percent when the agency makes the booking.
Tripology.com charges an average of $5 a lead and sets a limit of only three agents per lead.
"There were several aspects of Tripology.com that inspired me to sign up," says Lillian Christine Lynch, a home-based agent with Cruises, Inc. "Being a home-based agent, leads are important to me. I also liked the fact that I would be competing with only two other agents, rather than thousands." Lynch adds that the ability to profile herself as a specialist in luxury cruises was another positive factor, ensuring that she receives leads targeted to her specialty.
Try It For Free
Tripology.com is offering travel agents a free look at the new service. Agents can visit www.tripology.com and type in the invitation code: TA10. This will give the agent a $10 credit of free leads so they can experience Tripology.com in action.
How it Works
When agents register on the site they fill out a profile describing the type of business they're interested in, the regions, countries and cities they service, the budget level of the traveler they prefer, and the activities they specialize in.
When consumers visit Tripology.com and enter an itinerary, Tripology.com will send an e-mail to those agents specializing in that type of trip. This lead notification e-mail will include the itinerary's full details along with a lead price, ranging from $1 to $15, depending on the trip's size and complexity.
If agents are interested, they click "Purchase;"
if they are one of the first three agents to go through with the purchase of a
given lead, they will be given the client's contact information. Agents will
only pay for leads they accept, and no more than three agents will ever receive
a single lead.