In these days of volatile economies and rising domestic and business costs across the board, it becomes something of an achievement when you make a financial saving; such as getting an amazing cheap airfare! For some of us, getting the best deal can become a mission, although it may seem impossible. However, for one enterprising 29 year-old young man, his obsession for economy deals turned into a business worth nearly $1 million.
Turning the clock back to 2013, Scott Keyes discovered a seemingly impossibly cheap non-stop, round-trip flight from New York to Milan, priced at $130. This is an amazing deal and Scott knew it, but what he didn’t anticipate was that just a few years ahead, his abilities in seeking out bargains would earn him an almost $1 million business!
Where it all began
A good place to start any business is always at the ground roots and in this instance it was the New York – Milan flight. Upon his return, various friends wanted to know how they could get the same type of deals! Scott had already established himself as a cheap air ticket specialist with round-trips to:
- Copenhagen and Oslo for $279
- Bali for $348
- Kenya for $310 and
- Rio for only $363.
Where the business is going
Scott Keyes decided to share his cheap air ticket formula with his friends and to make the process more convenient he produced a newsletter in email form to which his friends could subscribe. Three years on, that humble newsletter is a business start-up with 5 employees, with a turnover of almost $1 million, with 25,000 subscribers.
Scott believes his success is due to serendipity, or destiny, chance or karma! He has a point, because, on the launching of his newsletter, there was an almost immediate increase in subscribers from 300 to 3,000. He was utilising the free services of Mailchimp at that time and these figures placed him in the “paying” bracket! He was on the road to a business success.
The relatively bad news for his subscribers was that because of this incurred expense, he was forced into charging for his service. Although he continued to provide a few buying opportunities without charging, generally, to gain access to his service there was a fee of $2 per month. Most of us would consider that to be an extremely worthwhile business investment!
Scott’s Cheap Flights
During August 2015, Scott’s Cheap Flights business launched a Premium paid Newsletter and just over three months later, he could boast 646 paying subscribers and a financial return of over $6,000. At that time Scott was working as a freelance journalist, contributing to media such as “The Nation” “ThinkProgress” and “The Guardian.”
The subscription volume to the newsletter continued to grow, until, by February 2016, there were 1,687 paid-up subscribers, contributing to a financial return of about $24,376. Scott ceased working as a freelance journalist to concentrate his time and energy on the continued business expansion of his newsletter.
It just kept growing
To an extent, for Scott, the extraordinary growth of his business could have seemed like having a tiger by the tail. During the next few months, the Premium subscriber volume increased to 6,230, with 53,547 free subscriptions and a financial turnover of, $120,013! This phenomenal business creation was exceeding all expectations which went through the proverbial roof following a Black Friday promotion. It is producing total financial revenue of $963, 234, 48!
One question that could be in your mind relates to his operating and promotional costs? For most business operations with this turnover, under $500 spent on marketing could seem like a financial dream! Well, that is what this business has cost Scott. The extraordinary expansion of his newsletters has been driven by the good old-fashioned sales technique, word-of-mouth. It has been supported by press coverage, flight promo giveaways, and 4 Reddit AMAs!
Exposing the system
It could be said this business phenomena was created by the exposing of inherent flaws in the air flight booking system. A significant number of these exceptional deals were and are, derived from entry errors related to the airfares; for example, $49 being entered instead of $490!
To this stage of operations, Scott has conducted his searches using the usual methods; via the Internet and trawling site data on sites such as Google Flights. An automated system would not work for this business, due to the bots being unable to reveal the particular errors that signal Scott of potential great deals.
Scott’s Cheap Flights from the USA and beyond?
Scott Keyes had no perception that his serendipity philosophy would carry him on a journey like this. However, he does have further ambitions for his innovative business which include extending his newsletter. At present, his service covers flights that depart from U.S., Canada, and Australia, New Zealand as well as any location in Europe. The ambition for Scott’s Cheap Flights is for the newsletter to be available for departures from any airport in the world! Hurry up Scott; we’re waiting!