In the world of travel, children are a top priority. However, the process of traveling is like raising children themselves: messy, fun and a brand new adventure every day.
Eileen Ogintz, a syndicated columnist and author of travel guides for kids, founded Taking the Kids as a way for families to get the most bang for their buck on vacations. She spoke with RewardExpert about her company’s humble beginnings and how it has blossomed.
How Taking the Kids got started
This isn’t Ogintz’s first foray in the online business world. She produces content for her website, runs social media operations and keeps men and women abreast on the eons of information that exists in cyberspace.
“We try to make it easier for families to travel by giving them the information they need to have a good experience,” Ogintz said. “We’re not a travel agency; we’re a content provider.”
She built an audience from a syndicated column that appeared in multiple major newspapers, and she used her credibility and readership to become a national expert on the topic of travel.
Now, after 25 years as a columnist and 12 years since her company’s founding, she said the mission has always stayed the same: to encourage travel with less bouts of stress, all at a good price.
A unique business model
The amount of travel-related websites and companies can be mind-boggling, but her company is a different breed. She doesn’t give market speak.
“We’re not selling travel,” she said. “A lot of companies sort of provide content as an aside, since their goal is to sell travel. The difference with me is I’m a bona fide expert on the subject.”
Her company’s demographic skews towards millennial families, but it’s not uncommon to come in contact with grandparents planning multi-generation vacations for the entire family. That includes family reunions, resort stays, cruises or even a parent wanting to take a child overseas for the first time.
She takes the responsibility of creating the perfect vacation quite seriously. “The thing about travel is that you can’t return it if it goes wrong,” she said. “People really put a high value on getting it right. For many families a vacation is the most time they spend together all year.”
Points and rewards
Ogintz said her company’s place involves leading consumers in the right direction. Her company has sponsors, but she doesn’t accept sponsorships from porous brands or companies irrelevant to the market she works in every day.
A co-chair of the TMS Family Travel conference, she helps provide travelers with trends, techniques and technology.
Tips and tricks for living on a budget
“Cheapest is not always best,” Ogintz stresses.
She said that rather than looking at the cheapest price, it’s sometimes worth more to read between the lines. This could mean finding a resort that includes a free water park, or a hotel that serves free breakfast.
Although comparison shopping helps, sometimes booking a package is cheaper by doing it through a direct site.
“It’s good to make a list of the things that really matter to you,” she said.
The future of Taking My Kids
The future of her content company will likely be dictated by social media, with a continued emphasis on quality content. Instead of just throwing something at a wall and hoping it sticks, she said consumers now want an honest, real story. For more information follow Taking the Kids on Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels.