Travelhost Magazine Franchises That Died In 2009…A Virtual Memorial Part II

About the same time last year, Jeff Loudon posted a virtual memorial for the markets that died in 2008. He called these markets the “Living Dead.” This is because even though the franchise had failed, the magazines were still available online at Travelhost.com.

To carry on this annual tradition, I’ve decided to post the markets that died in 2009.

This list may be incomplete, and is to the best of my knowledge correct. If I’ve made a mistake, please email me at the link to your right, and I’ll either add or subtract a market from the list. These markets are in no specific order.

Perhaps, if you’re a prospective Associate Publisher, for your due diligence you may want to contact a few of these people to talk about their experience with Travelhost? (Googling the market + Travelhost should get you the results needed.)

Dead markets for 2009: Rest In Peace…

Evansville, IN

Baton Rouge, LA.

San Luis Obispo, CA.

Cincinnati, OH.

Charlottesville, VA.

Gainesville, FL.

Rockford, IL.

South Bend, IN.

Lafayette, IN.

New Hampshire

Ann Arbor, MI.

Charlotte, NC.

Knoxville, TN.

Rochester, MN.

Waco, TX.

Westchester, NY.

Orange County, CA.

Houston, TX.

Minneapolis, MN.

Bloomington, IN.

Santa Barbara, CA.

Long Beach, CA.

Modesto, CA.

Boston, MA.

D.C.

Atlanta, GA.

Puerto Rico

Hawaii

Ogden, UT.

Kansas City, MO.

Bend, OR.

Ruidoso, NM.

San Diego North, CA.

Sioux Falls, SD.

Stockton, CA.

Toronto, Canada.

Chicago, IL.

Please keep in mind, every one of the entrepreneurs who ran a Travelhost franchise were hand-picked by Travelhost to be successful. These people were all hard-working, smart, creative people with a business background. So, I leave my readers with one question today:

Why did all of these hard-working entrepreneurs, who represent nearly half of the current Travelhost network, fail?

(Please keep in mind, these people were hand-picked by Travelhost.)

31 Responses to “Travelhost Magazine Franchises That Died In 2009…A Virtual Memorial Part II”

  1. Linda Giannosa Says:

    Brian –
    Would you please quickly let all know on your list that Denver is NOT dead, or resting peacefully. No rest at all! We’re restructuring and refocusing our efforts.
    Thank you.

  2. Linda Giannosa Says:

    I’d like to add a few additional comments to my earlier post.

    We’ve struggled. But it was primarily due to OUR mismanagement and inexperience in sales. TRAVELHOST Corporate had nothing to do with our lack of success. Quite the opposite.

    The ‘mother ship’ has been extremely flexible and accommodating during this time of transition for me and my company. I’ve asked a lot from them and they’ve been willing to meet me more than half-way.

    Bolstering and strengthening our communities’ economic health through tourism is a lofty and attainable goal; one we’re very proud to be shooting for.

    TH’s print & online products and our mutual mission to guide the traveler continue to be valid. There is as much or more potential as in years past.

    I thank TH and the other APs I’ve talked to for their support. But success or the lack of it boils down to me and my team.

    And we’re still kicking.

    • bdhickey Says:

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for sharing! It sounds like Travelhost has come around, and is offering some assistance to AP’s who are struggling in a major way…that’s great news!

      Can you share how Travelhost has helped you to be more successful this time around, so that other AP’s in the same boat can benefit from this information?

      Has Travelhost lowered your publishing prices, so that you pay what your competition is paying in your market?

      Please share, if you will…Thanks!!!

      Brian

  3. Janis Chamoun Says:

    So sad to see all these people in the same boat as I. I know how much pain I have suffered; it’s hard to imagine so many others going through what I have gone through. Please keep this going so we can get Jim Buerger behind bars, where he and his cronies belong. I plan to go to the Minnesota Attorney General, and at least try to keep their scam out of Minnesota.

    • bdhickey Says:

      Hi Janis,

      Thanks for sharing…I hear what you’re saying, and I appreciate your feelings. Justice will be served, as many people feel the same way you do.

      It sounds like Linda, the AP from Denver, was given a chance to survive by Travelhost…as per her post below. Perhaps they have finally come to their senses, and lowered prices to AP’s so they can compete in their markets?

      It’s too bad they waited so long, or maybe the rest of us could have stayed in business too?

      Or maybe the “new” Travelhost survival plan only consisted of a re-vamped marketing plan for AP’s to sell more ads in this economy? Even though that’s not really the problem, that’s good news too…as it only proves Travelhost is operating as a franchise, and will be held liable for the crimes they’re committing.

