TripConnexion is a website that connects travellers with local and independent guides and travel agencies directly and for free in more than 100 destinations around the world.
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We meet up with founders, Guillaume and Bruno, to chat about the tourism industry and how they intend to shake things up a little.
Tell us about TripConnexion and its origins.
Bruno: Well, a little less than ten years ago, I was working in web-marketing. I knew I wanted something else, I needed to experience something different, I needed to travel. So just like that, I left France with a backpack and went to Vietnam, where I stared working in a local travel agency… and I ended up staying there four years! The agency I’d worked for was great. It was a small structure and they would really adapt their services to their clients’ needs and would offer bespoke holidays, created hand-in-hand with the traveller. Obviously, being locals, they knew Vietnam like the back of their hand and offered off-the-beaten-track excursions and activities. They just lacked the resources and the skills to get known to their audience. I brought them my knowledge of web-marketing and was able to increase their online visibility. From then on, I started thinking about a way we could do the same for the many small, independent local agencies throughout the world – after all, they do offer a unique kind of a trip that travellers are increasingly keen to experience.
Guillaume: Our starting point stemmed from that conclusion that nowadays local tourism businesses are invisible. As you know, if you’re not on the first page of any search engine, you’re unlikely to reach your target audience. On the other hand, tour operators take up to 30% commission, plus their products don’t match today’s travellers’ expectations. The internet has changed the way we travel: people don’t want touristic highways anymore, they want an authentic trip that reflects who they really are. TripConnexion was created to combine equity for small, independent structures and fair prices for travellers on one single centralized platform.
You don’t earn commission on bookings, so what is your business model?
Guillaume: Instead of taking commission, the travel agencies become our partners and pay a monthly subscription to be made visible on our platform.
So how do travellers navigate around the TripConnexion website?
Bruno: You go onto our website to find your next holiday. There are three different options available to you. If you don’t know where you’d like to go to or who you’d like to go with, you simply fill out a form on TripConnexion and on our end, we refine your request and come back to you with our suggestions. The second option applies when you already know where you’d like to go – you’d then be connected to several of our agencies to see which ones fit you best. The third option is when you have a specific tour, excursion or circuit in mind and you’re ready to start organizing your bespoke holiday. In all three cases, our team will call you back and refine your request to connect you in the most effective way.
What are your projects for 2016?
Bruno: Loads! We’re launching the second version of our website. TripConnexion will become the first social media dedicated to direct travelling. The platform will become more interactive and dynamic. Our users will be able to create their own account and feed their profile, post pictures and articles, comment on others’ and build their own network of fellow travellers and of local actors of tourism. We want our platform to be as transparent as possible.
For more information see: TripConnexion