Cosmopolitan Launches Concierge Travel Service for Gen Z and Millennial Consumers

By Hearst InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Cosmopolitan Launches Concierge Travel Service for Gen Z and Millennial Consumers

Have you ever dreamed of vacationing like a travel editor? They know the best hotels, trendiest nightlife and the restaurants where even the locals clamor to get reservations. Cosmopolitan has made that dream come true -- and a choice selection of partners have jumped on board.

Its new CosmoTrips concierge service delivers a unique opportunity for the brand's Gen Z and Millennial audience to "travel like an editor" with instantly bookable, curated vacation experiences in top cities across the U.S.The idea for CosmoTrips became a reality after multiple consumer surveys, focus groups and a pause due to COVID

Girlfriend getaways are a special focus of the service. Many women, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, take three to four trips a year with their friends, according to Cosmo's research.

Nancy Berger, Senior Vice President/Publishing Director and Chief Revenue Officer of Hearst Youth + Wellness Group, noticed that many of the people that worked with her were often planning this type of excursion for their friends. "It was always that person who was the most organized, the most plugged in, and so it was really interesting to have a bird's eye view of how people were traveling," she said. She also noticed the frequency and priority that Millennials and Gen Z placed on these trips.

The bespoke two- and three-night trips are curated for things like "The Foodie Edit" in Austin or "The Instagram Edit" in Charleston. The packages include deals at top hotels, multiple "CosmoTrips Exclusive Perks," and the perfect itinerary to the best of each city. The service focuses on offerings that people can't find anywhere else, all vetted by Cosmo editors. Trying to book similar experiences a la carte would be more expensive (and much more work) than the experiences CosmoTrips curates, Berger noted.

When Cosmopolitan created the offering, they knew that creating a special experience had to be the utmost priority in order to appeal to their audience. To ensure success, they partnered with travel leaders DH Enterprise & Associates as the operations and technology platform provider, and experience specialist Travel Curious, which is always on the lookout for highly engaging, immersive cultural experiences.

Then, Cosmo added some signature touches. "From the moment [travelers] get to the hotel, they're going to feel well taken care of," Berger explained. From the very first impression the trips will be fun and exclusive, each trip offering special inclusions such as a complimentary poolside cabana reservation, a class at a sought-after fitness studio, a sunset sailing cruise, or a private guided walking tour that hits all the best Instagram photo spots. CosmoTrips also understands the joy of anticipation travel can bring. For example, it builds in surprise and delight moments, like the CosmoTrips Getaway Box that travelers will receive approximately two weeks prior to their trip.

While CosmoTrips are currently available to four cities, there are plans to expand to popular domestic destinations like Las Vegas, Miami and New Orleans soon. The focus on domestic travel for the launch was intentional, in part due to the myriad of travel challenges the pandemic created from border closings, testing requirements, and even the ability to get or renew a passport. With travel restrictions lifting, CosmoTrips may soon offer unique experiences to international destinations like the Caribbean and Mexico.

They've also been thinking about trips to more distant locations that would appeal to Gen Z. For example, South Korea is a dream destination for its cultural influence on everything from K-beauty to K-pop. Berger hinted that "long-haul trips would be a different kind of experience."

In addition to the curated experiences, Cosmo was thoughtful about how travelers would pay for the trips. To answer those needs, Berger reached out to David Sandstrom, Chief Marketing Officer of Klarna, the leader in buy now, pay later. Klarna quickly signed on to serve as the official "travel now, pay later" sponsor for CosmoTrips. Through the partnership, it's easier for consumers to budget their travel plans. The proprietary booking engine from DH also allows multiple people to pay for their own trip, alleviating a variety of burdens and clunky group travel experiences.

Another unique partner is Bloomingdale's. Known for their originality and fashion curation, they were an ideal choice to help with a fun aspect of travel planning: shopping for new outfits. As part of the partnership, Cosmo teamed with Bloomingdale's to send style influencers on CosmoTrips to the launch destination cities this summer.

For Cosmopolitan, the success of CosmoTrips lives in not only the bookings and social currency, but also in advertising revenue. According to an IAB survey, advertising growth in the travel industry is rebounding at extraordinary rates, up 27% in the first half of 2022 alone. From advertising revenue to new partnerships to merchandise, the opportunities are endless.

"Whether it's hotels or destinations or experiences or airlines, [advertisers] all want to reach this demographic, and they really haven't had a direct line to them," said Berger.

While Cosmopolitan isn't the first media brand to make a foray into travel booking, they are the first to offer the services for free and curated specifically for Millennial and Gen Z interests. CosmoTrips continues to help Cosmopolitan build on its 136-year legacy as a trusted resource for young women. So, where will you travel next?

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