Jun 06, 2023

Time to take another dip in the 'Travel Shark Tank.': Travel Weekly

Welcome back to "Travel Shark Tank." We have several new business model proposals vying for our investment, so please pull up a chair and let's see if we can spot the next great idea. As in Part 1, contestants will summarize their plan, and I will offer a brief response (in italics). But please let me know what you think of these proposals, as well.

Fairly Cool Travel: Unbearable heat is turning consumers away from prime-time travel to some of the most popular worldwide destinations. Our new agency will specialize in finding and selling destinations that have, for the most part, escaped major long-term heat issues. We will be "Fairly Cool" about finding the best places to send people. Our independent contractors will be fully trained on alternative cool destinations. Our cruises and tours will all be "Cooler Temps" certified.

I think this approach has possibilities as it addresses a situation that is only going to get worse. "Cool Travel" is something you can own, and I like that. Your last sentence turns me off, since I think you are on shaky legal ground certifying anything dealing with weather. But if you can own alternative, "cooler" worldwide destination planning, this idea could be investible.

Upside/Downside Travel Consultants: We've spent several years in this industry wondering what we are missing online. We think we've discovered a potential gold mine. With every cruise or riverboat, with every tour or air package, even with insurance we offer, we will offer both the upside and the downside of every product we promote. We will not seek promotional funds. Our suppliers won't understand our concept at first; but after our sales figures demonstrate the strength of this honest approach to travel selling, we think financial support will not be an issue.

There is a need for this kind of honesty in agency marketing. But I am just not confident that you will generate anything but animosity from suppliers when you go out of your way to point out flaws in the product. I will skip this one.

VRVIP Air-Land-Sea Concierge Services: We are going to introduce a new concept in travel, an elegant online "Engage With Your Agent" service in virtual private agency meeting rooms. Every activity of every guest will be enhanced by a personal concierge who specializes in air, cruises, etc. Guests will pay $300 per year, initially, for this service.

I think that one reason you may not see a large salaried concierge staff joining the customer service process is that it is going to be very difficult to manage the cost of the size of the staff you will need. For $300, I'm not seeing long-term profitability.

The Pizza Travel Planning Company: This is an idea my husband and I designed after using Door Dash for dinner and working as outside agents for a large agency in Philadelphia. This new idea will require that potential travelers call us before 2 p.m. We will then create a cruise or tour package, complete with brochures and a great deal of additional information wrapped in a lovely gift box. It will be delivered to the guests' home within three or four hours of the initial call. The pizza will be customized and of the highest quality. With the pizza and delivery, we are still looking at a total cost of no more than $50.

Deep dish or thin crust? What about cauliflower and gluten-free? And doesn't your driver have two stops, the pizza place and your office, before delivering to the client's home? Or perhaps you plan on operating your travel agency out of an abandoned Domino's storefront. Travel firms that have tried to combine food and travel consulting have generally failed. Leave this idea in the pizza box and then toss both of them.

Fairly Cool Travel:Upside/Downside Travel Consultants:VRVIP Air-Land-Sea Concierge Services:The Pizza Travel Planning Company: