Potential members and travelers that were interviewed have indicated that they will find tremendous value in this service as they can now interact with businesses and ask them questions about tours or activities before making making a reservation. With the addition of this feature Touristlink aims to add a social element to the traditional travel booking engine.
Touristlink is a social platform where travelers can interact with locals, fellow travelers and businesses that is backed by a wealth of information on destinations, attractions, hotels and restaurants. Research by PhoCusWright shows that $27 Billion is spent annually on tours and activities related services just in the United States. This business is primarily purchased offline as it is not cost effective for companies in the segment to integrate their own online booking engine or to promote their services online. Touristlink.com aims to capture this market with a destination oriented social platform where local tour agencies are notified of travelers requests and can then respond with offers. This untapped market is just waiting for the right marketing platform to be developed; namely, one that is easy, commission rather than fee based, and takes only a few minutes for a business to join. For example, a guide to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro may find it cost prohibitive to build and maintain a website. However, using Touristlink he can easily create a page and begin marketing his services to our members who are already online and searching for activities around Mt Kilimanjaro.
Traveling members may add businesses members to their social network, providing invaluable marketing contacts and potential future clients. The tourist “link” with businesses or travel providers may evolve from an initial online contact requesting information to reservations and follow-up reviews. Every place in the Touristlink database, whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or destination, has a “Claim this page button.” To claim the page the business owner must create a regular member profile so other members can send messages, ask questions or add the business owner as a friend.
Once the business page is claimed, the claim button is replaced by a link to the owner’s profile and the owner may then manage the attributes of the listing. Travelers benefit in that they can find services they would not normally find online such as; local guides, equipment rentals and translation services. Touristlink allows users to decide when and how much or how little contact they want from business owners by defining profile settings.
Touristlink.com has been providing information on global travel since 1998. The new features of the site went public beta in October of 2011 after the owners of the site identified a need from customers and business partners for a social platform that would let businesses and organizations create social profiles and interact with travelers in a value-added environment, rich with relevant up-to-date content and targeted reviews. Touristlink is managed by GotripIndia the developers of visitusa.com and the parent company of hotelkhoj.com.
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