Flight Centre takes off with new UGC site

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Multichannel travel agent Flight Centre Ltd. has turned to technology firm iUpload to create a user-generated platform on its e-commerce site in an effort to retain customers.

Flight Centre is a bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce store chain that sells travel packages to customers in Australia, the United States, Canada, Britain, New Zealand and South Africa. The site was looking to communicate with its million-plus customer base in a more interactive way.

"It will be a great tool to build trust about the products people may wish to purchase in an online and offline environment," said Grant Waldeck, head of marketing at Flight Centre, Brisbane, Australia. "We think that when people come across our blog site, there will be a great opportunity to retain new visitors if they find the information on the site trustworthy and usable."

With the iUpload platform, Flight Centre users can upload video, image libraries, podcasting and can group posts by category. Users will include 7,000 Flight Centre travel agents and interested customers. Professional and user-generated trip reviews are posted.

In addition, the site will feature a click-to-call link where customers can call local travel agents to book a trip or get advice.

The Flight Centre hopes that the new social platform will drive business across channels.

"Our first key performance indicators will be to get the blog to increase the amount of traffic to our Web sites and then from there, to impact on the enquiries to our bricks-and-mortar shops," Mr. Waldeck said.

Other iUpload clients using similar features include McDonald's, Motorola, NYTimes.com and MTV.

"Most of our clients are motivated by the fact that we offer another touch point to market to a customer," said Robin Hopper, founder of iUpload, Burlington, Ontario.

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