Randy LeGrant from Geovisions.org just sent me the below memo. Seems like the Backpacker industry is uniting in a really great way, I have to wonder if teh volunteer industry will ever get over the bickering and unite like this. It seems like its about time (and no IVPA and BBC don’t count).Date: November 2, 2010 7:58:43 AM EDTSubject: Backpacker Transport Operators Network Formed at WYSTCSource: WYSTC BlogAuthor: Jacqueline
In what could prove to be one of the most significant announcements in backpacking for many years, seven backpacking transport operators have taken the first step in forming a joint global marketing organisation, in a private meeting on the opening day of WYSTC 2010.
The group have agreed, in principle, to drive this initiative forward into a formal organisational structure. They have set themselves a 6-week schedule to create a budget for web development, database development and a business-to-consumer trade show schedule.
During this period the group, to be known as the Backpacker Transport Operators Network, will also clearly define their charter of operation as well as operational guidelines within a code of conduct.
“Ensuring that all members at this table operate to the highest possible standards that reflects positively on each other’s business is a key component to the success of this organisation,” stated Oz Experience Director Greg Zammit.
Most significantly, the founding members of the Backpacker Transport Operators Network will work toward sharing their databases of customers such that joint marketing efforts can be undertaken and a referral program put in place.
“One of the frustrating things about our business is that every year we start with a prospects database of zero – there are no repeat customers. With this fantastic group of companies it means that suddenly my customers become Stray or Oz Experience prospects, in effect you are creating return customers,” said Rob Sheridan Managing Director of Moose Travellers Network.
“From a customer’s point of view there is real value in receiving discounts and product updates from like-minded companies, as well as a knowledge that these organisations are striving together to provide a style of travel that they desire,” summed up Stray Asia and Stray New Zealand Managing Director Neil Geddes.
The founding companies are Stray Asia, Stray New Zealand, Oz Experience, Dragon Bus China, Bamba Bus Latin America, Moose Travellers Network Canada and Falafel Bus Middle East. This group is expected to grow to approximately 10 or 12 organisations over the next few months.