Rewards System Launched

After a long wait and after meeting with and listening to our members and suppliers we have finally launched the rewards system on TripTide Australia. Given that we don’t expect people to do anything for nothing we have implemented a system that rewards many of the fundamental contributions on the hub like user generated content, refer-a-freind and reporting a booking with some decent incentives. Although the list of rewardable actions is evolving it has already made a significant difference with increased bookings reports and UGC.

Peter Richards, TripTide’s founder said: “We are delighted to be able to integrate this important development into our technology platform. After the new review system went in, the Rewards system was the missing piece that we needed to roll out to reach an important milestone after such a protracted period of time.”

TripTide launches first site with Reevoo

In an exciting new partnership, TripTide Australia has become the first Australian travel distributor to integrate with independent ratings and review provider, Reevoo. This will allow customers to give reviews of tours and accommodation which are fully independent of the businesses that run the holidays.

With an average booking conversion rate of 19%, over 450 suppliers (operators and accommodation) have signed up as TripTide trade members ranging from small B&B’s to large operators.

 

TripTide partners with RETOSA to develop Southern Africa community

JOHANNESBURG – In an exciting new partnership, TripTide Southern Africa has established partnership with the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA) to develop Southern Africa’s leading travel community. Their aim is to create a comprehensive resource of user generated advice on things to see and do matched with inspiring holidays run by local operators.

TripTide Southern Africa is an online travel portal which brings travelers and the local community together onto a single platform, from which visitors can access and share tourism products, definitive information, experiences and advice about Southern Africa.

The TripTide concept is based on the premise that the immense, largely untapped resource of insider knowledge held by the local community and tourism suppliers, combined with the experiences and the powerful word-of- mouth from repeat visitors, gives new travelers the very best information on which to draw when both planning and enjoying a holiday.

Partner Manager, Olly Wheatcroft says of the partnership:

“We are very excited to be working with RETOSA as they are an internationally respected institution that is committed to the sustainable development of tourism in Southern Africa. Through our partnership we will give local businesses across the region access to an international audience and provide prospective travelers trusted advice based on firsthand experience. Our aim is to provide people with invaluable travel ideas and information and to work with operators that run outstanding holidays that aren’t listed on more mainstream travel sites.

Southern Africa offers an amazing diversity of landscapes and cultures and through our partnership; we are allowing people to experience the very best of this region through the power of social media.”

Kwakye Donkor, Marketing and Communications Director at RETOSA Director, describes the partnership as healthy win-win opportunity for public and private stakeholders. “It is critical that all our Member States and industry partners take advantage of this program by providing product information in order to maximize the gains of this collaboration” says Donkor.

This platform will offer tourists and travel trade the opportunity to explore and package authentic multi-country experiences, products and attractions online.

RETOSA’s Acting Executive Director, Simba Mandinyenya commented: “We are especially proud about this initiative, which we believe will play a significant role in attaining Southern Africa’s long-term objective of promoting the region as a single but multi-faceted destination.”

The word is spreading……….just keep the plates spinning

We are currently very focussed on numerous strategic and tactical objectives (how is that for a parodox?) As well as getting ready for a forthcoming visit to Australia for ATE we have a number of major enhancements to the Triptide platform. I am heading off to Queensland next week and after spending some quality time with the folks on Day Dream Island I will be going to Cairns for the annual jamboree of ATE to meet up with old friends and hopefully make some  new ones. The Australian hub is giving us some great new conversations as new communities sprout from within and the number of contributors grow. We are also hoping to announce our new Australian partner – so watch this space. I am also happy to report that the number of bookings generated from the hub is also on the up and we have a few more happy customers. I am especially looking forward to visiting some  of our members in Sydney and in particular a trip to the Parramatta Historical Group - http://bit.ly/QTSu9z.

Further afield TripTide Southern Africa is reporting initial bookings and the drive to recruit new members and content contributors is on. Swiftly moving continents, Angie Barnard, founder of TripTide Canada is doing a great job with new suppliers and community members.

I am also pleased to report the opening of the online store for Adrenaline Boards in Oz and new customers Tasmanian Expeditions and G-Adventures who are now supplying quality product through TripTide Australia. New travel guides have also been commissioned for the Coral Coast, North Queensland and Perth.  We are also looking forward to opening online stores for Trappers in Cape Town and the Albany Outpost on Vancouver Island through their respective hubs.

On the technology front our new ‘incentives’ system is off the drawing board and into the code and we are eagerly anticipating its launch. We have also been working closely with a new ‘reviews’ system which will is due to be unveiled at ATE. Apart from that its all been a bit quiet really.

TripTide Canada Launch: Vancouver Island to pioneer new concept

Following Australia & South Africa, TripTide Canada has now launched to bring travellers and locals together within a single travel portal/platform.  Site visitors will access, purchase and share information, experiences, advice about Canadian destinations and related tourism products.

TripTide taps into the largely untapped resource of insider knowledge held by the local community and tourism suppliers – combined with first-hand experiences and powerful word-of- mouth from visitors – to generate personalized itineraries, comprehensive & accurate information, plus ‘local secrets’ on a centralized platform for visitors pre, during and post travel.

