Bound Round: The end of an era

This update about the failure of Bound Round is all I have the energy for right now. I want to fill some of the gaps in the story that the publicly available liquidation documents don’t tell.

Not only am I sad and disappointed to see 7 years of hard work and significant cash investment from family, coworkers and friends go down the drain. But I also feel a bit battered and bruised from the stress of trying to mitigate the impact of the business failure on the lives of the people who worked with me as employees and contractors. 

Before the administrators were appointed, only 2 team members were made redundant. The others were all offered roles in different organizations. Some chose to take those opportunities. Others chose to leave. 

I documented the business history, including explaining a couple of significant, poor, strategic decisions that I’d made over the past couple of years for the liquidators. It was a cathartic, if not at times, heart wrenching process.

But what it did show me was that despite the fact that Bound Round failed, over the course of the last 7 years we did some pretty awesome things. Things that the people who were a part of making it happen should be proud of.

Since 2012 the Bound Round team:

  • Built the world’s first (and award winning) by-kids-for-kids travel app. It remains aligned to the Australian primary school curriculum and can be used for free in classrooms.
  • Worked with cutting edge technologies  to experiment with and test some super cool features like 3D globe interfaces on websites and digital stamps 
  • Developed a school excursion portal for teachers and educational experience providers
  • Sponsored Wave Warriors for 2 seasons, supporting an inclusive nipper competition around Australia
  • Created over 1,000 videos giving everyday families an opportunity to share their home town. And providing opportunities for them to experience things they may not have done otherwise tried.
  • Worked with the Direct Group to create their travel agency brand MyDiscoveries. Turning it into a thriving business unit before handing it back to them to manage in-house.
  • Created the Families of Australia web series, showcasing more than 70 cities and towns around Australia and their family-friendly attractions.
  • Injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Australian freelancer community, providing income and opportunities to micro and small business owners.
  • Created Family Travel as a brand with an increasing readership and subscriber base  within a competitive market
  • Designed and created a series of teacher education resources for the NSW Department of Environment & Planning
  • Helped Julie Jones launch Australia’s first accessible and inclusive travel magazine, Travel Without Limits

My decision, with the unanimous support of Bound Round’s shareholders, to appoint an administrator in July 2019 was not taken lightly. The decision was made knowing that the shareholders would lose their money. It was made knowing that there were creditors who would likely lose their money. It was made knowing that I’d done my best to minimize the impact that making the decision would have on other people. 

It was also a decision that, once the liquidation process is complete, will hopefully allow me to simplify my life and focus on my new priorities – my husband, baby, family and friends. And now I’m a mum I will be able to write from lived experiences at Family Travel.

If my personal circumstances hadn’t changed dramatically in 2018 or if I were still able (or wanted) to give the business my undivided, 24/7 attention, I might have investigated alternative options for continuing Bound Round more thoroughly. But the entrepreneur in me is burnt out and that’s not the best state to try and transform a business. Nor is it an ideal state to be bringing up a baby. 

So…

To the people I’ve disappointed by letting Bound Round fail, I’m sorry. 

To the people who genuinely supported me along the way – staff, contractors, family, friends and industry colleagues – thank you. I’ve learnt a lot and will be forever grateful for the guidance and support.

To my husband and daughter, I promise I’ve now got the time to put you guys first.

Latest issue of Out & About With Kids magazine is now available

Out & About With Kids Autumn 2018 cover

Issue #56 of Out & About With Kids is now available.  Grab a copy in newsagents around Australia or read the digital version here.

This issue of the magazine hints at the changes we’re making to the magazine and online and it’s the last issue of the magazine as you know it . The next issue (out on July 12) will have a new look and feel. The magazine will be called Family Travel, with an Out&About With Kids section inside. Be sure to pick up a copy – we’re confident you’ll love the revamp.

 

This is the first issue with Bound Round as publishers and with Tatyana Leonov as editor. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

We’ve covered everything – from USA adventures to the snow season and a whopper Fiji rundown. Find out why Fraser Island has always been on Tatyana’s must-visit list and where the best Australian whale-watching locations are. We’ve got camping in New South Wales and a how-to guide for the Gold Coast on a budget covered. And that’s just some of the Australian content! This issue also sees us open the 2018 Best in Family Travel awards, so make sure you go online and vote for your favourite family travel provider, and in doing so get in the running to win an amazing family holiday to Hawaii, including flights.

Researcher says travel marketers need to rethink families

Families of Australia families 2017/18

According to My Travel Research co-founder Carolyn Childs, travel marketers need to rethink how they target families and women.

