Trafalgar shakes off competitors, launches brand overhaul

Dan Uglow

Trafalgar has said sayonara to its laurels and kicked off a significant brand evolution.

Incorporating a new tagline, fresh creative assets, a complete overhaul of its brochures, new tours and a brand new website that has just gone live, the overhaul is one MD Matt Cameron-Smith says is necessary for survival.

Speaking of the shift, Cameron-Smith said, “Tonight is about change. If you don’t change, you die”.

The announcement was made last night to trade and media partners in Sydney by the company’s global CEO, Gavin Tollman.

In 2011 Trafalgar launched their Insider experiences, which became synonymous with the brand and lead to a 37% growth rate in 2013 – the biggest ever in the company’s biggest history. However the brand’s management feel that the “Insider” message has now become ubiquitous, with many brands adopting a similar position.

So they decided it was time to shake things up.

Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly Gavin Tollman said, “I knew at launch last year that we had to change.”

“The imitation wasn’t frustrating. I wouldn’t say flattering either. When you’re an industry leader it’s inevitable.”

“The brand has evolved a lot. What we are reflecting in the update is simply what our customers are saying about us.”

The new look, which has the tagline of Simply The Best was, as Tollman put it, the culmination of 12-18 months of hard work behind the scenes, and the slog of three marketing agencies and two heads of marketing.

Tollman told TW it was a personal reflection of the feedback he receives on a daily basis from reading online reviews, personal letters and first hand customer feedback.

 “’The best’ was the single most common theme,” he said.

At the centre of the rebrand is Feefo, a customer review system that allows travellers to review and post their views on Trafalgar as a brand within the Trafalgar website. All reviews are published against the relevant itinerary, unedited and unmoderated.

Even negative reviews are published, with the brand’s holding the value of transparency as fundamental, while the weight of positive customer experience will outweigh the negative.Europe_and_Britain_AU_2016_Front_Cover_High_Res

Cameron-Smith added word of mouth would help keep the brand on top, saying, “We believe in the power of advocacy. We are certain it will make a difference.”

Meanwhile Tollman encouraged the trade to use the reviews as a selling tool when working with clients.

“Turn the screen around and show customers. We encourage agents to engage with the third party reviews and sit with your clients and show them the unedited reviews,” he said.

Tollman believes Trafalgar is the first brand globally to publish unedited, unmoderated third party views publicly on its website and states that while the idea was bold it was unsettling for some within the organisation.

“There was a lot of fear around that.”

But with a 97% satisfaction rate, Trafalgar and its parent company, Travel Corporation knew it would be a safe bet to be bold in this space.

“We’re not selling widgets, we’re selling people’s dreams. I don’t want to be the best kept secret in travel,” Tollman said.

As well as the new branding, extra destinations and itineraries have been thrown into the mix, including Iceland for the first time in Trafalgar’s history, and journeys that tap into the current zeitgeist, with The Celtic Explorer itinerary following the locations made famous by hit TV show, Game of Thrones.

The new Europe brochure, which includes these tours goes on sale today while the new website is also unveiled for the first time today, along with the customer reviews.

Commenting on the relationship with Trafalgar, Feefo CEO, Andrew Mabbutt said, “At Feefo, we are incredibly proud of the work we are conducting with Trafalgar as their preferred customer feedback partner.

“The integration of Feefo on their website is superb and clearly supports the best practice we endorse – being transparent, open and honest about the feedback Trafalgar collate from their customers and displaying it for all to see.

“Unmoderated, unedited customer reviews are more trusted by consumers and Trafalgar lead the way in this approach and it is a testament to the outstanding service they offer to their guests.”