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Old 18th September 2006, 01:53 PM   #1
onyx
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Talking An Idea is Born - Social networking for Business Travelers

Hi All,

Currently Im a frequent business traveler who spends about 60 % of their time on the road. As a result, Iíve found myself in extended stays in hotels bored for many a weekend. Thus the following idea was born:

Iím tinkering with the idea of having an online social networking site where busy professionals can network on-line while on the road and potentially meet up (e.g., drinks, have a running partner, tennis, etc.). This would not be like a dating service. I figure that I cant be the only person traveling alone on business who is board out of their mind on weekends without someone to go jogging with.

I also see this a an opportunity for individuals to network on a professional basis as well. Good professional talent is always being sought out.

My problem is that, other than having others advertise on my potential website, how else can I generate revenue? What other kinds of services can I provide on my site to generate funds? Subscripition to the site would be free but I think that I would need some sort of fee income to keep the site running.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated

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Old 18th September 2006, 02:01 PM   #2
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Old 18th September 2006, 02:08 PM   #3
onyx
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Beyond advertising, what other ideas/services are possible?

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Old 20th September 2006, 09:47 AM   #4
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Hi Onyx,

I think your idea for an online social networking site is great. But why would you make membership free when by charging a monthly fee it would become self financing?

In a previous life, when I was in my corporate high flyer mode, I spent a lot of time travelling and gazing at hotel walls bored out of my skull. I would have been more than willing to pay a monthly membership for the service you're suggesting.

Other revenue producing items you could offer are :
  • An online store.
  • A Ticket booking service for travel - airlines, car hire etc. (as an affiliate).
  • A Ticket booking for theatres, concerts, sports events etc. (as an affiliate).
  • Want ads.

Put this together with free services like...
  • A networking forum.
  • A business discussion forum.
  • A section on "things to do, places to go in ... (name the place)".
  • A section on "great places to eat in... (name the place)".
  • A networking chat room.
  • A business rolodex as a service to your subscribers.

...and you have a service which not only provides a social networking function, but could potentially be a very lucrative niche business for you.

Hope this helps. Let us know what you think.

Andre

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Old 20th September 2006, 02:14 PM   #5
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Default some more ideas

Great idea by the way from a fellow traveler.

One idea would be to form profit sharing partnerships with companies that target frequent travelers. For example airlines, luggage retailers, hotels, rental car companies etc. and allow them space on the site to sell their products and to come up with special deals exclusive to your members. The vendors would receive targeted, measurable advertising and you get to share in the revenue of the sales that take place on your site!

You could also create an entertainment section of your site, and partner with programmers and producers of music, tv, podcast etc. and charge a fee for downloads of your members favorite music, tv shows, sporting events etc. I know when I'm in the airport in a long lay over the bar does not always have on what I want to watch, so it would be nice not to have to navigate all over the Internet, but to go to one site that's designed for me (business traveler) and get everything I want entertainment wise.

Anyway if you build it we will come. I hope this helps and if you ever have a need to advertise this great site please give me a call or check out my website. thinkaudioads dot com

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Old 20th September 2006, 02:46 PM   #6
onyx
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To my fellow travelers

Your feedback is right on point with my vision. My goal is to create a site as both Think! and Andre have both mentioned, that is "Geared to the business traveler".

Andre,
Ive researched a few sites out there with almost similar themes, but I havent come across one that is charging a fee for it. BUT, conversely, none of those sites are offering any of the suggestions that I have received here.


Think!,
any suggestions on how to establish relationships with affiliates to come up with special deals exclusive to my members.

Thank you for the feedback

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Old 20th September 2006, 03:12 PM   #7
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Default no problem onyx

I would just contact the marketing director or find out if there is an individual who handles online advertising for any of these types of companies. When you contact them I would think they would be very open to the idea of working out a relationship with you since you will be providing advertising on your site for their company technically for free. In other words they would not be paying you anything until one of your members purchased their product.

In regards to the producers of the entertainment content, if you tell them that in exchange for allowing you to utilize the programming for you to charge fees for downloads, you will allow them to sell their own advertising around there programming on your site, which again is a targeted demographic (business travelers), and once you are able to establish a good amount of unique visitors to your site, the programmers should be able to create a fair amount of advertising revenue from your site.

keep me posted on how things go, this sounds exciting!

