Skift Take

Tours and activities are a profitable way for media publications to capitalize on their brand and find new revenue sources among their already existent customer base.

A brand is worth more than just one static product in today’s social media and marketing-driven world.

A trusted brand that’s built its customer base over generations is in a position to open new ventures and attract new users based on its name, and its reputation, alone.

A great example of this is seen in the travel media world where trusted brands like National Geographic Traveler, the New York Times’ Travel section, and Outside Magazine have turned words on a page into real-life journeys that their customers can join.

The OutsideGo website reads, “Our vision is to embody the Outside spirit and tradition of seeking out and unearthing travel experiences that truly matter. To set an intention that inspires travelers to create awesome stories of their own, to become nothing less than simply the coolest adventure-travel company in the world.”

This is the ethos behind all of the brands’ ventures, which serve another important factor: They bring in revenue for media companies that may have seen profits shrink over the past several years. The companies did not share specific accounting details.

Overall, there are more similarities than differences among the brands’ tour arms.

The trips are all positioned in the marketplace as exclusive journeys and kept to a relatively small size, ranging from ten to eighty depending on the brand and the kind of trip, and led by experts or locals that add context and history to the sights and activities.

For example, Times Journeys’ expert-led trips through Israel and Palestine would accept significantly fewer attendees than its cruise exploring Mayan culture through Central America.

Times Journeys are accompanied by a Times-selected expert or New York Times journalist while National Geographic pulls from a large network of editors, photographers, explorers and experts to lead its trips.

“From the perspective of National Geographic, we’ve been doing travel for 150 years and that’s a fairly distinctive spot in the market. We draw on a worldwide network of experts and explorers and adventurers,” explains Keith Bellows, National Geographic Travel editor-in-chief and senior vice president.

“They really are the magic sauce. These are people that not only know the place that they’re visiting, but who can give participants unique access to people or places.”

The publications use a mix of established tour operators and in-house agents to organize the trips, which are located across several continents.

Times Journeys works with tour operators including Abercrombie & Kent, Academic Travel Abroad, Mountain Travel Sobek, and Insight Cruises.

National Geographic Expeditions also works with a combination of large-scale and on-the-ground operators while OutsideGO taps a mix of on-the-ground operators and expert guides.

Each of the ventures have their own in-house staff that coordinate the trips.

The trips range in cost from less than $500 per day for a Moroccan immersion to almost $2,000 for per day for a seaborne expedition around the Antarctic Peninsula.


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Tags: afar, media, national geographic, tours and activities

Photo credit: Time Journeys uses its affiliation with the 'New York Times' to attract customers. Times Journeys

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