Australia has been selected as the founding country to showcase and roll out a new online travel portal to bring travellers and the local community together onto a single platform from which visitors can access, purchase and share definitive information, experiences, advice about the destination and its tourism products.
TripTide Australia (www.triptride.com.au), which is being launched at ATE 2013 in Sydney, uses a revolutionary combination of technology and social media to create a multi-dimensional resource for both the travel industry and consumer.
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 travellers the very best information on which to draw when both planning and enjoying a holiday.
Members of the travel trade in each destination featured by TripTide, commencing with Australia, will be encouraged to take up a free-of-charge membership of TripTide through a recruitment programme which will include setting up and optimising each members account
As well as giving members access to a large audience of new and repeat visitors, the commission- based structure provides TripTide members with an array of benefits ranging from optimised product pages, built by TripTide, to an on line booking facility, direct referrals, auctions and group purchasing discounts.
The no-cost membership scheme offered by TripTide makes it accessible to any supplier from a small B&B to an international operator, and the global platform and connection via social media automatically opens up distribution channels that may otherwise have been out of reach, particularly to smaller suppliers and their only cost will be a commission made on a successful sale.
Social media allows users to share real time experiences and narratives supported by unique rich content on the website, including blogs, features, images and footage, initially provided by users recruited by TripTide. TripTide will also be integrated into all other social media forums including Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Additional unique functions of the site include:
- The TripTide ‘Store’ – this will provide members with the chance to customise their own online outlet to sell peripheral goods and accessories that enhance their product – such as fishing rods and bait for a bare boat yacht charter.
- The TripTide ‘Auction’ – this will allow members to sell off items such as campervans, surf boards and balloon rides to the highest bidder.
- Daily Deals – provides users with the choice to make discounted group purchases of daily activities such as golf, fishing, and restaurant offers. TripTide Australia, and all subsequent TripTide portals, will be managed by an in-country team to ensure that the content, resources and local knowledge are unique to each destination. The Australian sales team will headed up by tourism veteran Richard McKisack based in Sydney
TripTide has been developed by technology expert and travel enthusiast Peter Richards, who has 30 years experience in building high-tech companies focused on community applications. While on a personal trip to visit his daughter in Australia during her gap year in 2011, he found that chance encounters with locals, their subsequent advice and tips on where and when to go greatly enhanced his holiday experience. This sparked the inspiration behind connecting the local community with the traveller on a web-based portal that could also harness the rapid growth of social media marketing.
Richards says: “There is no better country than Australia to launch TripTide. Its extraordinary diversity, complexity and richness of landscapes, people and experiences are its greatest tourism assets and, yet when it comes to planning a trip, getting to grips with the sheer scale of product and diversity is also its greatest challenge for visitors. Australia was my inspiration behind the idea, and in turn I want TripTide to deliver an inspirational service to all its members, to help them in providing local knowledge, services and products to a global audience. TripTide not only provides a one-stop- shop for visitors, but also connects them with the very best source of information – locals – and in doing so is guaranteed to reveal the hidden gems that make a trip to Australia so memorable.”
Richards aims to have at least 10 new destinations on TripTide hubs by the end of the year with all the supporting infrastructure including community building and social media teams from the UK with the next one going live in South Africa in May. The three year membership target will be 20,000,000 active members.