A travel agency in Texas has spawned a spin-off business that is
providing Web site content to more than 60 other leisure agencies.
In July 2001, Austin-based Make Your Bet Vacations unofficially
launched Wired Flyer, a company that offers retailers generic
destination content, property photo tours and travel specials on
Web pages that it customizes with the agency’s identity and logo.
Word of mouth and a story in Travel Weekly fueled the growth of
WiredFlyer’s agency “network” to more than 60 agencies before its
official launch last month.
WiredFlyer’s package, which costs $200 per month, includes up to
10,000 pages of content; photo tours of destinations and
properties; e-mail price request capabilities for clients; an array
of travel specials, updated weekly; and password-protected access
to traffic reports for the site.
In most cases, the company says, it can create a fully
functional Web site, customized with an agency’s logo and contact
information, within 24 hours.
The inspiration for WiredFlyer, according to president and CEO
Rick Barton, was his agency’s own site, which now attracts nearly
one quarter of Make Your Bet’s gross revenue per year. And his
agency’s top-producer status with the companies of Mark Travel
Corp., including Southwest Airlines Vacations, Funjet Vacations and
Adventure Tours, led to those brands’ specials being featured on
Barton (not to be confused with Expedia president and CEO
Richard Barton) hopes to expand his supplier base with more varied
options, to draw in agencies from areas in the United States where
Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean aren’t top sellers. In all, the
company hopes to attract as many as 200 retailers to its network by
Barton added that the WiredFlyer option makes sense for agencies
of any size. The common denominator among WiredFlyer members, he
said, isn’t sales volume as much as it is “people who are selling
Kathy Monte, Wired Flyer’s vice president, said the product has
benefits not only for agencies in the network but for participating
suppliers as well. She pointed to a recent situation in which
Funjet saw a group of 50 cancel a Cozumel trip on short notice,
only to have those charter seats filled within three days through
an e-mail blast to member agencies and a notice of the last-minute
special posted on their Web sites.
Barton differentiates his company from competitors, including
Online Agency, also based in Austin, by virtue of the fact that he
knows firsthand what it’s like to run an agency.
“We do what our peers do every day we sell vacation packages and
know what it takes to do that,” he said. “The feedback our tech
team gets is from day-to-day operations and day-to-day
Web site: www.wiredflyer.com.