015 – Sarah Pallack of BPCM – Mapping Travel Public Relations

Public relations for travel with BPCM…

Sarah Pallack, Director of Travel PR for BPCM (a fully integrated global public relations agency brand building and communications in fashion, beauty, travel, lifestyle and luxury markets – (bio)), joins joins Pavan Bahl , Samantha Shankman and John Matson  at the MouthMedia Network Studios.

Adding travel to fashion, the push to digital, and Twitter vs. Instagram

Pallack shares how she runs travel wine and spirits department, and the work with hotel brands and properties, destinations from regions to islands, primarily working with luxury clients because they have budgets to do interesting things, and the experiences they offer to guests and journalists and stories to tell are interesting. How she came into a fashion house and started a travel arm, and the founders are world travelers. Doing a project for a countries like Morocco, how people talk about traveling as destination-based instead of property-based. Doing creative and edgy things and the way travel is talked about is different, more global. How traditional PR involves a lot of digital, why broadcast is difficult for luxury brands, working with social influencers as a lot of one-offs because of individual travel experiences and why that is preferred, using Instagram a lot because of the visual aspect of travel, and why Twitter can be a challenge due to language, Pinterest is strong, and whether Snapchat will be a “thing” with influencers, how Instagram Stories helps, Snapchat vs. Instagram, and being able to see what happens on Instagram with a map of activity. The way print is still the holy grail of what brands want, while the actual value and malleability of digital is much higher.

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014 – Jason Shames of Skipper – The Ninth Room Where It Happens

Automating hotel room bookings for groups and events with Skipper…

Jason Shames, CEO and CoFounder of Skipper (a marketplace to help groups and events find hotel rooms – (bio)) joins joins Pavan Bahl , Samantha Shankman and John Matson at the MouthMedia Network Studios.

A successful company pivots, 9 rooms matters, and an RFP platform

Shames shares the genesis of the company as Jetaport six years ago, originally making planning trips “suck less”, and team-members working for private companies building mobile apps, having some success but seeing transactional issues with groups as an offline experience for above 8 rooms. Weddings as an example, a proprietary algorithm force ranks hotels, and building out their own RFP platform.

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013 – Eli Ostreicher – Part 2 – The Difference

Pt. 2 – Serial entrepreneurialism and giving back…

Eli Ostreicher, serial entrepreneur, motivational speaker and Founder/CEO to eleven travel and luxury companies (2x INC 500 #1 in Travel) including Regal WingsRegal JetsRegal CardRegal SolutionsGeeFiOne Bag TagGTTFP, Regal Engraving (bio) joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Marc Raco for Part 2 of a raw and candid interview — along with some sushi – about travel, entrepreneurialism, being successful “in spite of”, and “saying no to political correctness” at the MouthMedia Network studios.

Giving and sharing, Best Buy, and getting feedback

Ostreicher reveals why he does things for others and gives of his time and knowledge as well as financially at times, the importance of sharing wisdom, why he stresses that he’s accomplished so much by age 33, his view on religion, whether and how he decompresses, why Best Buy is his “drug” of choice, the iPod V1, why he chose travel as his business focus, why he is taking notes every step of the way, the power of Google Survey, and the revenue prospect and rationale of Regal Engravers.

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012 – Eli Ostreicher – Part 1 – Rags to Riches, Narrow and Deep

Pt. 1 – Successful  travel and luxury entrepreneurialism and making a difference…

Eli Ostreicher, serial entrepreneur, motivational speaker and Founder/CEO to eleven travel and luxury companies (2x INC 500 #1 in Travel) including Regal WingsRegal JetsRegal CardRegal SolutionsGeeFiOne Bag TagGTTFP, Regal Engraving (bio) joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Marc Raco for Part 1 of a raw and candid interview — along with some sushi – about travel, entrepreneurialism, being successful “in spite of”, and “saying no to political correctness” at the MouthMedia Network studios.

A rags to riches journey to success at 33, One Bag Tag and Regal Engraving, and an uncle rescued

Ostreicher brings sushi, reveals why he went into the travel industry, his rags to riches journey that came from a lot of pain, being successful in against all odds, how focusing in one industry led to success and being narrow and deep, why Monday is the best day, and heading in direction of luxury instead of travel. The revolutionary idea of the One Bag Tag to eliminate all paper luggage tags. LVMH as a client, Regal Engraving as the newest company and the plan for 55 luxury engraving kiosks with master engravers in malls worldwide, largely by referral by other retailers, two years of talks with Visa, targeting the 1%, the Regal Collection of companies, Regal Wings (first company) and Regal Jets, and the rescue of his uncle Jacob Ostreicher.

