The travel industry does not live in a vacuum
Hopefully as you grow your business you are taking advantage of all the mistakes people who have come before you have made. I know I have made more than my share of them. Hopefully, you are also taking advantage of the successes they have experienced. Learning from others usually is a tremendous asset to any business. But the one question I have for you is “where do you look for these warnings and inspiration?”
Of course, you look to your colleagues and travel competitors. But how often do you look a bit further?
As I go about my day-to-day activities, I make it a habit to note what marketing works on me. And then I look to see if it might be able to be brought into my businesses.
Just this past week, I subscribed to a political newsletter (not gonna link it, it is somewhat NSFW but Google Matt Kiser and you will find it I am sure) , I found it informative and a lot of fun. The editor seemed to have my same sense of humor. Today’s issue mentioned that there is a voluntary subscription fee with a link to a page about the costs for MailChimp, hosting, etc. I followed the donation link and was able to subscribe to this “free” newsletter for an amount I felt comfortable paying. As I looked at his program, he has enough people subscribed and paying that he is generating more than $2500 a month (from 450 patrons) in income to pay the costs (and a salary) to produce the newsletter. Now I have heard of subscription travel newsletters – Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report comes immediately to mind. But this was different. Unless you shelled out the bucks, you weren’t getting Harper’s stuff. I could shell out $400 a month, $20 a month, $1 a month, or nothing—and still get the same content. Maybe it is a bit socialistic—the wealthy are supporting the poor, but I liked it.
My newsletter does not reach the masses that this one does (I think he said they are at 150,000 subscribers), but I like to think I put in some valuable information about traveling with a kid as a single parent. I talk about destinations, safety, tips, suggestions, recommendations, etc. I also offer some of the forms needed to travel solo with a child, a handy packing list and more. I had been distributing it for free (as we all do) and decided to give the variable/optional subscription a shot. I sent out a newsletter explaining it and I was shocked. My old-school method of thinking was that no one was going to pay for this. But my new-school results showed that from my first solicitation to my 13,000 subscribers, that 96 of them were willing to pay an average of $3 for the information I send. OK, so it is not huge numbers, but it has the potential to grow. But for now, I can expect to see an additional $288 a month to help offset the cost of the mailing list software and some other expenses. Call me shocked!
There are opportunities like this all over! Get outside of our industry and find them. Does Best Buy do something awesome? I saw a valet service that you text when you are ready to leave and they text you back with an ETA for when your car will be curbside. As Ferris Bueller once said…. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.