Travel lifestyle brand Travel Channel is gearing up to offer its viewers unique opportunities to book trips and itineraries inspired by the network's travel programming.
Travel Channel has finalised a multi-platform partnership with Rand McNally'sTripology.com business to connect its audience with trained "tripologists". According to the company, these personalised online travel agents are equipped with the specific episode details - city, hotels, restaurants, food markets, etc., and will book trips to cities featured on Travel Channel's television series.
The first series to officially launch as part of this partnership is Anthony Bourdain's "The Layover," which premiered this week.
"We continue to explore new opportunities to marry inspiration with activation," said Shannon O'Neill, senior vice president and chief financial officer, Travel Channel.
The company plans to roll out additional specialised itineraries across many of its properties.
"Tripology.com is not a travel agency. We do not sell tickets or trips," said John T. Peters, vice president, digital strategy and travel, Rand McNally. "What makes this service unique is that we help find the travel experts who specialise in specific experiences - and in this case, allowing travellers to create similar experiences they watch on television."
How it works?
Viewers can go to Travelchannel.com to watch additional video from a particular show and then research locations and activities. The site then connects them with Tripology.com, an interactive referral service focused on connecting travellers with qualified top-rated travel specialists.
With Tripology.com, a user tells specialists where they want to go and what kind of experience they want. The request goes to a Travel Channel tripologist who specialises in the area, and is armed with actual itineraries from programming. Usually within 24 hours, the user will receive an email or phone call from a Travel Channel tripologist who can help plan the trip, and book with them directly.
As per the initial feedback from early testing, most of the trip requests received to-date are for Europe in 2012, and the top requested cities are Barcelona, New York, Madrid, Paris and Rome. Travel experts note that many users start their research now for discussion over the holidays, and then January through March is the time frame for trip planning and booking.