The popular and fun pub-crawling adventure known as Trolley Pub combines the camaraderie and socialization of the bar experience with a scenic ride around town that is powered by the pubgoers themselves.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, however, many bars and social gatherings were greatly restricted or prohibited altogether for fears of worsening the pandemic.

Trolley Pub’s owners and parent company TourScale used CanaryTEXT to greatly increase the visibility of both Trolley Pub and their water-based paddle bar, Paddle Pub, along with improving the attractions’ customer engagement and specifically their feedback responses in the form of online reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Trolley Pub was founded with only one pedal-operated trolley in Raleigh, North Carolina, but years later, the popularity of the trolley-based bar has expanded to six locations around the country.

Up to 14 patrons are able to bring their own alcohol to fuel their pedaling adventure in an unconventional, eco-friendly ride around downtown areas in various cities in the continental United States. TourScale’s Paddle Pub is an outgrowth of the business as well; it features a similar bar that floats on water and is also peddled by its patrons.
Strategies and Goals

The owners of Trolley Pub made a goal of amassing as many reviews on Google, TripAdvisor, and Yelp as possible. They felt that the single most effective way to grow any small business is by attaining online reviews. The owners found that while email marketing had once been effective, it was no longer working as well for their business.

Additionally, Trolley Pub was paying for ultra-focused (and expensive) Facebook ads that only targeted previous customers. This strategy used a lot of time and money with poor results. The owners’ specific goals for using CanaryText were:

  • To streamline their appointment-booking process
  • To find a better alternative to email
  • To cut down on wasted marketing funds
  • To acquire as many online reviews as possible


While email marketing did not get Trolley Pub the reviews wanted, CanaryTEXT was extremely effective for increasing business and acquiring reviews on the desired websites. Trolley Pub’s owners found that using CanaryTEXT to interact with customers increased their engagement in the following ways:

  • On TripAdvisor, the business was listed as the #1 water activity in Madison and is making progress on becoming the #1 activity overall.
  • The company has over 50 reviews due to the use of CanaryTEXT (after having three total before with the use of email marketing).
  • The results from Raleigh and Charlotte, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, are now coming in and they look similarly promising despite the situation.


By using CanaryTEXT, Trolley Pub was able to cut down on the hassle of email marketing and use primarily texting to acquire new customers and to get return customers. The company’s online reviews jumped from three to 50 while using the service. The owners were very pleased with the CanaryTEXT service and felt that overall it revamped their business model and their ability to communicate in real-time with their customers.

Trolley Pub continues to use CanaryTEXT for review requests as well as for other marketing ideas in the future, including those that involve acquiring new customers. The owners are considering several ideas, including the use of the service to contact guests on their birthdays. The owners feel that most of their marketing can translate well into the text medium and they are excited to see their business grow with the assistance of CanaryTEXT marketing in the future.