GOGO Worldwide Vacations recently mounted a unique, “only at your travel agent,” marketing campaign that—combined with its earlier GOGO Guarantee program, which includes the proactive promotion of its Price Beat Promise—is out to prove to travel agents and consumers alike its total commitment to the travel agent community.
“At a time when many travel wholesalers are actively targeting leisure agency customers by selling direct, GOGO is taking the opposite approach by working with—not against—its agency partners,” explains Dean Smith, president of GOGO Worldwide Vacations. “Our message is simple—GOGO Worldwide Vacations will help agents build their business by being here for them and ensuring its global product range is available ‘only at your travel agent.’”
Smith says the whole focus of the campaign is to send a strong message to both the consumer and to its retail travel agent partners that there is expertise and knowledge that sits within the travel agencies and that there’s value in that. “And, as a wholesaler, we believe that part of the distribution chain provides great value to the customer,” he says. “That’s been our philosophy since 1951. So what we want to do with this campaign is to really reinforce that message internally to our partners—that GOGO products and packages are only available through the travel agent. We don’t go direct to the customer. It’s an amazing campaign.”
At the same time, the company is also pushing the fact that their product range is more extensive than it’s ever been now that they’ve introduced Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, Southeast Asia, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi this year, with more product coming out later this year—all of it exclusively available only through travel agents, because, Smith points out, it’s only the travel agent that has the depth of knowledge, experience and expertise that the customer should be looking for.
The expansion of GOGO’s global inventory has, Smith says, “…everything to do with our global strategies and because the acquisition of GOGO by Flight centre limited early last year was strategic and enabled us to expand our product on a global basis. So we had a plan throughout to roll out that product by our worldwide collection team and it’s been completely separate of what’s going on in the rest of the marketplace. This year we’ll roll out North Asia so that will include China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, and later this year we’ll be looking at Africa, India and South America.” And, he adds, “This is very exciting for us that we, as a wholesaler, will be able to offer the whole world—we’ll have a truly worldwide offering with a global reach. We’ve already contracted out with companies throughout the world so we won’t have to re-contract it out here in the U.S. once it’s available throughout our distribution globally.”
The Price Beat Promise, Smith says, is part of the 4-part GOGO Guarantee instituted early last year, which plays directly to the travel agent and ultimately to the customer, as well. “It proves to the travel agent that we’ll not only deal with them as we have done since 1951, but we’re also saying that we understand their needs and their concerns and that we’ll guarantee certain service standards. So with the Price Beat Promise, we’re promising they’ll never lose a sale based on price.”
Smith says the company will continue to pro-actively promote that Price Beat Promise program to encourage further growth in agency sales. The way it works is that if an agent finds a vacation package from another travel provider (excluding auction sites) at a lower price, GOGO Worldwide Vacations will beat the same package and price by $10 per paying adult and $5 per paying child upon verification.
“And that’s not about us going down market or being cheap,” Smith says. “We’re just saying that it’s important to us that the travel agent should never lose a booking on the basis of price.” If, for example, there’s better pricing on online booking services likeExpedia, “…and the agent’s at risk of losing that sale to the online booking company, we’ll process that booking for them. It’s very simple—we say, if we can book it, we’ll beat it,” without having to jump through hoops to get the Price Beat Promise approved. The consultant who takes the call, he says, is fully empowered to make that decision, making it simple and easy to complete.