TRAVEL-GHOSTS?

What is a Travel-Ghost? I believe Jeff Loudon best explained it in his Travelheist Investor Blog earlier this year:

“The Living Dead” Travelhost’s Secret to Market Share…

“Travelhost still proudly boasts that it is in 135 USA markets. Check out its website and all of the intros to cities. Well, I hate to be picky, but this isn’t quite correct. OK, let’s not mince words…it’s outright false. Travelhost is presently alive and well in 80 markets.

To be fair to Travelhost, the website does depict 150 destinations. The only problem is that 62 of the destinations are what I characterize as “the living dead.” These are issues that no longer publish and are no longer in hotel rooms. On average, they died 1 year ago. Travelhost simply appropriated the online version of these mis-fortunate APs that have failed in the last year on average. (my estimate).

You can easily see the “living dead.” The names are omitted from the masthead and the welcome page. The issue date is usually entirely removed as are any dates on ads and content. We spent several hours over the weekend tallying every destination in the nation on Travelhost.com.

A casual visitor will find 258 destinations. About 1/3 of the time, a click to a destination will lead to an alive and current edition, 24% of the time, the reader (or prospective new AP) will be tricked by reading a “living dead” issue and 43% of the time no destination will be found.

Two things really disturb me about this:

First: I find that I’ve been lying when attempting to sell regional or national ads. In my region, I’ve been touting markets like Boise, Spokane, Santa Fe and Boulder, among many others, as being alive. The truth is, that in the entire Western US, region, exclusive of California, there are only 11 living markets, including mine.

Secondly: The mortality rate of APs is staggering. As previously mentioned, there are 62 “living dead” Travelhost issues on the Travelhost website. The website was started 2 years ago, so none of these roadkills are more than 2 years ago. My guess based on a careful review is that more than 45 APs lost their investment and “failed” in the last year…more than 50% of the remaining “network.” This also confirms my failure rate over the past 3 years that is substantially greater than the new APs brought into the network.

The Living dead– a virtual memorial

Albany/Saratoga Albuquerque Atlanta Augusta Big Sky Country Birmingham Black Hills Boise Boulder Co. Buffalo/Niagra Central Northern Oregon Coast Central/South Jersey Chicago-Far West suburbs Columbus Ga Council Bluffs-Midland Dallas , Scranton DC Metro (Washington DC that is) East Alabama Flint and the Thumb Greater Boston Greater Columbus OH Greater Delaware Greater Madison /South Wis. Greater Montgomery Ala Greater St Louis Greenville-Upstate SC Long Beach Cal Long Island NY Los Angeles Miami Beaches NE-NW Georgia (4th person in TIPS marketing training with me–3 others deceased) Napa Valley Norfolk-Porsmouth NE New Jersey Northern Arizona North Michigan NW Arkansas Panama City-Beaches Philadelphia Piedmont Triad Pueblo/Canon City Rochester/Finger Lakes S. Indiana-Western Kentucky San Diego North San Francisco-San Jose Scranton South Jersey Shore South Orange County SE Kentucky SE Minnesota SW Michigan SW Virginia Space Coast Spokane The Berkshires Tupelo-NE Mass Twin Cities Virginia Beach West Michigan Williamsburg Wisconsin Dells

I don’t guarantee absolute accuracy here. Since Travelhost keeps the failure rate a closely guarded secret (for obvious reasons), I looked at all issues on the Travelhost Website with no-current dates to get this list. My belief is that it is very accurate”

I’m sure by now, this memorial should contain a lot more, but you get the point.

Turnover.

Travelhost makes money on turnover. People who’s lives are “turned over” because of this practice.

It’s sad, and sick. With a 90+% chance of failing as a new AP at Travelhost, you’re VERY likely to become a “TRAVEL-GHOST.”

But that’s just the way it is…at Travelhost.

Oh, and last, but certainly not least today…the Travelhost AP’s are not the only Travel-Ghosts.

Every one of the unfortunate employees let go yesterday by Travehost, is affected by Travelhost’s bad business practices.

Ten days before Christmas, Jim?  Really was that necessary??

Guess you could call those poor people “TRAVEL-GHOSTS” too.

2 Responses to “TRAVEL-GHOSTS?”

  1. thetravelmaven Says:

    At one point during the two-year span that I was an Associate Publisher, Travelhost had sold the Buffalo/Niagara, Finger Lakes, Albany/Saratoga/Adirondacks (sold twice during my 2 yr. tenure), Syracuse/St. Laurence, Central New York, Long Island and Westchester editions. Now, the only edition that is still up and running is yours in Westchester County, Brian. Do you suppose that those looking into purchasing markets in NYS are told this?

    RIP Travel-Ghosts.

  2. former franchisee Says:

    Now that Brian is gone, there are now absolutely no Travelhost editions in NY state whatsoever. Not a single one. As “travelmaven” pointed out, they were operating throughout the entire state at one point (except NYC- they’ve NEVER been in NYC. Too sophisticated a market for them), but now there are 0 editions in the entire state.

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