A New Award Travel Service

Discussion in 'Bengali Miles Guru' started by tahsir21, Aug 9, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    I love helping people book travel and so when a few people told me I should charge for this service, I was sort of hesitant. Although I wasn't able to help everyone out with a booking due to availability and stuff like that, i'm pleased at how many people I could help.

    With that said, I'm starting an award booking service that charges $20 to book an entire reservation/vacation. This is for EVERYONE in your party. I dont have a per-person fee. I'll charge $20 to book an award trip for as many people on the same itinerary. Everything is included from ground transport to air transport to hotels and even activities.

    Also, the first couple people to book with me will get a free trip on Amtrak worth up to 5,000 points.

    If I cant book your trip, then I won't charge you anything.

    Thanks for your guys' support. I didn't know where else to really start a new career besides the one thing I love most. Traveling is a passion that I hope many of you share with me!

    Even if you dont need help with booking trips, a referral to someone in need is always nice.

    UPDATE: NOW CHANGED TO $50
    my website and blog is




    www.bengalimilesguru.com
    I just started it, so I'm kind of new to the blogging world. Also, I post some tips on how to do some creative things with points there too.
     
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  2. Randy Petersen
    Original Member

    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Welcome Tahsir to Milepoint. Good luck with your new venture and here's to you making it possible for everyone to get the awards they want. Biz advice? I'm thinking your flat rate is a bit low. Might be a good deal for the members here, but we like having these services around and want you to charge enough to stay around. Again, good luck.
     
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  3. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    Thank you so much Randy! It means a lot when someone of your level helps someone who's just starting out! I appreciate your help and will take your advice into consideration!
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I agree with Randy on the price. The easy awards are easy and quick and you might have a few of those but there are plenty which aren't so easy. Unless you're independently wealthy and are really just doing this to pass the time I think that you'll quickly find that the income doesn't justify the effort.

    The blog also looks good so far. I think that you're jumping between very basic and very advanced topics which might make it hard to find a consistent readership, but it looks like a good start.

    Good luck keeping up with it. Producing quality content on a consistent basis is much harder than it looks.
     
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  5. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    Thank you for looking over it seth! I usually just post whatever comes to mind sometimes. It's just a spark. It looks like i'll have to place them over time after going from beginner to expert. Also, I really do want to raise the price, but i'm worried that i'll be overlooked compared to the other guys that have the same service. Although they charge $150, I don't want to get anywhere near that price because the only difference then is word of mouth. Something i don't have :/

    Any recommendations with that?
     
  6. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    Tahsir, I would initially set your service in $40 - $50 price range. I would also market this as an introductory offer.
    As you work through your first few clients you can evaluate your level of effort and compensation.
    Maybe the $40 - $50 would seem appropriate for your service, and the price can persist.
    If not, then you have an easy out to raise the price if needed to a level that’s more appropriate.
    I feel that $50 for an all-in award booking is a decent value for the consumer. Just a few thoughts and best of luck to you!
     
  7. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    sobobre, thank you so much for your kind advice. I will go ahead and change the pricing to that amount. It seems like a fair amount that wont scare people away! Thank you once again!!
     
  8. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    At the very low $15 intro price I submitted a query for an existing reservation, if you don’t find any better options its fine.

    FYI: Email forum did not work in IE 8, and on Firefox it would be nice to have a confirmation that the email was send. YOu should see a very short email from me along with payment.

    No rush on this.
     
  9. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    Hi iolaire, I apologize for that! I'm looking into how I can fix that. I have loked into your inquiry and responded! Thanks so much!
     
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  10. iolaire
    Original Member

    iolaire Gold Member

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    Tahsir answered quickly with a good suggestion.
     
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  11. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    Often there's a cost = value proposition as well. If its too cheap, people will typically assume its less of a quality service. Now if it was a mistake fare, people would be all over it of course. :cool:
     
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  12. Cholula
    Original Member

    Cholula Milepoint Guide

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    I agree that $50 is a very reasonable rate for the amount of work and time needed for this.
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    For an easy award, sure. But there are many which are much more challenging IME, where that rate wouldn't meet minimum wage guidelines.
     
