A lot has changed for the Best Youth Travel Agent of 2016. Interview with Danielle Dougan of StudentUniverse
More than 5,000 travellers voted for the best of the best in youth and student travel in 2016, including travel agents, tour operators, travel accommodation providers, and airlines. This year’s awards were presented during a celebration gala at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) in Belgrade, Serbia.
Danielle Dougan, Public Relations Manager at StudentUniverse, reflects on what the achievement has meant for the StudentUniverse team and the students they serve.
This is your second year in a row as Best Youth Travel Agent – what’s different this year for StudentUniverse?
A lot has changed since we won our award in 2015; one of the biggest changes is that we were acquired by Flight Centre Travel Group in December, 2015. Working together with their team we have incredible new resources to build a bigger and better service with more airline content, in more places. For students this means we have more deals to offer than ever before and we only expect this to keep accelerating in the coming years.
Did your 2015 award go recognised by your customers? If so, how? Will you be doing anything differently to spread the word about your 2016 award?
Yes, our customers were made aware of the award – we featured the winner logo and some information about the award on our homepage, about StudentUniverse page, in a blog post on our Corporate blog and travel blog pages, in our newsletter and on our social channels. It was important for us to thank all of our users who took the time to vote for us – it means so much to win this award knowing that it is based on a vote. We also promoted our win on our “New to StudentUniverse” site page so that students learning about us for the first time could learn about this recognition. In addition to all of this, in 2016 we also included a “thank you” message in an email to our most active customers letting them know that we won and thanking everyone who took the time to vote.
How do you inform the StudentUniverse team about their accomplishment in earning the award for Best Youth Travel Agent?
The timing could not have been more perfect, we had a planned all staff meeting on the same day we found out that we had been named “Best Youth Travel Agent” for the second year in a row. Our Executive Vice President announced it to the staff at the onset of that meeting. I think winning this award, especially winning it for the second year in a row, is a constant reminder to our staff that what we are doing is working and that our customers recognize and appreciate the service we provide.
What do your customers appreciate the most about StudentUniverse?
Our customers appreciate that we bring the world within their reach and that our entire business operates with their every interest in mind – we don’t try to be all things to all people, we try to be the best for students. We work tirelessly with students in mind – to get them the best pricing and terms on their airline tickets that enable them to have life-changing experiences. From a students’ first international flight, to study abroad, a spring break trip, a weekend trip to visit home or a friend studying at another university – some of these experiences would not be possible for students if they did not have access to discounted airline tickets. We are proud to be the catalyst for these life-changing experiences, and even happier that students have had such great experiences with us that they have taken the time to vote for us and help us achieve this honor twice in a row!
StudentUniverse has been successful in the mobile domain thus far – can travellers expect to benefit from new and improved mobile experience and functionality in the coming year?
Absolutely. We just re-introduced hotels back into the app, so students have the power to book tens of thousands of hotels and hostels from the palm of their hand. Keep an eye on StudentUniverse and mobile – we may be coming to more devices near you!
See the Hall of Fame to learn more about other winners of the Global Youth Travel Awards.