How Our Travel Membership Site Saves People $100M+ Per Year [Update]

Published: March 31st, 2024
Shawn Pigg
Founder, Hotels Etc. INC
Hotels Etc. INC
from Loganville
started April 1996
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

My name is Shawn Pigg and the CEO of Hotels Etc. INC

Hotels Etc. INC is the world's oldest and largest closed user group membership club on the net.

Launched in 1996, we offer members access to over 3,000,000 discounts at up to 70% off in 141 countries. We cater to every man and woman alike from travel discounts, entertainment, recreation, local discounts, insurance discounts, and more. The Hotels Etc. program is so strong and powerful that we offer our members (in conjunction with TrustDALE) a $10,000 make it right guarantee.

Over the last 20 years, I took a distraught company with negative replies and rebuilt it into a multi-million dollar business. Between all of our bookings and purchases, we are exceeding $100M per year helping families save money.

At the time of writing this, we have saved members $58,103,120 on bookings and purchases.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

Hotels Etc. is currently growing about 45% year after year. Millions of members have joined and thousands of new distributors have come aboard to help promote Hotels Etc. around the world.

Over the last few years, we have revolutionized the membership club industry with advanced technology, stronger deals, and easy to use platforms. We have grabbed the attention of influencers, consumer investigators, and affiliates around the world to capitalize on our growth.

Because of economic shifts, changes in buying habits, and new marketing channels, we have been focusing more on social media presence and joint ventures with media companies. Working hand in hand with travel influencers and helping big corporations with amazing employee benefits.

Bringing aboard strong executives with experience in the industry and launching new divisions within our corporate brand has allowed us to penetrate additional markets which include Fundraising, Incentives, white labels, and opening up new international offices.

We contribute a lot to our growth by maximizing our knowledge of social media platforms and influencer marketing. By working with influencers you are essentially tapping into something that already exists and constitutes word of mouth marketing.

Working with Influencers in your niche provides an opportunity to propel your sales by reaching a larger audience for less than traditional marketing. Artificial intelligence offers a lot to business owners today and helps companies grow faster than hiring individuals to operate the same tasks.

The most important thing to remember is that all products, businesses, and services run off an “S” curve, so you will have your ups and downs, however, if you believe in what you are doing then don't allow the “S” curve to control your enthusiasm that you have within yourself.

Although it is hard to penetrate social media platforms with corporate marketing, there seems to be a steady stream of traffic and income coming from social media. One thing that is important to remember when doing social media marketing is that you should have someone doing it full-time. If you are not posting creative content and unique content daily then the algorithm works against you.

The great thing about Hotels Etc. is our retention rates remain around 87%. Although the work required to earn a customer's business might be a little harder these days, if you have a product or service that services their wants, needs, and desires then you will earn that customer for life.

We have been using a lot of artificial intelligence software and creating engaging ads and images to attract customers. Even though it is more difficult today to earn a customer's business, it is also a lot more affordable to do so with AI software.

For example, we used to pay someone $50-$100 per article for our sites and blogs, but now with AI, we can have as many articles as we want. The most important thing is to run the article through Copyscape to make sure the AI is not just scraping information. If you find it fails Copyscape then you want to ask the AI to rewrite the article. There are some artificial intelligence programs out there that will write these articles that will pass Copyscape.





What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

Some of the biggest challenges that we are facing is adapting to everyone's knowledge on how to use the internet. In today's world people move fast and quickly, reading is not at the top of their list.

Using images videos and tutorials allows us to help our members. Converting text to videos, or easy step by step instructions is giving us a more powerful impact on user friendliness.

Although content is key in Google's eyes and other search engine platforms, content is not the key to instructing people on how to use their member benefits. Ever since Covid it seems like the way people operate and navigate has changed dramatically which is requiring us to change the way we deliver messages to our audience.

Since Covid, it seems like consumers need more assurance about a product or service before they purchase it. By using influencer marketing this helps us overcome any doubt about the value of our program.

When your company reaches a certain level it becomes stagnant and stuck and sometimes requires a fresh perspective to figure out how to get you out of the mud. Business is not easy, however, it is fulfilling.

With hyperinflation on issues around the globe, it has made it even more difficult to afford to market and reach your audience. When the world changes around us we can adapt or we can let the world pass us by.

Change is always scary for businesses for multiple reasons including the cost of change and the unknown of the outcome of that particular change you are putting into effect. The most important thing to remember is that all products, businesses, and services run off an “S” curve, so you will have your ups and downs, however, if you believe in what you are doing then don't allow the “S” curve to control your enthusiasm that you have within yourself.

I like to tell everyone to live off the 3 “Es” Energy, Excitement, and Enthusiasm. The last 3 letters of Enthusiasm are “IASM” I am sold myself. If you are sold on what you're doing, and how you believe in yourself, then you will spark energy and excitement, which is more contagious than the flu.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

The hardest lesson that I have learned over the last 12 months is that we are now dealing with several different generations for the first time ever. Each generation buys differently, travels differently, and spends differently.