Presenting at Mumbrella’s Travel Marketing Summit on 12 April 2018, Childs said “We’re going to have to start thinking beyond Janet and John families – I’m showing my UK origins, that’s the book I learned to read with – mum, dad, boy, girl,” she said.

“Families are single parents, they are blended families, they are all sorts of different family structures, and that’s going to keep powering the circumstances that are driving multi-generational travel. [They] are not going anywhere, so that will continue.”

Carolyn Childs at Travel Marketing Summit 2018
Carolyn Childs from My Travel Research presenting at Mumbrella’s Travel Marketing Summit 2018

 

Childs didn’t point to specific findings, however her presentation supports research into family travel from other sources, including Mastercard, HomeAway and Google.

What do we know about the family travel segment in 2018?

  • Family travel is $140 billion market
  • 93% families plan to travel with their children within next 2 years
  • Families who travel take on average 3.5 domestic and 1.25 international trips a year
  • Family travel accounts for 33% of all leisure trips booked

What do we know about the make up of Australian families?

  • 28% of Australian families are made up of two natural (adoptive or biological) parents and two kids
  • 23% of Australian families are made up of two natural (adoptive or biological) parents and one kids
  • Single parents with one child make up 15% of Australian families
  • Intact families with more than three children make up 13% of Australian families
  • Single parent families where there is more than one child make up 11 percent of Australian families.
  • Children in step-families experience complex living arrangements, sharing time between parents has become more common and each year, one in five children aged 4–17 years live in shared time arrangements.
  • From 1976 – 2011, the proportion of one-parent families with dependent children has increased from 7% to 11%.
  • Grandparents commonly care for grandchildren, with 65% of grandparents aged 40–69 years doing caring duties at least once a week.

Families of Australia

So what’s the implication for travel brands and marketers?

  • Family packages can no longer afford to focus on 2A + 2C as the primary marketing approach as it reflects only 28% of the make up of Australian families… not much more than a quarter, meaning that the vast majority of Australian families would’t identify with packages and marketing content that’s presented.
  • Travel often includes grandparents or aunts & uncles – again, meaning that the standard 2A + 2C approach doesn’t work. Infrastructure, especially hotels needs to cater for small groups travelling together but wanting (and in some instances needing) their own space.
  • Attraction and experience operators can most easily make changes as entry fees and family packages could better cater for today’s modern family.
  • Marketing content (especially photos & video) should depict real family experiences rather than rely on culturally homogenous images of mum, dad, son and daughter

For more on the research presented at the Travel Marketing Summit, visit Mumbrella

To find out how Bound Round can help you create family travel marketing content or packages that will resonate with Australian families of today, get in touch via email or phone.

Link to the article on Carolyn Child’s presentation that inspired this post is: https://mumbrella.com.au/travel-marketers-told-to-rethink-families-women-and-cyborgs-510914

Our Story: Bound Round becomes Family Travel Online

Bound Round is now Family Travel

familytravel.com.au is a website that helps adults plan and book trips and things to do that their whole family will enjoy.

For those of you who’ve been with us for a while… we used to be boundround.com. We’re still us, just with a different name, in the hope that it makes it easier for everyone to find us online. Continue reading “Our Story: Bound Round becomes Family Travel Online”

Travel Bound – Australia’s newest family travel publication launches

Bound Round, today launches its first eMagazine, Travel Bound, to Australian consumers. This family focused, digital, quarterly publication is available on all Virgin Australia flights through the carrier’s in flight entertainment system and is also available for consumer download via the Family Travel website. Continue reading “Travel Bound – Australia’s newest family travel publication launches”

Don’t Forget About the PANKS (or the PUNKS)!

disco punk

Ever heard of a PANK or a PUNK before? No, I’m not talking about some new rock n’ roll craze, it’s travel related!

PANKs, or Professional Aunties No Kids (substitute Uncle for the males) are a significant travel market in their own right and one that is growing fast.

Who qualifies as a PANK?

People classified in this group aren’t just limited to aunties: it really applies to any professional woman without children of her own. She could be a godmother, cousin, neighbour, or mums’ friend.

What makes them important in family travel?

Recent research on PANKs shows why they’re important for the family travel sector. Some of the key statistics:

  • PANKs spend money on the kids in their lives; a lot of it! In the research 76% had spent more that $500 USD per child.
  • They’re more social: on average, they’re more active on social media and in general social activity than other woman. This means they spend more time engaging with influencers and then sharing that information.
  • They’re major decision influencers: they’ve got an opinion and it’s listened to! In fact, when it comes to travel, 77% of PANKs provide information on holidays and shared it with the family they support.
  • PANKs are online researchers: they dramatically outrank other women and are ahead of the curve when it comes to online media consumption. They’re also avid researchers!

