University of Melbourne Archives

Everybody Loves a Road Trip

The Shell Touring Service

Katie Wood

The Shell Touring Service was an essential aspect of Shell’s focus on customer relations; in particular it provided a personalised mapping and service program for motorists when they went on holidays.

When a customer enquired at a Shell dealership for maps, the dealer would post the information to the state’s Touring Service office, which would post back to the dealer maps and other material specific to the customer’s enquiry. The dealer would call the customer about the maps, and would also ask them whether they required a pre-trip lubrication. Shell produced replica ‘passports’ for children that could be stamped at any Shell dealership with unique stamps. This encouraged customers to continue to use Shell dealers on their holiday. As the customer’s holiday details were lodged in the dealership’s records, dealers were encouraged by Shell to call or write to their customers upon return to enquire about a post-holiday service.

This service was provided on a mass scale in all of the major states. Shell was aware that the Touring Service should be seen as ‘a means of building goodwill in order to obtain the end result of custom at Shell dealer stations’. Shell’s promotional material still today conjures up the nostalgia of the road trip.

Source

Raymond H. Murphy, ‘Touring Service’, Together, Sep.–Oct. 1959, pp. 4–5.

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