Weekly Flex Trip highlights the best flex trips across the globe through user submissions. We aim to give insight into the best places to eat, play and stay in each city we cover.
About two weeks ago I was given Click Millionaires by Scott Fox for some light reading. I demolished the book in three days (lightning fast for me). Both my head and OneNote were quickly filled with business ideas- good and bad. The one that stuck with me is Weekly Flex Trip.
For those who don’t travel for a living let me define what a flex trip is. A flex trip is when you don’t fly home on the weekend but instead you fly to a different city. These are basically mini trips that are paid for by the client.
Here’s my pitch below:
What’s the problem?
Consultants aren’t getting the most out if their flex trips. They’re missing great city features, leaving money on the table, and staying in overpriced accommodations.
What’s the solution?
Provide real insight into these aspects from locals/frequent travelers, offer advice and tips for getting the most out of flex trips, grow community of flex trippers to provide trip reviews.
How’s it different from TripAdvisor?
Targeted advice for consultants on flex trips, a very specific niche, which is not currently being covered.
This website initially started out as a noozle or an email newsletter. Consultants would sign up for this weekly newsletter to receive weekly updates about flex trips, cities, travel tips and more. I signed up for MailChimp and began creating my first noozle. Even though MailChimp makes it extremely easy to format your content and information it still required more graphic skillz than I could muster. There was not a good format that could contain all this information that I wanted to share. My next logical step was a blog.
I have experience with the free WordPress setup, which is what NikFuller.com is currently leveraging, but I wanted more experience with a hosted WordPress. I volunteer for the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce as their IT guy. They use a hosted WordPress. I figured setting up my own will at least give me more background into how theirs works.
I purchased the domain name late one night and started playing around with hosting it. I chose BlueHost as my host. I saw a lot of ads for them claiming to be easy to setup a hosted WordPress account. Sure enough it was very easy to get going. I did however encounter a few problems with my sites uptime. I kept receiving a “Database can not connect” error whenever I visited my site. I spoke with their tech support on Wednesday evening, the day after installing WordPress, and he finally admitted someone was abusing their server which caused my outage. Two days later the same error started occurring again. I rephoned BlueHost from Hawaii (I was on a flex trip) and was greeted with a much more pleasant tech rep. He gave me some advice on better plugins. My site has loaded quicker without errors ever since.
Every time I have a new idea I can’t wait to share it whether or not it’s been fully thought through or not. I get so excited about it I can’t think of anything else. In an effort to break up the silence in the car ride to a meeting, I began telling my coworker about my latest and greatest idea. She was a fan. I took this as an opportunity to bring in someone else into this new project who had more travel experience and a bigger consulting network. Times were slow on the project so we setup weekly meetings to plan and discuss content, demographic, formatting and overall vision of Weekly Flex Trip. By having a partner in crime this process has been a lot smoother, I think. I’m able to have a sounding board and someone to help me with the less glorious aspects of building out content on a blank site.
We were able to identify four different content types for the site.
The first content type being city maps filled with places to eat, play and stay using Google’s My Map feature. This allows us to easily add new content in an interactive way for our readers. Each city had content filled in by residents of the city and frequent visitors ensuring readers won’t waste their time in bad restaurants or boring museums.
The second content type is user submitted trips. I think this is the most exciting portion of our site besides our expertly curated activities. We encourage our readers to share their past trips for others to see. By seeing and reading about what to do in San Francisco it will make it easier for someone to plan a trip. This makes it more likely they get out and travel. I’m looking to build a contest out of these submissions in order to entice readers to submit.
The third form is travel tips. This is essentially a blog of tips that I think of. After a year on the round I think I provide some advice to newer travelers. Some of the posts are reviews on articles I’ve read while others are tips and advice that I can give straight from the ol’ noggin.
One of the more playful content types is the challenge and it’s the fourth content type. I plan to have new challenge every month or quarter. Not really sure yet. The current challenge is a drinking challenge for the plane. I figured all these consultants like to drink and talk about so this should be an easy one.
Facebook used to allow individuals to promote their posts. I would do it on occasion when I felt particularly strong or positive about a new blog post. They’ve since removed this feature so I started looking into Facebook Ads. Facebook makes it fairly simple to create one but I did hit some speed bumps. I wasn’t aware of the difference between a campaign and an ad. I ended up creating five ads under on campaign with a threshold of $60 per ad over a one month period. Luckily four of the five ads were rejected for some reason or another. This saved me from having to shell out $300 to our Facebook overlords. I’m currently running one ad which received 34 Website Clicks for $39.12.
I plan to monetize the site in three ways. Google Adsense, leveraging affiliation programs, creating an affiliation program and content sponsorships are my three main avenues. Google Adsense for the click-through revenue. Leveraging affiliation programs seem like a natural fit for the Deltas and Marriotts of the world. Creating my own affiliation program for AirBnB rentals – every user booked to your unit through my site will warrant a fee. Content sponsorships will work as any other sponsor would.
Just like any new business I’ve encountered some struggles. I could use some advice on them if anyone out there wants to lend a (free) helping hand. From my viewpoint, I need to understand who’s going to my website and what they’re doing there in order to figure ways to get them to come back. I have two analytics tools at my disposal, Google Analytics and Facebook Ad Manager, that I am not yet fluent in. Google Analytics has been installed since day one. In order for this website to succeed I feel I need to understand what is actually driving people to it.
- Google Analytics
- Facebook Ad Manager
So far this has been a fun ride. Taking an concept from idea to reality is really rewarding. I feel this will help me in future ventures. Normally a blog on NikFuller.com takes some strike of lightning for me to write but with Weekly Flex Trip I’ve learned how to knock out content on demand. I feel it will really improve my writing and overall creative process. Please enjoy Weekly Flex Trip and forward it to your traveling/consulting friends.