What does it mean for us?

For any travel business targeting families, the PANK/PUNK market is an exciting one. Their ability to influence others cannot be underestimated nor can the money they have got to spend. As a PANK myself, I can see how this works first hand.

The key is engagement: you need a program that enables you to campaign directly to this market. Building a base of PANK advocates could really help boost your family marketing program.

Bound Round can help

As the parent company to one of Australia’s top travel sites for families, familytravel.com.au we know the power of the PANK. Talk to us about how you can work with Bound Round to engage with this emerging market.

Are You Confident That Your Online Activities Are Working?

This won’t shock anyone: families, like other travel segments, are researching their next holiday online. But what may come as a shock is that multiple studies show that over 70% of purchasing decisions are made online before a consumer engages you directly. That’s a big chunk of the market that you may never hear from unless you can engage with them online.

You’re probably already running multiple online activities, but how do you know they’re working effectively? Facebook suggest that a 2% engagement ranking is around average for a travel campaign. At Bound Round we’ve been able to deliver rates as high as 10% on recent campaigns. Online engagement is a numbers game but here’s my 3 proven guidelines to maximise results.

Targeting the right audience

The most common mistake is trying to target everyone. Be specific; start with your ideal customers in mind and focus on the most appropriate medium to get in front of them. For example, we target travelling families and we have over 19,500 subscribers, so we know it works.

Create engagement through content

Content is still king. Families make up around 30% of the travel market yet they’re mostly forgotten and barely catered for on the popular online portals. Boundround.com has been designed specifically to address this issue. In fact, we’ve built tens of thousands of hours of content so families, especially the kids, can research and explore a host of travel and activity options.

Strong call to action (CTA)

Especially within this industry, customers carry many apprehensions when it comes to making a definitive decision on where to go or what to do when they get there. That’s why it is imperative to have a strong call to action to drive your customers to book. Avoid being iffy or open-ended so as to make holidaymakers more compelled to hit “purchase”.

Our recent campaign with partners Club Med Bintan and Scoot Airlines was the most successful campaign we’ve run yet– and shows what’s possible when you tick all three of those boxes. We achieved better than average benchmark scores across all categories and generated over 2,500 new subscribers.

Want to connect better with the family travel market? We have the experience and platform to help you maximise your online activity. Contact us today to see how you can work with one of Australia’s top booking sites for family travel.

Travel Industry Giants Finally Talking Kids

Wotif.com, who in 2014 was acquired by travel giant Expedia, Inc., recently published research and launched a campaign focusing on how things are changing with holiday planning.

Wotif.com’s campaign featured emotionally charged video posted to their Facebook page, which amassed thousands of interactions and more than 1 million views. Besides bringing viewers to tears and sending a message of family unity, this video successfully explored the family vacation from the kid’s perspective. For the first time, an industry leader has adopted kid-produced video as a medium to explore family travel options.

The video shows three families, and three kids preparing for their family vacation. Some are going to stay in hotels, some taking flights, and some going outdoors, but all parents are expressing the same apprehensions around packing, costs, planning activities. The kids are each given video cameras before the families set off for their separate holidays. When they return, the kids show the parents the videos they have made and for the first time, those parents began to understand the little things that kids enjoy and look forward to on family holidays.

Travel Specialist at Wotif.com, Kirsty La Bruniy says, “Kids see the world through simpler eyes and remind us that often it’s the little things that count towards the most memorable holiday moments.” (source: New Research Highlights Holiday Anxiety For Parents)

Almost all of the large travel websites have already agreed on the importance of using video content to showcase locations and experience packages. But now, they are also realising the importance of kid-produced video.

Bound Round was one of the first to move on by kids, for kids video content. Since 2012, Bound Round has produced over 700 videos (many available on familytravel.com.au)showcasing destinations and activities from a kid’s perspective. By building information pages, photo and video content for our partner businesses in popular destination cities across Australia and abroad, Bound Round has been able to reach the real family decision maker, the kid.

It is exciting to see the industry giants building on the efforts we have been making to offer families a better travel experience, as it is clear that we are and have been on the right track. This news does not only come as valuable insight to Bound Round, but more so as an pivotal opportunity for forward thinking businesses to lead by utilising by kids, for kids video.