      Give it time, Janice. Travelhost want us to get tired of shedding light on their operation…but in due time, the truth will set them free.

      Regards,
      Brian

  4. Linda Giannosa Says:

    Brian –
    I’ll state two things:
    a. TH did not reduce my print fees.
    b. My personal situation as an AP is unusual, at best.
    TH has accommodated my unorthodox and unex-
    pected immersion into AP-hood.

    The rest is between me & TH.

    • bdhickey Says:

      How are things going, Linda? Hope all is well in your neck of the woods, hows the next mag coming along?

      Without reduced print fees, and flexible press run and page count, I don’t know how you’ll do it, Linda…I wish you the best of luck.

      Let us know how you’re doing!

  5. travelhost AP Says:

    I noticed two more markets are now gone for 2010 – Northern Utah and Central Texas… and strangely, Jeff Loudon’s Washington Wine Country still shows a Winter 2009 date???? Is he still around?

  6. Concerned, long-time AP Says:

    From what I hear, TH lost 42 markets in 2009 alone, so your list may be on the short end. And that’s not counting who’s inevitably dropped off thus far in 2010. It’s like running from a burning building.

    • bdhickey Says:

      Agreed, I wonder who’s left at this point? It’s a shame they won’t do the right thing, and change for the better. My list may be on the short-side, but don’t you think 40 markets in one year is painful enough?

      If TH loses the same number of AP’s this year…

  7. another AP teetering Says:

    Well, I hear rumblings of more leaving in 2010. As I see it, TravelHost’s days are numbered and apparently so are mine. Think they’ll give me a refund when they go under???

    Hmmmm…

  8. oldAP Says:

    Add Evansville, IN to the 2009 list as well.

  9. Ray GL Says:

    Thanks so much for this info as you saved me from investing …

  10. a past AP, and happy now! Says:

    And I’ve heard in addition to Evanston, IN, that another Chicago market is out. And the Maine market, too.

    tick tock… tick tock….

    I’m just waiting for the end!

  11. William Says:

    I looked at TH 15 years ago and didn’t jump in, maybe that is good. But I always thought the concept was good and now that I live in Ireland I have put the wheels in motion to print the same type of magazine for this market. But as I read your comments maybe I am getting ready to make a big mistake? It sounds like TH management is flawed from what I’ve read but maybe the concept as well? Maybe print is dying? I would love to hear your comments since you are seasoned professionals and have “been there and done that”. While a post in this forum will be read by me if you’d rather contact me privately you can email wkdavenport@yahoo.com and you can call, it is a U.S. phone number so no international phone charges – 603 672 4035.

    • bdhickey Says:

      Hello, and thanks for writing in. Just to clarify, I’m going to answer your questions, and then contact you privately.

      The concept of having an in-room publication is a good one (IMHO), even though print publishing is getting tougher and tougher to profit at. This is why a good website and mobile application really help. Even so, having the print pub there at the right place, at the right time is key.

      “The Publishers Advocate” is here to serve as your due diligence for the Travelhost “opportunity.” Even if you find that buying a Travelhost franchise is not the right thing for you, you may discover that printing your own independent magazine might be the way to go? There is more profitability when you don’t have to over pay for printing and production, especially if you find that there’s no value for the overcharging (franchise fees).

      If you have little competition in the way of in-room publications, you may have an excellent opportunity to capture the market!

      Brian

  12. 2010 in review: The Publisher’s Advocate Blog…The Travelhost Magazine Opportunity Exposed. « Publishing Industry Practices Says:

    […] The most popular post that day was Travelhost Magazine Franchises That Died In 2009…A Virtual Memorial Part II. […]

  13. Former TH AP Says:

    I just happened across this website today. I read through it, took the survey, and felt I had to respond to the information provided and add my own Travelhost thoughts and experiences.

    As a former TH Associate Publisher my story is probably pretty typical of many former AP’s, but just in case you wanted to know;
    – My initial investment to TH was $50,000 ($25,000 for the “distribution” rights & $25,000 for the first two issues of the magazine.
    – I published over 15 issues (every other month, was not told I could or should publish quarterly. Quarterly might have saved my business)
    – I produced four TH maps during the course of my business.
    – Total sales amounted to $268,500. My costs ran approx. $250,000
    – After 1 1/2 years publishing I had run out of money. I called TH in desperation to see if maybe they might be able to offer suggestions or any type of help to get the business on its feet. Up until that point I had heard from the business development folks only twice. I talked to a gentleman who promised me a world of help and would guide me “step by step” through this process. He said he would look over my ad count, expenses etc. and get back to me. I never heard back. After a week or so I called again and he said he had looked over everything and he was ready to talk about my business but was busy at that moment and asked if he could call me back. I agreed and never heard back. I called a couple more times each time leaving a message. I never heard back from him.
    – I decided to keep the business going and robbed my 401K because the business was making money but not enough to live on, but felt the business was close to breaking through. I published eight more issues and burned through more than $60,000 of my retirement and all the savings of my family (more than $30,000 additional dollars).
    – I called TH again a little over a year after the first set of calls and told them I was again out of money and done with the magazine. I talked to a new executive who listened and offered to lower my publishing costs, in half, and help me through this period. He said I had the ad base and count to succeed and just needed to keep trying a little while longer (it didn’t matter, I was putting my family at to much risk). I said no that I was out of money and I asked to be released. They agreed.
    – Total lost in opportunity costs and investment, easily over $300,000.
    – We (my family) had to sell our house to get out from under most of the debt I had incurred. I ended up moving to another city to find work leaving my family behind.
    – I found work similar to what I did prior to TH but have had to find another job at night to help pay off credit card bills.
    – We will never financially recover from the experience.

    However, I readily acknowledge that I signed the contract, I paid the money and published the magazine. I don’t think I have any basis to sue and I try not to be bitter over the experience.

  14. former Sales Says:

    Denver is out and I was not paid for my sales and she is in bankruptcy

  15. Gloria Says:

    Brian, Please remove my name “TODAY” from your list of – Dead markets for 2009: Rest In Peace…magazines who failed in 2009.

    Monterey, California is still printing and has been for the past 5 years. I am trying to make a living and don’t appreciate “YOU” telling the world I no longer am in print. I believe the law calls this Slander. “Defamatory words tending to prejudice another in his reputation, office, trade, business,or means of livelihood” ! I believe this could be a lawsuit in itself? Shame on YOU, Sorry you lost your business and honestly I really don’t know what my future will bring, but this is not right for you to do to others, who are struggling in todays economy to make a living. I don’t need any negativity brought around my business, Thank You!

    • bdhickey Says:

      Hello Gloria…glad to have you with us!

      Thanks for writing in. Your market is removed from our list, and I’m sorry for the confusion.

      Please understand that this blog is not intended to hurt anyone. Not Travelhost, and especially not the associate publishers! Actually, the goal of THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE is just the opposite!

      We are here to HELP!

      And, we’ve helped MANY people already…and you’re one of them! (You just don’t realize it yet…and that’s OK.)

      You will realize who the “bad guy” is soon enough…until then, good luck surviving as one of the “One Percenters” of Travelhost!

      THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE

      PS…There’s no slander on this website. Not one word. Check with an attorney…I did.

  16. Gloria Says:

    Brian just to keep the RECORD straight for everyone reading this…..I am NOT with YOU…..or this BLOG. I am ONLY protecting my Business and didn’t appreciate “YOU” telling the world “MY BUSINESS WAS CLOSED in 2009” ….. I am an independent owner of a business and it has NOTHING to do with YOU. Good luck in all your endeavors.

    • bdhickey Says:

      Hi Gloria,

      Thank you for your comments. I think you’ve made it clear that you’re not “with” THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE. It’s clear that you’re one of the people doing really WELL with the Travelhost business model, and thats great! I mean, you wouldn’t ENDORSE Travelhost on the inside back cover of your OWN INDEPENDENT magazine, if you weren’t completely convinced that Travelhost was running a top-notch business opportunity. And, were actually making money.

      Right?

      Perhaps have some kind of special deal with Travelhost?

      I don’t see too many ads in your magazine…and printing at Travelhost, well…it is AWFULLY EXPENSIVE!

      (2-3 times the industry average, in case you were wondering.)

      I’d love for my readers to hear how to be successful with Travelhost…please tell us, if you will?

      How do you survive?

      Regards,

      THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE

      • AlanB Says:

        Brian, Do you have any further update on Travelhost with either improvements made or still the same as usual that has been exposed over the past two years? I have been contacted as an AP and am wondering if you have heard any more feedback either positive or negative.

      • bdhickey Says:

        Hello Alan,

        I’ve heard nothing positive about Travelhost, so one could only assume it’s business as usual. Are you an Associate Publisher for Travelhost now, or looking into the “business opportunity?”

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