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011 – Gene Quinn of Tnooz – The News and The New of Travel

Travel industry news and analysis with Gene Quinn of Tnooz…

Gene Quinn, Co-founder of Tnooz (a news website focused on news and analysis about travel technology – looking at marketing, systems, devices, distribution, social media, startups – (bio)), joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Peter Crysdale at the MouthMedia Network studio at Voyager HQ.

The birth of Tnooz, 800 startup pitches, and mobile is the future

Quinn reviews Tnooz as an eight-year old brand created in depth of a recession, to cover digital travel economy, resulting in a B-to-B media company. How the industry thinks of itself when covering itself. The digital travel economy, innovation through startups (which mean disruption), running more than 800 startup pitches, looking at systems. How he’s excited about mobile, and started a business three years before Facebook started. Mobile vs. mobile first, vs. mobile-centric, how a lot of companies have created incubators, and looking at global distribution companies like Amadeus.

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010 – Diego Saez-Gil of bluesmart – Travel Packed with Smarts

Smart luggage and Internet of Things travel products with Bluesmart…

Diego Saez-Gil, Co-Founder and Chairman of bluesmart, a company offering a suitcase that tracks itself, auto-locks, and charges devices – (bio)) joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Peter Crysdale at the MouthMedia Network studio at Voyager HQ.

Company origins from a passion for travel, first to market, and the biggest challenge

Saez-Gil discusses his origins in Argentina, how backpacking around Europe created a passion for travel, leading to travel company on of the first mobile apps to book reservation from phone, WeHostels, the decision to create a smart connected suitcase with GPS, charging and tracking, weight sensors, digital locking, launched through an extremely successful crowd-funding campaign, raising a large amount of capital, and building a global brand bringing innovation into travel goods industry. Creating the first major suitcase innovation since adding wheels decades ago, the biggest hurdle was in R and D and creating reliable location tracking from anywhere in the world, which was a major feature resulting in funding it.

Being the best, learning from mistakes, and the TSA lock

The market, and how bluesmart is creating defenses for a competitive edge, how it’s good that there are other innovators in space, how “is this is something people want” has moved to “how are you different”. How the focus now is on being the best product with best design and materials, and the battle is with themselves. Whether bluesmart is a luxury move vs. a change in the way people travel, the credibility of having a previous acquired company, previous mistakes including not thinking of the company and the roadmap enough, and being too focused on making the product. The in-house development team, integrated with Magento, and selling on Amazon. Trends idea of the Internet of Things, an API integration with Uber, and the goal of making the journey as enjoyable as the destination. A TSA approved lock for master key, digital plus mechanical, to avoid breaking it to open it. Making sure everything is compliant, and the timeline of a one year development plus nine months to get to shipment of 10,000 units, How traveling abroad is important for many countries and the weight feature is important. Plus, several big developments coming soon.

The weirdest travel location, first companies, and brothers in the jungle

Personal questions in Off the Beaten Path covers the weirdest place Saez-Gil has ever been, robot stores, selling drawings and party tickets, starting a bakery, a memorable trip with brothers that ends up in the Amazon jungle, and reason to travel more.

References:

Amadeus

The bluesmart marketing video

 

009 – Avin Samtani of AquaVault – A Combination for Sun and Safety

Portable Outdoor Travel Safe with AquaVault…

Avin Samtani, Co-Founder of AquaVault (a Portable Outdoor Travel Safe that was invented so you can lock up your valuables and go for a worry free swim) – (background), joins Pavan Bahl , Samantha Shankman and John Matson at the MouthMedia Network studio at Voyager HQ.

A robbery leads to a business, perfecting the design, and Shark Tank

Samtani recalls how the theft of the co-founders’ own belongings at a beach realized the need for a safe to store valuables at a beach or pool, and that day the AquaVault was born. Portal safes that lock on any lounge chair or umbrella, or any tubular support, how people get hands on the safe, prototypes with 3d printers, how it took 7 prototypes to be satisfied with the design, and getting patents. How the co-founders decided to do move forward with a strategy, starting with an inventor trade show, surf expo, then Shark Tank the experience of being one of the only companies to be selected from of tens of thousands of applicants, and what the Shark Tank process was like.