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  14. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    I agree with others and have decided that I will be raising the price in the next few days. How would i go about marketing this to readers? ;)

    Sounds like that is what it is going to be

    Seth, if I may call you that, After reading suggestions and advice from people who have been doing this longer than me, I am going to be raising the price of my service. For the next few days, it will stay at $20 so that it can be marketed as an intro offer, but will then be raised to $45.
     
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  15. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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  16. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    Whatever you do, just don't refer to it as an enhancement :D
     
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  17. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    LOL, just intro offer going away?
     
  18. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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  19. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    Sorry, cant see what you posted?
     
  20. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    I agree. You posted about an award to Australia with Delta Skymiles and wrote about the frustration of getting an inflated award price, without understanding why. No offense, since Delta Skymiles aren't exactly the easiest to use, but you seem to lack a basic understanding of how Delta's award program is set up. It's not as clear-cut as other award programs, but there are opportunities that regular folks miss that an award booking service should be able to exploit.

    From your post
    One of the first things anyone using Skymiles should know is that using Delta metal will end up with inflated award pricing. On the Delta forums, this is the first tip that is given: partner inventory is always at the low-level, while Delta metal can vary widely. This is a pretty rookie mistake.

    Actually, a BusinessElite ticket to Australia roundtrip costs either 150K, 195K, 240K, 260K, 305K, or 370K, depending on the mix of levels you get (this doesn't include domestic feeder flights that can inflate the cost). Again, this is a lack of understanding of how the Delta chart is uniquely set up.


    I've booked about 4 international business class tickets using Skymiles since the beginning of the year for myself and family, and each ticket took at least 3-4 hours to research, plan out, and book over the phone (and that's with no waiting time thanks to elite status). If I didn't love my family, I'd probably charge them a minimum $100 for having to deal with that.
     
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  21. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Having all sorts of problems with the image upload.

    award.JPG
     
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  22. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    Dos Equis means 20 in Roman numerals ;)
     
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  23. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    Daemon, the knowledge you speak of that is needed is something I don't take lightly. You see, the main frustration with my delta booking was that I was getting an odd anomaly from the delta site. You see, doing a multi city from Houston to Australia shouldn't cost less than just doing Los Angeles to Sydney. Again, let me reiterate : IAH-LAX-SYD-LAX-IAH was showing up at 150,000 points in business.
    But, when booking a round trip from houston-Sydney with the SAME exact flights (same time same flight number with the la stop) it was coming to 240,000.
    Yes, it is true that partner availability is sometimes less, but the only reason I looked on delta was because after calling in and not finding any partner availability (virgin Australia and others) I decided to try to route through Asia for more miles as the client absolutely had to be there.

    With this "anomaly", I called the reservations center where they themselves acknowledged the mistake. They offered to correct it, but by that time, the flights were no longer available. This is the frustration I had with my delta reservation. Please take into account that I have just started and don't forget that this entire business is a "you learn something new every day" type of business. With that said, I was able to successfully book the reservation at a desired price much lower than 240,000 points. I applaud your explanation and will definitely use it in the future when booking other delta reservations. This is no way means that the quality of my service or price has been affected.
    Thank you
    Tahsir Ahsan
     
  24. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    LOL, that's amazing. just changed to $50
     
  25. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    One reason that could happen is that the itinerary from IAH-SYD that showed as 150K had segments in Economy, and that when you did multi-city, you chose First/Business? It's happened to me quite a bit, and the numbers you portray would suggest this.

    I'm curious what the final routing was. Houston to Sydney via Asia can be done for 175K in business with the domestic segments in coach, or 195K with everything up front (or 150K if you can confuse the Delta reps with some routing rambling ;)). Best yet, you can build in a domestic + international stopover if you play it right.

    I agree, that's why people like myself are on FT and MP: to learn. But this brings me back to my original comment, that to me (and at least one other member), your price-point at $20 seemed very low and made it seem that you may not have understood how complicated award itineraries could get. Your blog post detailing this only compounded to this thought. I understand and empathize with your frustration with Delta (trust me, I know it way too well), but this is how it is. The online Skymiles engine is rarely going to work, and so you're going to have to call in 90+% of the time and spend a while on the phone.

    I see on your website that you've now made $20 as a special intro offer to $50, which is a good start.
     
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