More Of The Missing Travelhost Magazine Puzzle Pieces?

Little by little, we’ve been accumulating peices of the Travelhost puzzle, like anthropologists assembling bones from the beasts of the past.  Thankfully, it’s been helpful to some people already.  We’ve had several notes of thanks sent to The Publisher’s Advocate, and hope to have many more.  Keep up the good work everyone, and thank you all for your help!  I’d especially like to thank those on the inside, for doing what’s right…let your conscience be your guide!

On to todays post…

Whispers of “TravelGhosts” from the halls of the Travelhost Marketing Department tell me that $4,200 per quarterly issue is “earmarked” for marketing at Travelhost. I just learned this information, and find it to be quite interesting…if it’s true.

If you do the math, you get a big number! Let’s take a look:

Let’s assume Travelhost has 70 quarterly publishing markets…probably less, but I’ll be optimistic.

70 X $4,200 = $294,000 per quarter! $294,000 X 4 quarters = $1,176,000.00

OVER ONE MILLION DOLLARS “earmarked” for “marketing” yearly at Travelhost!

That’s not counting the millions of other dollars that cover production and printing (and executive overhead).

Does ANYONE see a million dollars per year in marketing hard at work?

I’m thinking these dollars are “earmarked” for marketing Travelhost markets to potential AP’s (market expansion), not for marketing Travelhost as “America’s Number 1 Travel Magazine.”  (Building the brand)  So in theory, the AP’s that are going broke paying the marketing budget, are actually paying for the marketing to their replacements for when they finally go bust.  Kind of like digging your own grave, if you get my drift.

Does Travelhost promote their brand in any way?

They’ve become quite good cheerleaders to their network of AP’s, hyping people up with “positive thinking” and planning to work the plan and plan the work.  This is all good stuff, especially when your brand has no legs of their own…preaching from the pulpit is about all you can do to keep the soldiers that are still alive…well, still fighting!

The only place I see any real money being spent is the 3 year old, unfinished website.

Which brings me to another question:

Has anyone wondered yet why Travelhost is building their website using a proprietary, wholly owned platform of their own?

The plan that is known inside the company, is that Travelhost will build an online presence that will take them directly to the consumer. Supposedly, in 5 years, they will have reservation systems, scrapbooks (MyTravelhost), meeting planners (AgendaBuilder) and many additional elements.

They fully intend to build the company to the point that the print component, the AP network, is but a small portion of the overall plan.

(The skills to do this haven’t been shown yet, but this is the plan, supposedly.)

AKA…they’ll virtually eliminate Travelhost’s reliance on the AP network. As the print product becomes less and less important, and the website starts generating revenue of it’s own…they won’t really need you all that much anymore…will they?

One of the core first steps is to populate the website with local business listings…what Dave Portener calls the “micro engines.” (It’s the new 1/12th page unit for the magazine that automatically populates the website, iphone, etc.)

Essentially, Travelhost is having the network develop the content for the website initiative. It’s an actual plan! A pretty good one from their point of view! Not so good when you’re the AP.  Why?

Well, to start with it, the AP network is paying for it.


So, considering the fact that the AP network doesn’t actually own the website (we just have “use of it” while we’re AP’s), where is the rest of the money going?

Advertising? No.

Direct mail? No.

Email newsletters and blasts? Not yet.

Radio and TV spots? Nope.

Social media and online marketing? If it’s there, I don’t see it…unless I look really hard.

Why doesn’t anyone in NY know what Travelhost Magazine is, unless I tell them? Especially when $4,200 per quarter, or $16,800 per year goes toward “marketing?”

Since my total printing bill for 15000 magazines is $15, 750.00…over 25% of my dollars paid to Travelhost is earmarked for “marketing,” yet I don’t see a nickel of it going toward my market.

I see a few webinars on the schedule, and a “regional meeting” here or there…well, not “here” in the Northeast. But that’s a whole different post.  Why is the Northeast so barron of Travelhost markets?

My point is this. Where does all the money go, Travelhost?  Attention: There’s MORE:

Consider this breakdown…(these are real numbers)

If printing at a regular printer is about $5500,

and graphic design is another $2500,

and “marketing” is another $4200,

where does the OTHER $3550 go as well?

Does anyone know where this money is going?

I now have $7750 unaccounted for…every issue. 4 Times per year.

$31,000 per year, totally unaccounted for. (from your pocket, to Jim Buerger’s Ferrari?)

And I’M the one who’s labeled the crook by Travelhost? I’M the one being called an “extortionist” by Roger Thrailkill to prospective associate publishers out there! Dave Portener says I’M the one who “ran my business into the ground.” If you didn’t read that one, heres the link:

Can anyone break it down for me, please, because I don’t understand what’s going on here?

Why does this networks hard-earned advertising dollars disappear, leaving no evidence of money well spent anywhere?

Where does the money go, Mr. CMO?

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