This week we interview Jason Bahamundi who is the VP, Sales and Marketing for TravelHost. Jason has been with the company since mid-May 2016. Prior to joining the team he worked at DMNmedia where he was an Account Executive whose client list included TravelHost. For nearly 20 years Jason has been in the advertising industry as a buyer, planner and an account executive. We touch base on why he came to TravelHost, where he sees the future of the company as well as some personal questions.
Interviewer: Let’s get the professional questions out of the way first. Why did you come to TravelHost?
Jason: I can sum it up on one word: Opportunity. It wasn’t just an opportunity for me to grow myself professionally but what the position offers to those looking to start their own business. The opportunity that they would have, and I could be a part of, was a big factor in me deciding to join the team at TravelHost.
When you speak to Bill Schroeder, President, you quickly come to the understanding that he has a belief in TravelHost, a commitment for our publishers in the network and a passion to bring the opportunity to those that want to start their own business. This resonated with me a few years ago when I was the account executive on the TravelHost account and then again during the interview process.
Interviewer: Where do you see TravelHost today and where do you think it will be tomorrow?
Jason: I would describe us today as at the starting line. We have been around for nearly 50 years and have put together a fantastic business that is print oriented. In the past couple of years our website and mobile app have been launched and they are a great resource for travelers as well as vehicles for advertising for the businesses that are in them.
Taking that momentum to the next level is where I fit in. I ask questions of myself on a daily basis that revolve around leveraging social media, audience extension programs as well as newsletters and other digital options. Where does video fit into the media marketing mix?
We are working on using social news feed ads, not only for recruiting new publishers but also for our current publishers to leverage and extend the reach for their local advertisers.
From there it becomes what can we do efficiently and effectively to help the traveler and when we know that we take the necessary steps to do just that.
Interviewer: You mentioned using social news feed ads for recruiting new publishers. What does that look like?
Jason: Our team sat down and looked at a map of where our current publishers are and asked questions about where we want to be. From there we took a look at different lists, that included things such as best place to start a business, best tourist city and made a list of those markets. We compared our notes and settled on a handful of markets that would strengthen our current network but also give those that decided to join us the best opportunity they could get.
Once we settled on the markets the question became: How do we reach individuals who are looking to run their own business? Who is our target audience? What is the message we want to convey? Social news feed ads became the obvious choice because of the forward momentum for TravelHost and the digital media space. Facebook has 1.7B monthly users and Instagram is a growing platform that is being used heavily by the type of person we feel will be great at being a publisher. Essentially, we are using digital marketing to reach people in their natural and daily habitat.
Social news feed ads allow us to target the people that are most likely to engage with us and in specific markets. It is an exciting time at TravelHost.
Interviewer: Can you share with us the markets that you are looking to expand in?
Jason: In the initial phase we are looking at Cincinnati, OH, Indianapolis, IN, Columbus, OH, Atlanta, GA and the state of Alabama. I say the state of Alabama because we do not have any publishers there but the state has Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile which hit a number of boxes on the required list.
After we establish publishers in these markets we will turn our attention and focus to the next market on our list. All of this being said, if we have an inquiry into a territory where there is no publisher and we are not market we will most certainly have a conversation to make sure that the fit is right for both potential publisher and TravelHost.
Interviewer: OK, enough of those professional questions. How about something personal?
Jason: That is a bit open-ended. Something personal? OK, how about the fact that I am an endurance athlete who competes at Ironman distance triathlons as well as running 100 mile trail races. Does that work?
Interviewer: Wow, that is impressive. Insane but impressive. How does that play into your role at TravelHost?
Jason: Ideally. I came to TravelHost for the long-term. I did not accept the position here to be on the team for a few months and then leave. Training and racing for a long-distance event is much the same. You have to be committed to it from day one otherwise it will be a failure. When I took the job I was 100% on-board about the company and its future. I know that I will not be able to accomplish everything I want to do in one day so I have to lay out a plan and then execute that plan while also being flexible enough to change when things pop-up.
Racing endurance events is exactly the same way. I setup a training plan for an event. I follow that plan but make adjustments along the way. On race day, something can and will go wrong but I have prepared for the event and I am able to course correct. At TravelHost, the same principles apply.
Interviewer: Anything you want to leave the readers with?
Jason: Sure. The future of TravelHost is bright and I would encourage anybody who is thinking of running their own business to look into our business opportunity. We offer best in class support to our publishers while also providing opportunities to grow their business as the landscape of marketing changes.
Latest posts by Jason Bahamundi (see all)
- 5 Disciplines Needed as a Business Owner - March 3, 2020
- What Inspires Entrepreneurs? - February 26, 2020
- How to Run a One-Person Business? - February 24, 2020