Triptide.ca allows visitors to engage with, access, purchase and share experiences and advice about multiple destinations and tourism products, from iconic First Nations cultural experiences, whale watching, zip-lining across a wild Canadian river, to ocean-view hotel rooms and boutique Guesthouses.

Triptide Canada already features renowned suppliers on Vancouver Island including Springtide Whale Watching, Eagle Eye Adventures, Top Deck Tours, West Coast Wild Adventures, the Coast Hotel and the Painted Turtle Guesthouse; and, exciting newer operators like T’ashii Paddle School, Vancouver Island Expeditions and West Coast Salish Catering.

From small mom-and-pop businesses to multi-million dollar international operators, all members of the Triptide travel trade use their search-engine-optimized product pages to expand their global audience, and offer customers opportunities to engage, inform, promote and ultimately sell their products, packages and retail offerings online.  The commission-based structure provides TripTide members with an array of benefits ranging from optimised product pages to an online booking facility, direct referrals, auctions and group purchasing discounts.

TripTide.ca’s Community has photos, videos, articles, blogs, groups, forums and membership allowing users to share real time experiences and narratives supported by unique rich content that will be integrated into all other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google Plus.

TripTide has been developed by United Kingdom based technology expert and travel enthusiast Peter Richards, who has 30 years experience in building high-tech companies in the UK and internationally.  To date, Triptide has also launched in Australia and South Africa, with aggressive plans to expand internationally.

TripTide Canada is managed by a passionate in-country team, spearheaded by Angie Barnard of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.  “My parents were travel agents.  I am an avid traveler.  For 10 years, I have owned & operated a small hotel/hostel servicing travelers; and, I live in one of the most spectacular destinations in the world.  It was a natural fit for me to enter a joint venture with TripTide to promote our destination and its tourism suppliers using local knowledge and sales solutions,” says Barnard.

The TripTide Canada team is actively sourcing Local Area Directors for other Canadian destinations, Trade Members to promote and sell, and Community Members to provide their local knowledge and passion with international travellers.

TripTide Elevator Pitch

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where they profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. I was interviewed by them very recently and they decided to publish the following:

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

I launched TripTide after visiting Australia for the first time 3 years ago — a trip made memorable by the amount of local word-of-mouth information received. TripTide was developed on the thesis that in the next decade there will be a qualitative shift in the travel experience. The future of travel will be shaped by technological innovations which create easy connections between buyer and supplier. It will allow the traveller to harness the experiences of friends, family and fellow travellers more intelligently and it will herald a new eco-system whereby information is freely exchanged and the idea of one-way transactions are obsolete. TripTide provides an online environment for these ecosystems to proliferate.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

In its simplest form TripTide provides a virtual environment where ‘buyer meets supplier’. We are investing heavily in online marketing to improve the local Australian supplier’s reach to global markets where our main focus is on improving TripTide’s natural search capabilities through SEO. Our technology platform is now complete and the next phase of the journey is sales and marketing. For our development phase we have relied on private investment but we are now revenue earning and expect that the company will be entering profitability shortly.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

The sheer volume of daily tasks to be completed. It feels like we are sprinting a marathon.

How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?

We believe that we provide a new a unique approach to global tourism by empowering local suppliers and providing them with global market to sell their product through shared experiences. TripTide provides a publishing platform, a community hub, online marketing and advertising and a multi-dimensional ecommerce platform from within each website.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Definitely my iPhone — bite-sized pieces of dynamic information at my fingertips where ever I am. If I need more granularity I can always switch to bigger devices.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Just “do it” — if you think about it too much the opportunity will be seized by someone else.

 

“Australians Work Hard, and Relax Hard”

myjobaustralia.me got in touch with me recently to share a few thoughts on work-life balance, the importance of connecting with locals and discusses just why so many millions of people come to Australia. Here they are:

What is it about Australia that makes so many people come here, and often move here permanently?

I think Australia is the land of opportunity. It’s the 21st century equivalent of 20th century America where if you work hard anything  is possible. Whilst Europe is largely densely populated, recessive and engulfed in political trauma Australia remains, on the surface, free of these constraints. It has always appeared to me that as an immigrant you will be given a ‘fair go’ and the rest is up to you. For an immigrant from a somewhat claustrophobic UK the opportunity in Australia is as big as the country.

TripTide highlights the benefits of local knowledge to enhance the travel experience. How does local knowledge augment the experience in a country like Australia?

Any traveller visiting Australia for the first time will be over-awed by the amount of choice available and in planning a trip to a country so big and so diverse it’s a bit of a challenge knowing just where to start. A little local knowledge goes a long way when you are a complete novice (like I was) and a bit of friendly advice from the right quarter can make the difference between a good trip and a memorable one. Small nuggets of information can make a big impact e.g. Get into Sydney on New Years Eve before noon, Sydney Harbour Ferries (the gold ones) have all got wifi.

How would you describe the Australian attitude towards life? And towards work? 

I have great empathy with the Australian attitude to life and there is a good balance between work and play. Attitude and national pride here has evolved over the years in a relatively young country. It is one of the most popular countries for immigrants to relocate due to a mixture of the fine weather, the laid back attitude to life and the huge potential for the future. Coming from work obsessed UK, for example, the new immigrant will have to get used to a more relaxed style in the work environment. This doesn’t make the end product any less worthy – quite the opposite. In my view Aussies work hard but they also relax hard as well – and have found a great balance between the two.

In your view, what is the Australian attitude towards tourists or migrants? 

Fair and even handed to newcomers in a young country where everyone was a newcomer once. I am sure that many of the ‘£10 Poms’ of the 1960s will endorse this view wholeheartedly.

How did the idea of TripTide come about?

I first visited  to Australia three years ago to visit my daughter for Christmas who was looking after an international group of children at a school in Brisbane. I had not really put much thought into the trip other than spending time with her. I also could not get much in the way of online information about  where to go and what to do beyond the normal tourist traps in Sydney, Alice Springs and Cairns. When I got there I started to ask the locals and was presented with a kaleidoscope of information e.g. Fraser Island – how to get there, where to stay, who to hire a 4×4 from etc. and where to stay when embarking on a Bruce Highway road trip. We had a fantastic time discovering an Australia that I did not know really existed and when I came back to the Uk I wanted to create a repository of interactive information that might enable clueless travellers like me to get a a handle on Australia’s hidden nuggets.

If working a full-time job in a city like Sydney, what kinds of experiences would you recommend for a full-time worker if they want to have an escape? 

Sydney and surrounding area has many things to recommend it. For me the Northern Beaches are a must as is an evening spent in in the Rocks and the last ferry home to enjoy a unique view of the most iconic of City sites – the Opera house and the Bridge

Reprinted from http://myjobaustralia.me/2014/04/03/australians-work-hard-and-relax-hard/.

 

TripTide to launch Canadian hub

TripTide has launched it’s Canadian hub in conjunction with local partner Angie Barnard (angiebarnard@triptide.com) – a local entrepreneur based in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island. During the first year of operations the site – www.triptide.ca – will focus on all things Vancouver Island engaging local travel suppliers to engage with a global community of consumers. As with other TripTide hubs the local partner will be responsible for recruiting local partners and content providers whilst Triptide UK will focus on finding a global market for product.

New partners, new sites, new worlds

I am highly delighted to be posting my first blog on the new triptide.com site. There’s been a fair bit happening here at TTHQ notably the initiation and engagement of two brand new partners – Werner and Rene Smit in South Africa (wernersmit@triptide.com / renesmit@triptide.com) and Angie Barnard on Vancouver Island, Canada (angiebarnard@triptide.com). Werner Smit is a Groupon veteran and well versed in the vagaries of of building communities and recruiting local suppliers and is based in Cape Town. Angie is a well known local entrepreneur hailing from Nanaimo and the owner of of the prestigious Painted Turtle.  We are absolutely delighted to welcome them to the TripTide family and together we have already made considerable inroads in creating new communities and visitors.Our vision is to create many more TripTide hubs to expose those hidden nuggets that only the locals know about and of course to find global travellers to visit. So far so good –  if there are any thrusting entrepreneurs that want to get involved in community travel I would be delighted to hear from them – just ping me on peterrichards@triptide.com or skype me on peterrichards1957

TTSA

TripTide – Just Another Website?

Not exactly – in fact not at all – but it is one of the first questions that I get asked when pitching TripTide to new investors.

First and foremost we provide a service –part of which comprises a customised transactional website for a rapidly expanding number of partners around the globe. Each hub comprises the features and functions of some of the most successful online community and ecommerce models on the market. Members and visitors will recognise a bit of Facebook, a bit of Amazon, a bit of Groupon, a bit of TripAdvisor, a bit of Expedia, a bit of Flickr and so on. They will also see something unrecognisable to the travel industry and that is the first online community travel hubs on the market to be delivered on a region by region basis.

We invented TripTide because there was not enough granular, local, current, compelling travel information on the web and certainly nothing that harnessed the power of community building, social networking and global sharing successfully utilised in other industries. It has taken three years effort from developers, designers, user experience experts and travel specialists to deliver the vision but that’s only part of the story.

Our mission is to deliver local travel knowledge to a global audience allowing suppliers, content publishers, videographers, journalists etc to share a common platform . We are about to launch TripTide hubs in our third and fourth countries respectively.

Our business model is a little different as well and we provide a full suite of support services through exclusive partnerships – only one per region – including technology, branding, customisation, ecommerce, billing, third party integration and SEO to global destinations such as Australia, Southern Africa, Canada and Spain. This allows the partners to do what they are best at and recruit local product and content while we find a global marketplace for them.

So at first glance perhaps we do resemble some of the better travel sites on the market but a little more exploration will reveal a unique and absorbing proposition. Time will tell the full impact of the TripTide butterfly effect – but just another website – definitely not!