Exclusive: Trailstream claims record January

Destination video supplier Trailstream has smashed its record for the number of monthly views in January as it looks to expand its long-haul offering and presence in high street agencies.

The on demand content provider saw 1.2 million of its videos viewed as of January 18, beating its previous record of 1 million last August.

Key online partners include leading UK online travel agents Directline Holidays and On The beach.

New destinations due to be added include the Maldives and Goa, in India, and 2010 will see a big push of Trailstream.tv, its service designed to overcome bandwidth restrictions in stores.

Trailstream founder and managing director Dave Howard said high street agents will need to at least match online in terms of the quality of service if they are to compete.

The firm’s high street service gets around problems of bandwidth by installing a physical server in stores that has the videos saved on it and can be accessed by all the branch’s consoles.

Howard said: “We came slightly late to the high street market, but it struck us that if high street travel agencies have a reason for being then they’ve got to provide a level of knowledge and content customers can get at home.”

A mystery shopper study of high street stores conducted by Trailstream a year ago found the overall quality of response to an inquiry about a particular property to be “quite poor”.

Even the multiples were unable to show video content due to bandwidth problems despite having it available, Howard said.

“We thought this was crazy,” Howard added. “You have a situation where consumers can get a better quality of service at home than if they had taken the time to go into a professional environment.”

The Trailstream.tv service costs £40 a month, but Trailstream has agreed a deal with Cosmos under which the system is free as long as pre-determined targets are met.

Currently only a small number of agents are using the service which was launched at the end of 2009, including Garstang Travel, Vacation Travel and Midcounties Co-op.

But Howard said the figures for views this January prove the value of having god quality video available on websites it in stores to show clients.

“We do see this (Trailstream.tv) as a high volume product and we think with pricing at that level we will see a significant number of agents will have this over time,” Howard said.

Directline.com, one online agent Trailstream supplies content to, has said a customer that has seen a video is twice as valuable to it than one that has not.

Trailstream has 2,300 videos, mainly of European properties, although it has properties in Florida, Tunisia and Egypt, and says its crews take 1,000 videos each season.

Howard said new destinations are added to the Trailstream system only when it has a critical volume of properties filmed and it will look to expand its long haul coverage in time.

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