Q&A: Gary Jacobs, founder of Spinning Globe

Q&A: Gary Jacobs, founder of Spinning Globe

What is Spinning Globe? 

Gary Jacobs

Spinning Globe is a unique website which integrates both a consumer travel inspiration site, with a travel trade training and marketing platform.

My aim when creating Spinning Globe was to provide the travel industry with consumer travel trend insights in order to help improve business strategies through sales, marketing and training. We are a unique, first of its kind website integrating both the consumer and travel trade under one roof.

A key focal point of Spinning Globe is our VFam Powered by Spinning Globe agent training program. We’ve taken the time to understand their business and frustrations, we also recognise the value travel agents continue to offer to consumers; They are a knowledgeable asset and still play an invaluable role in the industry. Championing this, users generating itineraries, created on Spinning Globe, are recommended specialists best qualified to book that trip, therefore, delivering hot leads from genuine consumers.

We will encourage travel agents to engage more frequently with e-learning, by providing a program designed in a FAM trip format with an element of gamification.

Shrinking budgets, lack of flight availability and limited places on FAM trips means the opportunity to train and engage agents is decreasing. The VFam Powered by Spinning Globe program is a revolutionary approach to travel agent training as it allows agents to learn as they sell and can visit a destination, as they would on a FAM, virtually from the comfort of their desk or tablet.

Agents can join ‘hosted’ VFams, live webinars run by tourist boards and their partners, or take a journey in their own time by completing FAMs added by tourist boards or tour operators.

It will include more imagery, video, 360 virtual tours and gamification than any other e-learning platform and the ‘discover’ mode provides a library of information for agents to refer to on a daily basis. VFam’s rich database of travel information means agents can refer to it daily for inspiration and ideas and even use it with their clients in-store to help them plan a holiday.

Ultimately, VFam powered by Spinning Globe aims to encourage a genuine interest in learning and training through CPD, not just monetary incentives, to improve customer service levels, help tour operators increase sales and tourist boards their visitation numbers.

Additionally, our site will connect travel agents with hot consumer leads, and match them with clients based on their destination knowledge and experience.

For consumers, our motto is Search Less, See More. We want to engage with consumers at the consideration phase, and provide a one stop shop they need to both inspire and help them plan their next trip. Spinning Globe will inspire consumers with destinations that best suit their interest to get the most out of their travel experiences.

 

Why did you create it; do you have a background in travel?

I’ve been working in advertising and marketing communications, specifically in the travel industry, since 1992; my first client being World Travel Market. Since then I, and my advertising agency FKC, have worked across the travel spectrum covering: tourist authorities, national, regional and city, tour operators, travel agents, airlines, cruise companies, ferry operators, train operating companies, hotels, attractions and holiday extras.

During that time I have developed a deep understanding of the marketing issues that the different audiences face on a daily basis.

For example; how a destination can inspire a potential visitor who isn’t even considering their destination; how a consumer can find inspiration in today’s algorithmically structured online search space; how a travel agent can demonstrate the value they offer to consumers when the new generation of travellers don’t really understand what a travel agent is all about and finally; how tourist authorities can train the travel industry in a more engaging way when it’s impractical to take many agents out on a FAM trip and online e-learning has not evolved over the past 10 years or more.

 

Who is it for?

Consumers, tourist authorities, tour operators and travel agents. The platform and access to Spinning Globe data, insights and reports will also be available to the wider travel industry including airlines, cruise companies, train operating companies, car hire, hotels etc. We’re also open to brand partnerships, working with brands wanting to engage with consumers who are planning a holiday, from foreign exchange to the right type of suntan cream. Keeping to our ethos of inspiration content, we won’t be selling advertising but working with partners from an advertorial perspective to bring added value content to the website.

 

How does it work?

There are 4 key elements to Spinning Globe: travel search and planning tool, a marketing platform, a data dashboard and a travel agent training program.

As a travel search engine, we will personalise the consumer travel planning and booking experience. Users are encouraged to search by interests; perfect for travellers who have an idea of what they want to experience and enjoy but don’t know where they want to go, or when.

The Trip Planning tool allows consumers to plan and create holidays which can be shared on social media, with friends or through our ‘send to Travel Agent’ program which matches consumer itineraries with the most relevant, experiences travel agents.

As an affordable marketing platform for tourism boards, and their partners, we will provided a 365 day a year marketing channel. Spinning Globe will present the destination with editorial content that will inspire consumers and assist agents with itinerary planning.

The third element of Spinning Globe is our SG Insights which delivers a live, real-time data dashboard to assist marketers with analysing and reporting accurate consumer trends, helping them focus their plans and budgets towards what consumers currently want. With daily results, tourism boards will not need to wait for annual reports or data from third-party sources.

Finally our VFam Powered by Spinning Globe is an innovative new e-learning platform that uniquely trains agents using the traditional ‘fam trip’ model but in the most colourful, fun and engaging way yet.

 

When does it launch and how can travel agents get involved?

Spinning Globe is in beta development stage and soft launches in November. A full launch is scheduled for early 2018.

We are now looking for tour operators, independent and specialist travel agents to work with us. During soft launch there is an opportunity to feature on Spinning Globe as part of the ‘send to travel agent’ program to receive genuine leads, from consumers engaging with the website at this early stage, at no cost to the operator or agent. In 2018 we will look to roll out a permanent agreement with the trade and introduce a lead fee.

VFam is in the initial stages of development and we are excited to present the opportunity to tourist boards, tour operators and agents from WTM. Beta development and soft launch is scheduled for January 2018.

Jill Sayles
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Jill Sayles
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