Here’s The Plan to Bring Back SkyMall, and My Plan to Do It Better.

Via Miles Remaining, Scottevest founder Scott Jordan has a plan to revive SkyMall.

Jordan’s observations are:

  • Skymall is as much entertaining as selling
  • It needs a strong content partner
  • It needs to be fresh

So he’s got a content partner and wants to print different versions of the magazine concurrently so travelers see different pages on different flights. (That would seem to reduce the prices he can charge for advertising products, since each ad would have less reach.)

And he wants to do more tech gadgets than kitsch. I wonder if that makes them Brookstone and loses the entertainment value. And tech items easily purchased elsewhere — even in real-time through inflight internet — will be harder to price at a premium that might make the commissions and ad rates SkyMall needs to charge make sense.

An alternative model might be:

  • Make it an online shopping portal, not a magazine.
  • Work to get it whitelisted with Gogo inflight internet
  • Work with the airlines to place an ad on the splash page. This way people can access it inflight, online for free — and know it’s there

So you’re paying airlines to promote access to your shopping site, but not paying for printing and distribution of the magazine. This is less expensive for airlines, too, SkyMall saw its costs rise as the price of fuel went up because magazines in every seat back pocket on a plane add up to a lot of weight and are expensive to carry. While fuel prices are relatively low now they may not always be and there’s fuel savings even with prices lower than in recent past.

You can mix up content online by featuring different items at different times, or even to different unique individuals. You don’t need multiple versions of the magazine, you just need browser cookies.

Like my plan better? Go bid on SkyMall. You’re welcome to use these ideas. Just promise to send me a NoseAid, which stops nose bleeds instantly!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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