Travelstride has introduced FlexiPass by Travelstride, designed to encourage bookings for future tour travel. The company, a marketplace for multi-day
Travelstride has introduced FlexiPass by Travelstride, designed to encourage bookings for future tour travel. The company, a marketplace for multi-day tours and vacations planned by experts like tour operators and travel advisors, has been around for six years and serves, said Gavin Delany, CEO, as a sort of TripAdvisor or Kayak but for multi-day tours with a focus on adventure travel “in the broadest sense.”
Over 1,500 tour operators and travel experts are in the company’s network, and the site has generated over 150,000 unique reviews and over 50,000 bookable itineraries since it was founded. There are many set trips but also the ability for travelers to customize any itinerary.
To date, said Delany, “we have been a matchmaker connecting travelers with the tour operator or advisor and the consumer pays them directly.” The company’s value, he said, is “as a connector that allows consumers or advisors to research, filter and compare itineraries and brands.”
FlexiPass by Travelstride, which launched in late December, allows travelers to buy travel vouchers that are valid toward the purchase of trip packages from a curated roster of 23 global and local tour operators, providing options to visit hundreds of destinations across every continent through 2023.
Among the operators are high-profile companies like Collette, Audley and Intrepid. Vouchers can be purchased in three tiers with bonus savings as follows:
—$750 travel voucher, priced at $625 – $125 bonus
—$1,500 travel voucher, priced at $1,200 – $300 bonus
—$2,500 travel voucher, priced at $1,900 – $600 bonus
Once purchased, travelers choose a journey that matches their travel style from the selection of about 2,000 packages or by creating a custom itinerary. The vouchers are redeemed toward the total cost of their chosen trip at the current retail price.
Travelers must redeem their pass for a specific trip with one of the partner tour operators by Jan. 1, 2023, and must travel by Dec. 31, 2023. Additional peace of mind is built in with a full refund available within 90 days of purchase, and a small cancellation fee applying if they request a refund any time after 90 days. The FlexiPass is ideal as a gift, said Delany because it is, in effect, a gift card.
Travelstride also offers commission for travel agents on FlexiPass. The company pays a seven percent commission on the purchase value of a FlexiPass (e.g., for the $1,900 paid, not the face value of $2,500), and the payout is 90 days after the sale. Of course, the advisor also gets a regular commission from the tour operator.
What’s nice about FlexiPass from an advisor’s point of view, said Delany, is it offers an opportunity to reach out to clients and say, “this is a great financial opportunity for you; you can buy this voucher now, while you think about where you want to go.” It’s a nice way, he said, for advisors to show their value and a reason to communicate with clients.
Once purchasers buy a tour, they are committed to that tour operator. However, if they change plans, they can use the purchase to change dates, itinerary, etc.
Looking ahead, said Delany, FlexiPass will remain but will evolve. The level of discount will be less as things return to normal, but as a concept, it will stay around.
And Travelstride’s traditional business continues, but there has been a change in buyer behavior, said Delany. Trends include longer and more immersive trips, with the average trip length growing by 40 percent since the pandemic began; a new emphasis on far-flung, less populated and more outdoorsy destinations; very short or very long booking windows; and a heightened interest in flexibility. Travelers, said Delany, need to know they have the flexibility to cancel or change their plans with little or no risk.