Leads go to waste as TripEdge waits for first subscribers

Not a single UK travel agent has signed up to use lead generation service TripEdge three months after its launch.

Robert Wheeler, founder of the company and former web designer at Flightline Essex, said he was disappointed by the lack of interest in what he believes is a cost-effective source of potential business.

He said August saw 50 holidaymakers approach the site via search engines for deals worth a potential £52,000, covering 435 nights and 125 individual travellers.

Wheeler believes traditional travel agents will have to start embracing applications such as TripEdge if they are to survive in the future.

“I have contacted lots of travel agent. We do have quite a high entry requirement in that they have to be in Abta or the TTA and have their own Atol so that consumers are financially protected,” he said.

“The problem is TripEdge is based on a monthly subscription-based model and agents have to convert the leads to cover their costs and make any money.

“I’m hoping it’s going to change, as month-on-month TripEdge is getting more enquiries. I’m hoping to break the 100 mark next month.”

The August enquiries were not passed on, Wheeler said. The 20 enquiries generated in June, the site’s first month of operation, were sent to high profile agents for free.

TripEdge is one of a number of start-ups in the UK looking to create new networks of independent agencies and feed them with customer leads.

Others to have recently entered the market include HolidayCrowd and See Your Travel Agent, the latter seeking to encourage the use of Skype to offer a more personal customer experience.

Wheeler said all three were created by travel professionals with the intention of helping agents gain more customers.

“If only UK travel agents would embrace the changing technological face of the internet and use services like these, they would safeguard their own future.

“UK travel agents seem to ignore new travel services like these or simply believe that they don’t need them, but with Abta member travel agents ceasing trading every month this year, the clever, forward-thinking travel agents will use web services like these to grow their businesses.

“Travel agents can no longer continue to trade like they did in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Failure to embrace these new UK travel start-ups will cause independent travel agents to have an uncertain future.”

Wheeler said despite the apparent lack of interest among travel agents he intends to keep TripEdge operating throughout this year and into next.

“The site was built for low-cost entry level. I have worked in the travel industry and seen how agents can get leads from the likes of Cheapflights and Travelsupermarket.

“But using them can be a huge cost to the agent that very few see a return from. For a small monthly fee we are offering qualified leads and potentially unlimited revenue for agents who upsell and add on extras.”

The TripEdge monthly travel agent subscription is £99.

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