: Flyfishing Forum Travel Business
I am currently investigating a way to fund the forum and possibly grow it's potential after 8 years of running it as a hobby which has sucked up a lot of time and money.
If i do this, I would ask that members book their angling (vacation, business) travel through the Flyfishing Forum. The Forum would get a share of the travel referral commisions which will be used to run the site and more - pay graphic artists, web developers and editorial material from authors, etc. Grow this thing into something special.
If this venture is successful YOU could be getting a job offer to work fulltime for the Forum. It's all up to how many people participate. A true Forum. We could network with lodges and destinations worldwide. Someone would have to go check them out to make sure they are legit. What a job that would be.
All ticketing transactions are with the airlines so you have full customer service etc - and the Forum just gets a share of the commissions. You will experience no difference between this arrangement and Travelocity, Oribitz, etc. The site will behave the same functionally.
We have enlightened you to new destinations, created long distance exchanges of home waters, and been the catalyst for life-long friendships too numerous to count. I don't think it would be an unreasonable request to ask that you book thru this new site, when ready.
I ask with sincerity and candor, would you all support me by booking your travel through the Forum?
It involves an investment of time and money so I would like to get a sense of confidence before I dive in.
thanks and perhaps this idea will be a defining moment for the Forum
07-18-2007, 11:00 AM
I would definitely do this. Heck, in the past few years I've been booking airline tickets to see various members of the Forum through expedia. I see no reason why I wouldn't be able to do this through the Forum itself if and when it's set up to do so.
Great idea for yourself, the site, and its members.
07-18-2007, 11:11 AM
I think you know I don't pull many punches when it comes to my opinion so with that said I would have say maybe. The value proposition would have to be there for me to pony up significant portions of my hard earned cash. I would have to have confidence that any problems would be resolved in a timely fashion etc...All that being equal or better than the competition and yes I would use the site but it hasn't been that much for me lately and I wonder about the scale needed to achieve the above requirements.
Well you don't pull punches but you may punch a bit early and miss a few points.
The cost would not be any more than any other site except sometimes the direct airline sites are $5 less - but they only show you their own flights so you don't see the potential for getting to the same place for hundreds less sometimes.
All travel agency / referral sites make a portion of the fare back from the carrier, not the passenger. Passenger fares are essentially the same. Hope that part is clear as it seems misunderstood in your post (e.g. "pony up")
The difference is they put it in their pocket. This model would pay the Forum first then whatever else is gravy, not "requirements" as you put it. There is a big difference between requirements and growth potential.
Requirement is to stay in the black and pay for some portion or all of the forum's operating and development costs. You are right it might not even pay for the forum costs! But then again there are over 26,000 unique IP's hitting this site and if there is no difference in price for coming to a clave why not book this way to fly on the very same plane on the same airline from the same city for the same price? One clave may cover a couple of months depending on the number of attendees.
I have not investigated but packages and charter deals become available to "travel agencies" so we might get a much cheaper rate as a result of working together, something that you will not see from other sites. So it could very well be much cheaper.
I use these sites all the time and customer service like flight changes are always made with the airlines directly.
The #1 benefit to using them over the airlines site is to look across the various carriers to see which fares are best. Customer service is with the airlines directly for the most part.
07-18-2007, 11:47 AM
Interesting idea Juro, I do not fly much, but the potential for increased air travel for business is always lurking at my door.
I often do not act on those opportunities when they arise because I am usually in the middle of something else. But times are a changin'. Never the less keep us posted.
Don't forget about my offer to help out with the other issue we discussed Juro. I am still interested. I know you have been busy, I have been as well.
07-18-2007, 11:54 AM
if you do this, i would be interested in booking a trip or two a year.
I would love to see montana, yellowstone, go steelheading, BC, alaska etc in the years I am here, but i really am not interested in this 'outfitted' luxury fishing thats $2000+ for 4 days. . . .
I am not assed about 3 wines with dinner or gourmet lunches, i just want a place to sleep and good fishing waters.
I guess i'd like the old style rough it fishing, near public or at least fairly cheap private waters, with the option to hire a guide for one day if i wanted to.
At the moment the market seems to be top end luxury or DIY, and nothing in between.
Thanks for the feedback so far...
any other thoughts out there?
07-18-2007, 04:18 PM
I don't think I missed anything so maybe I just need to clarify a little.
I understand the cost option but the value proposition is more than cost. Functionality and ease of use are a big part of why we go to the other sites you mention. If I found that here I would use it. But I would want the same email alerts; tracking capabilities etc...and I think the vast majority of your 26K hits would want that and more considering how many of those hits are actually registered users I am guessing there is not a loyalty play to be capitalized on a large scale basis.
The scale I mentioned was not in reference to the site costs as they stand today but the scale needed to deliver the value proposition described above.
I wasn't trying to be pessimistic but just give a realistic assesment of what I though customer behavior might be. If you have those things worked out I think its a great idea.
As a moderator, you will have the opportunity to review some prototype sites soon.
Essentially there is little difference as it is hosted by one of the big travel servers or so they say.
We shall see!
Juro, you've got a great idea! As a traveling fisherman and part Scotsman, you know my thoughts. Sean brings to the table some good points; but I wonder, of the 26k hits, how many would support the forum for equal, but not necessarily better service/products.
As an active member of the forum, I'll do what is necessary to insure its long-term viability.
An approach that might work is a turn-key package to some of our more familiary destinations, e.g. Acklins and Cape Cod.
07-18-2007, 06:35 PM
I would use the forum service for sure. Yes we all would look around for a deal but if the forum travel site was equal or in the ballpark I would use it.
Good luck and great idea. This is the best forum out there. I want it to continue.
07-19-2007, 07:08 AM
I make a major journey (flight across oceans) nearly every month.
I book most of the flights mysef over the internet and now have some experience as to where the deals are.
Most of my fishing is booked through some sort of outfitter.
I would be happy to use a forum service but I will only do it if it is not more expensive than what I currently use and the service is as good.
The outfitters that I use have some exclusive locations and also their service is usually very good.
07-19-2007, 08:10 AM
Sure. I'd use the Forum to book commercial flights, rental cars, etc. I don't travel all that much, but do go to Florida annually to fish and the Forum Travel service should work out fine for that.
07-19-2007, 04:06 PM
ditto on all counts with smcdermott.
07-20-2007, 11:10 AM
I don't take many full blown retail FF vacations but when it happens, I'd be happy to book it through the site.
I have had a hand in that world.....it's tough and can be financially dissappointing from time to time. Good luck on gettin 'er goin'!!!! I'll be happy to pass the word on when you get started.
07-23-2007, 08:36 AM
When taking a trip I always check all the travel sites, along with the airlines sites, to find the best price and times for the trip. All things being equal and even if it cost a few bucks more I would prefer to book through this site and help it be successful. I can't say that it would be my only source but I would certainly check it out.
07-23-2007, 05:47 PM
Sounds like a very good idea to me. I travel a couple times a year to Florida and the Bahamas. I usually book through Expedia or directly through the airlines, but I would use the forum, if prices were comparable as you say they will be. I think that once you got it going the word would spread through other forums that many of us visit.
07-23-2007, 07:57 PM
I would definitely try it. I would be willing to pay a 10-15% premium if other factors like ease of use and, particularly, robustness were high. By robustness I mean how well the system can deal with things when the original itineray blows up for any of the usual reasons.