News | OnlineCruise tracking tech brings friends along for the rideThis article was originally published onBy Linda Fox | January 14, 2014 While everyone acknowledges travel is one of the most shared subjects across social networks, making money out of it remains a challenge.Enter TrekTraka, a different take on trip sharing which leverages the traveller's friends and family network for potential future sales but perhaps in a more subtle way than other social media marketing efforts.Chief executive David Clarke describes it as an engagement tool which also generates leads for travel suppliers, more specifically adventure specialists and cruise operators, and intermediaries.The system works by travellers signing up to have information posted on their social networks while they are on a cruise which uses GPS tracking to show their current destination, points of interest, videos and other pertinent information.The 'CruiseTraka' updates are also sent out via a daily email. Clarke says: "We're facilitating ongoing contact between them and their friends. Most people go quiet, particularly on a cruise because it's so expensive (to keep in touch). We're typically getting 30 to 40 visits back for every passenger that opts in."Share this quote The lead generation element kicks in when friends are taken to a tracking map within the cruise operator's or other travel supplier's website which they can then build their own marketing messages into.The company is working with Carnival Cruises in Australia as well as smaller niche players such as Aurora Expeditions which specialises in trips to Antartica and the Artic on smaller ships.TrekTraka started with adventure travel placing a tracking device with groups to Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro and progressed from there to small ships and then larger cruise lines.The cruise sector presents its own specific challenges including getting the tracking data from different vessels and creating content for all the relevant destinations and regions - 1500 different sailings from Australian ports alone.However, it also represents a significant opportunity for the company as cruise companies strive to capture the attention of a wider audience.As an indication, Clarke says that of the cruise operators it is working with, between 25% and 50% of passengers are opting in and from 30 to 50 visits back to the tracking map are being made by friends of the travellers.Once the trip is finished, travellers also get a link to the tracking map.