Chase Bryan, a former business development manger for Tripology, the now closed New York City-based lead generation firm, urged agents to explore all the available alternative resources to build their businesses and expressed regret at Tripology's demise. Bryan sees Tripology’s collapse as a result of a soft economy and a lack of investment credit.
“While Tripology's future is uncertain, my main concern has and always will be for the agents it serves. These professionals need more resources...not less,” Bryan told Travel Agent. Tripology stunned the industry when it closed its doors, attributing the action to the lack of an investor rather than management failure.
Tripology advised the industry that it was closing down “despite achieving one of our best revenue months in January of 2010 and enjoying months of unit-economic profitability”
“Our newest investor, very late last week, indicated they intended not to continue to fund the company as agreed in December 2009 (as indicated in a press release on the company website on December 2, 2009.)," Tripology said.
Tripology immediately stopped accepting travel agent payment for lead credits, terminated the Tripology staff and actively started looking for a new investor and/or strategic partner, the company said.
“I feel strongly that this business and the lead/referral generation model has and can continue to help the industry tremendously," Bryan said. "While some of the large agencies and consortium have their own internal lead sources (case in point that there is a demand for such a product/service), a company like Tripology was able to focus solely on those efforts and become very efficient at delivering narrowly-targeted leads to the travel professionals who truly specialize in the specific consumer's needs. In my opinion, the industry can only benefit from a business model which not only promotes travelers to use professionals for booking their trips, but goes one step further in matching those travelers with the right professional.”
Tripology, a free service for consumers, developed a community of over 13,800 travel specialists and has processed over 130,000 trip requests from online travelers since its launch in 2007.
“I know from first hand experience that this type of business can be profitable and is in demand within the industry," Bryan said. "Unfortunately, as frightfully cliché as it has seemed to become, our current economic situation is making it more difficult than ever for those needing capital investments to start or run a small to medium-sized company, even one that is 'in the black.' I think the main lesson learned here is that despite the biggest issue of bad timing economically, it has become very apparent that there are endless possibilities in the field of technology within the travel industry.
"This multi-trillion dollar industry isn't going anywhere and neither are technological advances," Bryan continued. "The key is to find where those two paths will and can cross. The best advice I can give is to continue to explore all the resources that are out there to help grow your business, particularly the latest technological ones online. You can keep buying ads for your nephew's school yearbook or even paying-per-click on search engines, but just don't expect it to dramatically grow your client base or give you a good ROI.
“Find the really unique services that are out there like Tripology and put forth your best effort to utilize them," Bryan continued. "Also, don't forget social media! It doesn't bode well for business when your clients have their own website, Facebook page, Twitter account, blog, or even email domain, and you have none of the above.”
Since leaving Tripology Bryan has been looking for opportunities in travel technology and marketing.
John Peters, CEO and president of Tripology said that the company is looking to secure a new investor and travel agents may continue to buy leads using any existing paid and free credits they have on file with Tripology.
Tripology’s website is in operation. Impacted by the loss of Tripology are travel agents, consortia and a host of suppliers with whom Tripology had a strategic relationship. The company won awards for its technology.