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Old 6th November 2006, 07:16 PM   #8
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I really hate google adSense, why would you put someone elses banner on your website for free. Google has you fooled!

Why not install your own banner ad management software on your site and sell your own advertising. Much higher ROI.

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Old 8th November 2006, 08:53 AM   #9
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Lightbulb Business Travelers Social Networking Internet Business Idea

Hi,

I think you guys are on the right track above, but I would like to offer some different ideas & organization to this post. Here is what I think on the idea for starting a business travelersí social networking site.

Why was the internet created: To securely share information through a third party? So why not let USERS find information & lets MEMBERS share information with the users. Your members will become businesses that tailor to business travelers and your members will be those looking for things to do from those businesses. All you need to do is focus on building that and everything else will fall into place.

Yes, thinking about the profitability of the business needs to happen but if you cloud your mind with $$$$ when you are trying to start an internet business, you will lose track of what is really important. What is important is building a website for your customers. My idea business travelerís social networking business plan:

I always like to start with the USER:

A user is going to come to your website because he is bored and looking for something to do while on the road traveling. I feel if you break everything down, you can organize into a few different categories:

1. Find Something to Do
a. Leaving the Hotel
b. Staying in the Hotel
2. Find Someone to do it with
a. Lady
b. Men
3. Book a Ride/Great Deal/Whatever

MEMBERS:

Why partner with all these companies? Do you or your partners know the best thing for every business traveler to do in every location? It would be pretty hard to accomplish your goal if you & your partners are the only ones SHARING information. You should focus on your goal, to set up a website that allows MEMBERS to SHARE information with USERS.

#1. Think of all the control you would like to have over your site, and then give that control to your MEMEBERS


Why: because instead of having you and your partners grow your site (costly), you have 1,000ís of members building your site for you. Myspace.com was great, but it only allowed members to build a crappy web page. You should allow your members to be able to do everything that was already posted above.

Example: Fajita Jacks, in Conroe Texas finds your site. They are trying to promote their business and have hit the jackpot with your site. They can create a free account, put their company profile, and then list cool events that go on each night at their restaurants. They could also post their own blog, vlog, and other articles with stuff going on as well (like mentioned above).

Now, when a USER is traveling in Conroe Texas, he can go to your site and actually find some cool local place to go hang out on Wed. It is a fajita grill off with a live bands at fajita jacks.

#2. NO FEES, why limit your growth. Traffic is as good as gold.

USERS are not going to find cool things to do while traveling when no one posts. Charging a fee will limit the growth of your social networking site. What you should do is give every incentive possible for MEMBERS to join for free and post things for travelers to do. If you need to charge create different membership levels. Maybe it can be free to sign up and post your profile, if you want to use the blogging, vlogging, or live chat features you need to pay.

#3. Allow Members to sell advertising space

Instead of partnering with all those companies so you can make an extra buck, why not let your MEMBERS sell that advertising space. Ebay was popular, but what made it great is you could build your own Ebay business. Why not let your members do the same on your site. Allow fajita jacks to sell advertising space in their section, create their own groups, newsletters, blogs, vlogs, etcÖ

#4. Allow USERS to rate MEMBERS listings

Why not create a system where anyone can join, post things to do, and USERS rate those postings. That way USERS can find out what people like the most, not what you or your partner companies like the most. Remember users want to find what they are looking for, not what you are looking for.

#5. Allow MEMBERS to have their own online store

I donít travel as much as it sounds you guys do, but when I do I am usually not going to be buying tickets or luggage because I already have that since I am traveling. What I am usually looking for is cool things to buy in that town. I am in Texas so I should buy a cowboy hat.

The only way to offer the best local products is to allow local businesses to sell their own products. You can always take a cut of it if you want (I like it free, encourages more people to post).

#6. The basic social networking functions

You still should have all the basic social networking functions on your site that pretty much need to be standard these days, but I feel the core of your website should be based on the above. You should focus on bringing together local businesses or people that know what travelers can do in each town, and then users looking for that info.

Well, those our just a bunch of my ideas for your social networking internet business idea

Jeff Foster

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