Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Brick and Mortar Travel Agents - Start Cooking Up New Revenue!

Here's an interesting idea for creating a new revenue stream for your "brick and mortar" travel agency. Many agencies close their stores by 6PM. Earn increased revenue by extending your store hours and offering travel destination-inspired weekly cooking classes in your store.

Invite past customers and their friends to attend hands-on cooking classes focused on destinations, hotels or cruise lines that you sell.  Set a menu for each region, country or cruise line's best loved recipes, and conduct a hands-on cooking class.  Set-up is easy with hotplates...and tastings can be paired with regional wines. If you don't cook, find friends who do, and give them a discount on their next trip booked with you. You may even get a local cooking school to go in with you, as practice for their students!

Charge $49 per person, per session - complete with tastings - and apply the cooking lesson fee to any package booked with you to that destination within six months. You may also charge for a cooking "series" $249 for 6 cooking classes (one is free and one can be applied to a booking). You may even get regional cookbook authors to come in to do signings in your agency, once you've built a following, and sell their books too!

Tourist offices, cruise lines and hotels may also want to participate in your cooking class evenings - and you can charge them sponsorship fees, as well as receive exclusive travel benefits for your customers!  You can spread the word inexpensively through your local press, signage in your agency, and social media outlets (especially on your Facebook Timeline page - with gorgeous photography of the cuisine).

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I'm Back - and Ready to Spot New Revenue Opportunities!

OK, OK - I know it's been sometime since I've added to this blog. Three years to be exact. But time flies when you're working with top travel companies. Since my last entry, I've joined a NY-based vacation packager to 200+ destinations and more than 2,100 resorts, hotels and luxury villas worldwide, and I lead eCommerce strategy for all of its travel agent and consumer global brands.

 And that means that I am more focused than ever to find new revenue streams - and discover ways to implement them in order to add to our company's bottom line, and delight the customer. Not an easy task. So...I will write about creative solutions that I read and hear, that may contribute to greater profitability for travel companies.

 So many new applications and technologies have bubbled up over the past few years. We have an embarrassment of riches to choose from. But choose, we must - as marketers - and I'll share as many exciting new revenue generating opportunities as I spot.

 Here's one that I particularly like, from Madrid. We’ve already seen mobile technology explode for travelers, and here's a great opportunity to enhance the travelers' entire stay when vacationing. Visitors to Madrid can now hire iPads from iPadInTheCity, a new company that is loading up the devices with useful apps designed to help sightseers explore.

 Customers begin by visiting the iPadInTheCity website and selecting the days on which they would like to hire an iPad. iPadInTheCity has preloaded the tablets with apps that empowers tourists to get the most out of their vacation, including Metro Madrid, Weather HD, City Maps 2Go, Emergency Numbers, iTranslate, and Prado Museum Audioguide, as well as the Angry Birds app to help travelers pass the time.

As well as catering for individuals and families, PadInTheCity offers rentals to hotels and corporate events organizers, who can implement their own branding and apps. The iPads can be delivered to any specified location, costing EUR 25 per day after a EUR 390 deposit.

 Currently the service only operates in Madrid. With that in mind, is this one to partner with to help expand to other cities?