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Xavier LeMond's P1D Business & Travel Blog



Since I accepted the challenge of marketing the Platinum One Destinations Travel Membership, I have often been asked "Can a home-based travel business can be profitable when the U.S. economy is in such doldrums?" Well, yes. But in order to succeed in a



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Does A Travel Business Make Sense In This Bearish Economy?

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 05:14:00 +0000

Since I accepted the challenge of marketing the Platinum One Destinations P1D Exclusive Travel Membership, I have often been asked if a travel business - especially a home-based travel business - can be profitable when the U.S. economy is in such doldrums.The answer is an enthusiastic, if qualified, yes.No legitimate business just makes money automatically on its own, however. As a business owner, not only are there services or products you need to provide, you need to have an understanding of the industry you’re operating in and know how to market what you have to offer.Thus, in order to succeed in a travel business like P1D or any of its competitors, there are at least three things you MUST know:#1 The Basics of the Travel Industry.The business of travel is changing. Traditional "brick and mortar" agencies have given way to travel portals like Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz and nearly 50 percent of traditional agencies closed their doors between 1996 and 2006.Still, even as the size of the travel industry continues to grow - despite our slowing economy - (the Travel Industry Association predicts a continued growth rate of 4.6 percent annually for the next 10 years), these online giants have seen an unexpected decline in their customer base.Why is this? One reason is that the online travel booking giants have failed to differentiate the reasons people purchase from them. Low price and online convenience are not the only reasons people buy. Many online bookers are frustrated with their one-size-fits-all approach. These consumers have become dissatisfied with the uncongenial and indifferent nature of most online booking.Knowing and understanding the reasons for the decline of traditional travel agencies allows you to position yourself with a significant advantage over the competition. #2 Your Target Demographic and Who Your Customer IsIt is a mistake for small entrepreneurs to market broadly. The old sales adage "when everybody's your customer, nobody's your customer" is absolutely true. Every product, every service, every business either appeals or has the potential to appeal much more strongly to a certain definable group of people. This is even more true in a slow economy. Too many business owners acquire their best customers only by accident. You literally can’t afford to take the chance in throwing out your message to “everybody” in the hope that the right people will find it. You need to have a clear idea of who your customer is.One of the best target demographic markets for travel services are affluent baby boomers. They are in their peak earning years, and the oldest of them have reached the prime age for travel. Of greatest importance to our business is the fact that boomers have always placed a high priority on travel considering it a necessity, not a luxury. This is important for no less than three good reasons. First, travel tops the list of activities that they intend to engage in after retirement. Second, the sheer number of boomers traveling will cause business to grow. Third, since travel is a necessity for them, boomers engage in it no matter how scarce their time or money. Travel on their part is less dependent on life stage or the economy. #3 How To Reach And Capture the Attention of Your Target MarketThe best product in the world won’t make any money for you if you don’t know how to market it. When all is said and done, its effective marketing that will determine the level of your success in this or any business.Think of it this way: You can have the cure for cancer in a bottle and if you can’t figure out how to effectively get the word out, all you’ve got is a vial of chemicals that nobody is interested in.Travel is a product in high demand to an audience or consumer group that can be reached effectively. It can translate into an easily workable business, but you need a good marketing system.Unfortunately, too many aspiring business owners are mistakenly taught to focus on selling. What they need to learn is marketing: how to find and capture the attention of people who a[...]



A Contrarians's View of the P1D Business

Mon, 04 Aug 2008 04:58:00 +0000

There are more than a few people on the web who are aggressively pitching Platinum One Destinations (P1D) as a business opportunity. There’s nothing wrong with that, P1D can make an excellent business for a lot reasons. But I don’t go out of my way to actively publicize P1D strictly as a business opportunity right out of the gate.Why? Because I believe that the best people to run a P1D business are people who have experienced the service and actually use the membership themselves. As good as the service is, P1D isn’t for everyone. Platinum One Destinations is a high-end business opportunity that promotes a premier travel planning service, the Neiman Marcus and the Porsche of its class. Although it saves the discerning traveler a considerable amount of money, those savings are “purchased” upfront. P1D rates above (and consequently costs more than) its competition: Coastal Vacations, Global Resort Networks, YTB, Traverus, World Ventures or others.What makes it better? I’ll deal with that in a upcoming post.The point I’m trying to make now is that the P1D Travel Membership is not a mass consumer product. The netTrav personal booking portal which costs only $99 and is marketed by the company may be geared towards the mass market, but the P1D Travel Membership is not. The Travel Membership is an exclusive product for a particular, and yes, fairly affluent customer.The company realizes this and has very recently introduced some new marketing that will better position the netTrav portal. They are taking a populist approach that may very well work even more wonders for their associates who haven't figured it all out for themselves yet.My unsolicited advice to P1D Associates: By all means expand your market and mindshare with the netTrav product. But if you ignore those who could benefit from the Travel Membership, you could be making a huge financial mistake... and leaving a lot of money on the table for me!But I digress.Not everyone shops at Neiman Marcus or drives a Porsche, but those folks who do know why they do. And frankly, they aren’t overly concerned with those who don’t. It may be elitist and selfish, but it's true.I don’t pitch the P1D Travel Membership to just anybody. It would be a tremendous waste of time and effort. Consequently, when it comes to the business side of the equation, I’m only interested in working with like-minded individuals who use the Platinum One Destinations travel membership themselves. This gives me the advantage because in doing so I’m not competing directly with everyone else… and not just other P1D or other travel business owners. I offer a valuable, respected product, not another run-of-the-mill, “make-a-million-dollars” biz op.Although I present the same products as other P1D associates, my marketing strategies are unique - as are my well-defined demographic group targets. I know my customer profile and who I’m approaching. That’s how I prefer to do business and it’s the superior way as far as I’m concerned. If you’re interested, here’s how I do things on my personal, business directed site: www.myplatinumonedestinations.com Here’s how I approach my targeted customers: www.LuxuryTravelAtWholesale.com. What do you think? Does it seems like a better way to run a business or not? (BTW, there are also lots of other people aligned with different travel opportunities who are on the web and have axes to grind because P1D is understandably cutting into their business. These folks don’t have much that’s nice to say about P1D. Finding them online is easy. Listen to what they have to say and decide for yourself.)I’ll be right here.[...]