Each generation has a unique way of catching their attention. You have the baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z, and most recently Gen Alpha.

Learning each generation has been difficult, however in my industry it is vital to learn the difference between all of them. We have to design ad copies that will attract all generations. Content that appeals to all generations and offers that entice each generation.

Keeping your mind open and aware of what is going on around you allows you to stay ahead of the “S” Curve and allows you to adapt to new strategic strategies and negotiation skills. Keep your mind open to opportunities around you and altering your system for new partnerships allows our company to continue to be successful.

One of the hardest lessons to learn in our company is keeping fresh content and marketing the correct discount during different seasons. I.e. During the winter cold months we need to focus on movies, dining, and discounts on home improvements.

During the Christmas time focus on shopping, cruises, and family travel. Each season brings in different opportunities for marketing to attract new customers.

Being able to make the correct impulse decisions is a must when running a company the size of Hotels Etc. Everyday there is a different challenge or technology that comes out that we must adapt to. New laws are put in place and new compliances that we have to pay attention to. These are imperative to running a successful business.

If you want to start your own business, then I would encourage you to look for a product that is not saturated, something that solves a problem, and something that makes people lazier.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

We plan on expanding internationally and opening 15 new international offices this year, 25 offices in 2025, and another 45 in 2026. We plan on continuing our growth by expanding into countries that don't have programs like Hotels Etc.

I am very excited about breaking through the growth pain stage. We have been striving to continue to be the discount leader which includes partnering with other companies, acquiring other brands and domains, as well as making strategic partnerships with other successful businesses.

What is exciting is the relationships we are building that are helping us continue to grow through the growing pain. We already have a big piece of the market in our industry. We just need to do more brand awareness.

We need to focus on delivering the right message to the right audience and receive more reviews from our members. It is easy for someone to go online and post negative reviews but grabbing their attention to post positive reviews is difficult. We are focusing now on bringing in more reviews from our members and allowing those reviews to act like word of mouth marketing.

Over the next 5 years, we will continue to build to become a family name. A name to which families turn in order to save money, a name to which entrepreneurs turn in order to generate extra income and a name on which business owners rely to help bring in more customers.

Our vision is for every business to know who we are and to put our logo on their door and promote us with their company. AAA has done exactly that in their industry and we want to achieve the same success in our industry. When everyone knows who we are and what we offer without explaining it.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

I like to read about new technology and artificial intelligence. The power of artificial intelligence and what it brings to the table for business owners is something that is going to power companies going forward.

I also like reading books about successful business owners, those that create Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, and what challenges they had and what they did to overcome those challenges.

Currently, I am focusing on motivation and becoming a motivational speaker. The challenges and obstacles that I have experienced in life will help those who are going through the same experience. Helping them overcome those obstacles by directing them with knowledge and encouragement.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

Study, practice, drill, and rehearse! Finding out what the trends are and integrating them into your business strategy will ensure success. Keep in mind, that you don't have to invent your own product to run a company. I don't own any hotels, or property in the travel industry.

I own a system that helps them continue to build their business. If you step back and take what already exists and study the industry, then you can find something to start your business by offering solutions in that industry.

If you want to start your own business, then I would encourage you to look for a product that is not saturated, something that solves a problem, and something that makes people lazier. Keep in mind the lazier you make people the more successful you will become.

Take the remote control for example, people do not have to get off their couch to turn the TV. Look at microwaves, people don't have to get out pots and pans and cook a meal, they can throw something in the microwave and eat it within a few minutes. There are plenty of services and products on the market that still offer an opportunity to revolutionize that industry.

Keep your mind open and always look at every possible opportunity that comes your way. Even if you don’t have the expertise in the industry, then go back and Study, Practice, Drill, and rehearse so you can learn that industry.

It is no different than changing jobs from one industry to another. The only difference is you have trainers teaching you at your new job. Well, sometimes you need to teach yourself.

I encourage you to create your next job and not apply for it.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are always looking for movers and shakers to be part of our team. Someone who has the mindset to understand the power of Hotels Etc.. and see our same vision. Leaders who stand out and are not scared of new ventures.

If you have a creative mind, looking for change, or see the power of Hotels Etc.. then we would love to hear from you.

Regardless if you are customer service, marketing, CFO, Innovator, or someone with the ability to be part of our team and help us get to the next level.

If you feel you are the right candidate and want to be part of our growing team then email our CEO directly at [email protected] to hear about the openings that are available.

Where can we go to learn more?

We are just now getting deeply involved with our social media channels.

To learn more about Shawn Pigg:

Thank you for the opportunity and I hope this helps your followers on their journey.