Site Inspection: Kanye West's Travel Site
A few weeks back, I was tipped me off to an intriguing development: Hip-hop megastar Kanye West has launched his own travel company.
When I first checked the Kanye Travel Ventures site, it was bad: With an amateurish design and limited "deals" -- phone cards were sometimes the only options for deals in a particular city - the site was sad, even a little embarrassing.
Swifter bloggers than I slammed it, and NPR had a piece by Carrie Brownstein about what happens when celebrities brand themselves. The story about the site, it seems, was that it was for people who want to go see Kanye perform, or that the fact that a celebrity is getting into the travel business. Snore.
I checked the site again yesterday and am happy to report that it's better. Not great, but it has more content than before. I might bookmark it because, in its destination guides for a sparse collection of cities, it lists average temperatures -- always good to know when packing. It's unclear where the info came from (does Kanye employ travel writers?), and some of the info seems a little too basic. For example, the Prague destination page says, "Prague uses the 24 hour clock, so the numeral 1 on a US watch would be read as 1 in the early morning or 13 in the afternoon, etc." Did this really need to be spelled out?
The site still suffers from poor design, like the blue-on-black lettering that's a chore to read. And the deals are questionable -- I got the same price on Hotels.com for the Country Inn in Houston as I did on kanyetravel.com.
One aspect of the site that strikes me as unique is its highlights of places that aren't spotlighted on sites like Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.; look for a lot of deals in Houston and Atlanta, but also Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Cleveland, Ohio.
Of course, the focus of the site, I can imagine, is for die-hard fans to be able to book vacations to go see the Grammy winner in concert. Scoring the tickets is easy: Click on "Buy Kanye Concert Tickets With Your Travel," which is near the top of the homepage, in huge blue letters, and you go straight to Ticketmaster. But his tour schedule isn't linked at all to the deals on his Web site, making fans hoping to catch a show hunt and peck through the offerings to create their own Kanye-focused package. Seems like a missed opportunity to me.
Or am I missing something? What do you think about celebrity brands in general, and about Kanye West's venture in particular?
By Christina Talcott |
April 24, 2008; 7:51 AM ET
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