After nearly four years of development, TripFlock has launched an online platform that provides travel agents with a suite of business tools while offering consumers a trip-planning space where they can interact with industry professionals.

On the agent and travel company side, TripFlock is described as "a full business-management platform" by President and CEO Bill Almonte. It includes a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to help agents manage and communicate with clients, while also giving them the ability to build their own website and set up a private workspace for their team. It also offers advertising, marketing and lead-generation capabilities as well as integrated messaging, social connections, analytics and more. Supplier accounts are available to businesses such as restaurants, hotels, GDSs and tour operators.

Agencies can use the platform to connect with travelers and other businesses. Content sharing via the platform can be finely targeted, Almonte said. For example, a supplier could send a deal to just travel agencies, or it could share a promotion with only consumers.

The platform's flexibility enables agencies to create custom desktops incorporating the tools, apps, GDSs and booking sites of their choice. Consumers can use the platform as a free planning space and can invite friends and family to connect by creating their own accounts. They can also interact with agents and companies. Travelers can create trip requests, which are generated into leads for agents, as well as trip journals for upcoming travels.

TripFlock has been in beta-testing for several years (the consumer version is still being tested), and though he declined to provide an exact number, Almonte said the platform already has "a few thousand users."

There are also several thousand users from Almonte's old host agency platform, Agent RC, all of whom will be migrated to TripFlock. Almonte set out to develop TripFlock after seeing success with Agent RC but realizing that the market for host agency platforms was limited. With TripFlock, he said, he wanted to create a single space for travelers, agents and suppliers that was also very customizable.

Among TripFlock's capabilities, Almonte said, is a feature that will enable an agency or supplier to invite clients into a branded version of the platform that will include the business' logo, colors, booking tools and more. Inside that branded version of the platform, he said, they can "communicate and collaborate with their own clients."

Bill Coyle of Brunswick, Ohio-based Encompass the World Travel said it was TripFlock's flexibility that drew him to the platform. Until recently, the agency had used ClientBase for more 20 years, Coyle said, but decided to make the switch as "that product became quite stagnant."

Cyndi Hansen, executive travel director of Medina, Ohio-based Red Amore Travel, also used ClientBase in the past but didn't find it user-friendly. Instead, she was keeping track of clients and travel with her own system of spreadsheets and software but is now using TripFlock as "a way to basically streamline my business," she said.

Dawn Asmar, a home-based agent from Massachusetts, previously used the in-house platform of her former host agency for CRM purposes and more. After she moved to a new host, she tested a variety of platforms before choosing TripFlock. She said she finds the platform intuitive.

TripFlock, free for travelers, is currently available at a 50% discount for agents. A pro plan, which includes the business tools, is $10 per month. A pro-plus plan, which includes marketing, lead generation and reports, is $20 per month. Pricing for multiple agents and a private workspace is based on the amount of users and can be viewed on
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