Can travel agents thrive by partnering with travel media companies — and vice versa?
AFAR Media continues to push the boundary between media company and travel curator with its latest AFAR Journeys push to connect readers to curated, bookable itineraries in Switzerland.
The digital marketing platform allows the magazine to sell partnerships to destination management organizations, such as launch partner Switzerland Tourism, who can then promote curated itineraries within the destination.
Each of the itineraries are then bookable through AFAR’s curated list of travel agents called the Travel Advisory Council.
Readers are encouraged to submit more information for a “personalized trip plan to Switzerland.”
AFAR also now offers custom content initiatives, in a thorough execution of its media savvy for a business strategy.
This is a compelling means to continue engagement with readers while also boosting profitability with another revenue stream for the media organization.
By building credibility with content, the brand can then translate that into actual, bookable experiences. Other travel brands must consider how the media and content elements play into the overall strategy of creating value for customers.
This value is first created with the content and then further enhanced by the authentic delivery of the brand promise.
Such partnerships are not new: Rand McNally first acquired Tripology, a travel agent lead gen tool, for similar reasons.
Although maps were an odd type of content fit and the deal didn’t pan out well. USA Today swiftly stepped to to purchase the company, which was then integrated into its travel product to offer access to travel agents to its readers.
Travel agents, both independent and larger agencies, should take a page from the media playbook and consider how quality content based on extensive industry expertise could be leveraged to both build reputation and a client base in a specific travel niche.
This is a vital way to engage the traveler and prove worth for future bookings.
The traveler feels more confident that they are paying a domain expert and are more likely to see the value in the cost.
Nick Vivion is a writer and strategist. He was a Tnooz reporter and global events lead between August 2012 and July 2015. He was the launch co-founder of Booty's, a global street food restaurant in New Orleans and was recently AVP Operations, North America, at Zomato.