Marketing AquaVault, sourcing in China, and building a travel brand

Being a rare physical product as travel startup and an unusual concept, why it is an advantage that hotels can’t really easily test a physical product with hotel branding, the process of sourcing through China, the complexities of shipping worldwide, and how growing up in Hong Kong makes Samtani relatable to manufacturing partners. Marketing on mostly social media, the success of good press, $5k/month spend on social media ads, videos converting well, Facebook as the most successful and carrying over to Instagram. Amazon as the biggest platform. Ponding the phones five hours a day for sales and press and being relentless, key decisionmakers are pool managers and hotel GMs, how AquaVault frees up time for employees, and creates revenue as many hotels charge guests. AquaVault’s current presence in, any water parks and hotels, the new more portable version with slash resistant nylon, can put it in carry-on, and selling well. AquaVault’s 6-12 month initial sales cycle, and how Samtani would change the sales approach looking back. The next step of a waterproof phone case, building a travel brand, and why they’re not worried about people stealing chairs to get a safe.

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008 – Matt Lerner of MetroButler – The Butler Does It

Airbnb property management and concierge service…

Matt Lerner, Founder/CEO of MetroButler, (a front desk, concierge and cleaning service rolled into one for shared homes like Airbnb that eliminates all the logistical burdens of short-term renting by providing services customized to your home) – (bio), joins Pavan Bahl , Samantha Shankman and John Matson at the MouthMedia Network studio at Voyager HQ.

Business model, expansion, and competition

Lerner discusses how hosts come to MetroButler, which takes over a property and does everything necessary to make the rental successful, whatever is related, and MetroButler gets 25% of the fee of bookings, the host has to do nothing. Typical host demographics, advertising in NYC, expanding in other cities and some pilot cities, how it takes a lot of time to work out quirks of other properties, and lead gen is largely inbound. A fragmented market with a lot of competitors, defending against companies that perform a lot of services that might want to pivot into this space, how customers interface with the MetroBulter team directly, and why Airbnb won’t likely get into this business.

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007 – Samantha Shankman – Maybe Too Many Tourists

Overtourism in Barcelona and globally…

Samantha Shankman, travel reporter, producer currently working on a documentary about overtourism in Barcelona (bio), joins Pavan Bahl and John Matson at the MouthMedia Network studio at Voyager HQ.

Skift and Time, Inc., post-Olympic Barcelona, and responsive infrastructure

Shankman talks about covering the business of travel, working on travel stories from the early days of Skift, joining Time Inc., working in the capacity of booking travel, now owning a bed and breakfast outside Barcelona, and how all of the experiences have allowed her to see travel from several angles, and on both business and consumer sides of travel. How a cold email got her a job as an early employee of Skift, how she decided to go into video production, and turned onto overtourism. Barcelona as an unknown city before the 1992 Olympics, its improved infrastructure, how Barcelona succeeded in building a brand as an artistic city with urban and beach experiences, great for dining, nightlife and art. The impact of urban planning being done so quickly and in response to a rise in tourism, how there is so much tourism in specific focused areas, and the issue of pickpocketing. And Shankman’s experience with the changing dynamics of moving from a startup to a big company to a freelancer.

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006 – John Matson of Voyager HQ – Where Travel Begins

Travel innovation community building with Voyager HQ…

John Matson, ‎Digital Director for Voyager HQ (a club for travel innovators which connects travel startup founders, investors, and corporations), and Co-Director of Startup Grind New York – (bio), joins Pavan Bahl and Samantha Shankman at the MouthMedia Studio at Voyager HQ.

A pilot, helping companies grow, and a dent in innovation

Matson discusses his background as a growth strategist being involved with startups, and current role helping companies grow as the Digital Director, with a focus on marketing. Voyager is a “pilot” to demonstrate necessity and impact of a structured community and space for travel innovation, powered largely by the family office of Fareportal’s Sam Jain [Episode 001]. Finding that travel startups need immense capital or a unique set of dynamic partnerships, how B-to-C really is B-to-B-to-C, providing this resource to these kind of companies, and why it turned into more of a community approach and an open ecosystem. How Voyager is not just Sam Jain’s accelerator, but Sam Jain making a dent in innovation. Growing more nearly 375 digital members and 40 members in the space since August, 2016. How the space was so hard to navigate. And an American Airlines integration for startups as a first major initiative, from a roundtable.

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