Trail Journeys, New Zealand

Cycling

Bike hire, multi day and custom trips

On the Path to Increased Customer Satisfaction

How Trail Journeys recognised the need to keep customers happy with new technology to support the end-to-end customer journey.

The journey…

Since 2000, when the Otago Central Trail in New Zealand first opened, Trail Journeys has helped thousands of travellers explore the beautiful Central Otago region.  The team are all Otago locals so they know the area inside and out, which means they create memorable cycling experiences tailored to client’s special interests, budgets and time constraints.  The service is comprehensive and covers everything from bike hire and transport, to self-guided packages and custom trips.

Outdated spokes…

Simon Stevens, General Manager, explained how they reached a decision regarding the new technology needed to manage the changing world of cycle tours complexity and ensure their customers were well informed about their chosen travel plans.

“We had been using an in-house program specifically developed for us fifteen years previously which was based on software for surf hire!  However, over the years, our business and our customer needs changed, we had no support and the software wasn’t being developed any further.  Capability became quite limited and was cumbersome and slow for our users. When looking for a new solution we found some for managing the bookings and some to manage the logistics processes – but not one solution that comprehensively covered all aspects of our business and could let us work the way we needed to for our customers. 

In 2017 Trail Journeys had become part of the World Expeditions Travel Group. Another tour operator in the group, Adventure South, was using a solution from Odyssey.  Simon checked it out and quickly realised that it would work for them and it made sense, being part of the same group, to use similar software. 

With a software background, Simon had considered developing new software himself but decided it was a complex project, would take too much time. Business had to continue as usual and deliver more to growing customer demands. 

“We’ve ended up with something really, really good that meets our needs and ensures we deliver great service to happy customers – thank you Odyssey!”

Shifting gears…

The decision was made and the project got underway. Simon and his team decided to run both the existing and the new system for the first season and then transition solely to Odyssey.  Says Simon, “this was a bit belt and braces for us, but it meant we could really get to understand the new system as it had so much more functionality and was developed for tour operators just like us.  It meant it was business as ‘almost’ usual and our customers still got the high levels of service we’ve always delivered.”

The new software was particularly well suited to the multi-day trips offered by Trail Journeys and could easily handle side trips to wineries, site seeing stops etc.  “It’s a very comprehensive product which met our needs really well” confirms Simon.

From training wheels to tour de force: mastering our new software

The team at Trail Journeys quickly picked up the new system, particularly enjoying the ease in which it put travel arrangements together, incorporating many moving parts and then presented professional itineraries to customers.  Customers have their plans delivered online or via paper – sometimes the preferred option, especially to clients of a certain age!  One of the first stages was to get all the travel templates sorted which meant putting itineraries together was much faster than before.  The team started with small trips and as confidence grew, they grew the list and added more and more logistics.

One key element that helped immensely in the success of the implementation was having Simon’s wife, Michelle, as product champion.  With her software background, Michelle got to know the software in great detail and was able to act as a conduit between the Trail Journeys and Odyssey teams ensuring that everyone was clear about what was happening, goals, deadlines etc.  Feedback was also given to Odyssey which helped ensure the system was set-up to work the way that Trail Journeys needed it to. Having Michelle as champion meant the transition and implementation were smooth – staff were able to get on with their work and not get bogged down in all the system details and intricacies.

“we chose to work with Odyssey because of their experience in our sector – they know the ins and outs of tourism and what was needed."

Why Odyssey?

Says Simon “we chose to work with Odyssey because of their experience in our sector – they know the ins and outs of tourism and what was needed.  We also really liked the way the solution managed the booking system and provided itineraries to our customers.”  Simon knew the project involved a significant amount of time and investment but didn’t feel it was a risk.  His and Michelle’s software backgrounds helped and the team felt that Odyssey understood them and what they were trying to achieve.  Simon adds “the Odyssey team is professional and has great energy, experience and enthusiasm – they just made it happen”.

How new tech is steering Trail Journeys to new heights

The new solution is delivering benefits to the Trail Journeys team and to its customers.  Bookings are easier to manage and quicker, which is important as they often involve many logistical parts per tour – bike and equipment hire, storage, accommodation, luggage transfers, tours within the tours – ie to vineyards etc. Gaining efficiencies here means customers get a better experience from the start.  Another key benefit is being able to give customers professional, accurate itineraries, which was lacking before. 

The team was excited about using the new system and quickly realised how beneficial it was to have everything in one solution, be able to answer customer questions easily, put complex itineraries together fast and deliver great itineraries.

About the new solution, Simon concludes “We’ve ended up with something really, really good that meets our needs and ensures we deliver great service to happy customers – thank you Odyssey!”

Trail Journeys is a long standing and well respected multi-day cycle Operator in Otago New Zealand. We thank Simon and his team for choosing to work with us & Odyssey, and providing this supportive testimonial and case study.


 

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