(New York, NY)
February 25, 2002 - WeBeenThere, an online network of specialized travel experts, today launched a campaign to help travel agents promote their specialty and reclaim customers who have turned to online booking sites to arrange travel. Under the slogan 'Get 'Em Back,' the promotion includes strategies to win back and retain online customers while reaching new audiences for travel services. The campaign also includes a special promotional rate for agents who join the WeBeenThere network.
"Travel agents as a whole have been slow to adopt the Web as a means to reach new customers and retain their existing customer base. As a result, many have seen a decline in business as consumers migrate to self-service travel sites. WeBeenThere is about helping agents bring valuable first-hand travel knowledge to their customers via the Internet," said David Feit, CEO and founder of WeBeenThere. "Only travel agents can recommend the ideal hotel, must-see attractions and the perfect restaurant based on each customers' individual preferences. WeBeenThere brings that expertise to the Web, helping agents get back online customers."
Most travel sites allow customers to book flights, hotel rooms and perhaps car rentals online. They are not able to provide the customized recommendations that often enhance a trip, save time and ensure that a traveler gets the most out of a vacation. WeBeenThere agents have all visited the destinations they represent on numerous occasions and can provide first-hand suggestions on how to 'upgrade' a vacation. With in-depth knowledge on culture, climate and attractions that should be seen, as well as those that can be skipped, the agents help travelers build an ideal vacation.
Further, WeBeenThere has a team of agents who specialize in travel activities, such as golf, eco-tourism, food tours or adventure travel. Golf experts, for example, know how to customize a vacation that includes golfing on some of the world's finest courses. They also know which resorts have special rates and seasonal deals, which courses are empty at certain times of the year and which golf destinations offer other activities for all family members. Some of the other travel specialists include experts on honeymoons, disabled travel, dude ranches, even balloon trips and dolphin experiences.
"Most people like to experience someplace new and different when they take a vacation. Online sites such as Orbitz are fine for simply booking a flight to a destination where the traveler is already familiar. But these sites can't provide the critical expertise of an agent for trips to new and unfamiliar destinations," said Feit. "They can't customize and as such, can't find that ideal fishing spot, country inn or spa that a particular traveler is looking for."
"WeBeenThere has generated a steady stream of solid leads for my business," said Tim Robson, WeBeenThere travel specialist for trips to Tanzania and Botswana, as well as safari, camping and photography vacations. "I offer customized travel packages ranging from adventure safaris to photography journeys in the heart of Africa. These are not easy trips to plan and require an intimate knowledge of the location. Through its network of specialized travel experts, WeBeenThere is the only site that can offer this."
Strategies to Get 'Em Back
WeBeenThere has established a series of strategies to help agents win back online customers.
Get 'Em Back Agent Promotion
Specialize: Agents must have a specialty. The true value of an agent is in the knowledge of a destination or activity with the ability to tailor each trip according to a traveler's individual needs and desires. All WeBeenThere agents have extensive experience in the destinations and activities they represent.
Establish a Web presence: Agents cannot compete with the travel sites if they don't have an online presence. Customers who've migrated to self-service sites clearly have a preference to work online. WeBeenThere allows customers to find a specialist and request detailed travel information - all online. While simply joining the WeBeenThere network will help an agent get online, WeBeenThere can also help agents to build a stand-alone Web presence that complements its membership in the network.
- Unleash to Web to attract business: The most effective agents are those who can proactively push out information - competitive airfare deals, travel packages or unique offerings. The Internet enables this in an unobtrusive way, reaching a targeted audience receptive to travel promotions. WeBeenThere helps agents develop online marketing strategies, from direct email announcing special deals, to high profile promotions on its Website and as part of WeBeenThere's popular newsletter, TravelSavvy.
As part of the special promotion, WeBeenThere is offering a special one-time sign-up rate for new agents who join the network. For the next three months, new agents can join for $50 -- a special rate reduced by 50 percent. Agents are given a full listing on the site as per their specialties, as well as a full profile, opportunities to participate in Website promotions and special issues of TravelSavvy. Agents should contact WeBeenThere.com at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.webeenthere.com/about/agents.html.
WeBeenThere, LLC is a travel company representing hundreds of the world's best specialist travel agents. WeBeenThere brings service and expertise to the online travel market through its carefully screened network of expert agents. Utilizing its vast breadth of travel expertise, WeBeenThere partners with consumer web sites to bring a higher level of expertise to travel content. Travel industry suppliers use WeBeenThere to market their products and information to the best quality specialist agents, and the public. Its Travel Savvy newsletter reaches more than 60,000 avid travelers. For more information visit www.WeBeenThere.com.