How the Travel Industry Works

Sun, 13 Jul 2008 04:35:00 +0000

When considering a first-rate resource like Platinum One Destinations, it helps to have a clearer idea of how the travel industry works. After all, a little knowledge can take you long way, not to mention save you a lot of money. It is key to becoming a happy, discerning traveler.

At any given time, travel industry resources (airlines, hotels, resorts, cruise lines, timeshares, etc.) are operating at a 30% - 40% vacancy rate. Rather than let this inventory of rooms and seats sit idle, travel and tour providers offer their vacancies to what are known as “consolidators” or “wholesale” travel distributors. These consolidators then make this discounted inventory available to insider travel agents and portals “online” booking engines like Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz who then “mark up” the deals to make a profit.

The companies who operate these portals purchase “travel” at wholesale from a consolidator, mark up the price, then sell it to the general public. Without the need for a traditional business location and with the sales of paid advertising on their websites, they can pass on greater savings than traditional travel agencies who cannot compete with the slimmer profit margins and lower overhead of the online travel portals.

That is why traditional “brick and mortar” agencies are quickly giving way to such travel portals that offer convenience, discount pricing and access to thousands of destinations at the “click” of a button. In fact, nearly 50 percent of those travel agencies closed their doors between 1996 and 2006.

Worldwide, travel is a $3.7 trillion industry. But here’s what’s interesting: While the industry continues to grow (the Travel Industry Association predicts a continued growth rate of 4.6 percent annually for through the next decade), the big online portals have seen an unexpected decline in their customer base.

Turns out low price and online convenience are not the only reasons people buy. Discerning travelers like myself are more than a little frustrated with the one-size-fits-all approach. It doesn't fit well at all. We’ve become highly dissatisfied with the uncongenial and inhospitable nature of most online booking. And that’s why Platinum One Destinations works so well for us.

P1D offers us the best of both worlds: first-class service with the flexibility to cater to our individual desires along with significantly discounted prices that big portals and travel companies can’t match. Specifically, Platinum One Destinations provides luxury vacations at wholesale prices in addition to first-rate service and support.

Why spend more when you don't have to?



Why I Travel Through P1D

Fri, 27 Jun 2008 02:37:00 +0000

Platinum One Destinations is less a travel agency (though it handles all the function like one and more) than it is a private “country club” for the discerning traveler. It’s exclusive, upscale and quite frankly not for everyone because not just anyone will recognize the value P1D represents, just as not everyone with a driver’s license can appreciate the value of a Porsche 911.But it is true for Platinum One Destinations what they used to say about the sports car: “There is no substitute.”As traditional travel agencies march toward extinction, P1D is redefining the game altogether by bringing back something that that has been sorely lacking in the travel industry for years: premier service and personal attention.Discerning travelers know that traversing the globe has always been more than a ‘best price” proposition. Not so long ago, one would have called on a trusted trip advisor who not only had insider access to the best deals and destinations in the world, but who also knew their clients as people. This was the type of person you’d put your trust in because they could offer suggestions and recommendations based on experience, world knowledge and your personal preferences.Platinum One Destinations revises that type of experience.The hardest part about travel planning with P1D is simply deciding exactly where you want to go and when you want to be there. After that, your personal concierge handles every aspect of booking and arranging your trip for you.It is as the French say, “Voyage Royale” - travel for kings and queens who want the best, hassle-free service and pampering available. (Because if you’ve never been treated like royalty when you travel, you don’t even know what you’re missing.)Once you know what you want however, all you have to do is tell your concierge and he or she will take it from there. They will handle all of the planning details and any necessary research. Your concierge will return to you with itineraries, prices and options with courtesy, respect and a cheerfulness that’s difficult to find anywhere these days. I simply place a phone call and not only does a license and bonded professional organize all of my travel needs (everything I’ve ask for), but they do it with such a helpful attitude that I’m bound to write about it and share it with others. When was the last time such a thing happened to you?The truth is, P1D members receive a level of attention previously reserved only for wealthy, first-class travelers who were willing to pay a high price for such personal one-on-one service. But Platinum One Destinations provides much more than just remarkable service. It’s no secret that most people who currently book online do so for low pricing. What is a secret is the fact that P1D members get even lower pricing than we can achieve elsewhere online. As part of their service, P1D provides true wholesale pricing and direct access to thousands of resorts, cruises, condos and hotels as well. They find and provide premium inventory at top resorts and destinations around the world and make it available to their limited members.And I do mean top resorts and destinations. P1D isn’t reselling certificates or offering burn weeks to places you have never heard of. This is a professional company with the best, most professional travel memberships available on the market today.Their Concierge customer service is a 5-Star operation. Concierges are actually rewarded with the amount of money they can save members, so they never try to up-sell or badger me with choices I haven’t requested or am not interested in.Each member also receives their own personal web portal, (one that offers all of the choices as other online booking engines but with with lower prices) where they can book flights, hotels, condos, cruises and resorts, anything travel related in exactly the same manner as one would on any other major travel site, if they wish.Or, they can simply call their concierge. In [...]