The Future of Remote Work: Introducing the Brandman Partner Program
The Hosted Startup – a travel industry innovation – was designed to help senior-level practitioners find community, financial success, and a more sustainable work-life balance with less risk and more reward
I think we can all remember that first day when companies started to “work remote” at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chances are, the email hit your inboxes sometime mid-March saying something to this effect “it might be a week or two of work from home, but go ahead and gather any necessary documents from your desk, empty the fridge in the breakroom, shut down your computer, and make yourself available during working hours.” Little did we know at that moment the collective toll the COVID-19 pandemic would take on our livelihoods, our values, and on life itself.
If you asked many of us just weeks prior about things like ZOOM, face masks, contact tracing, or other terms now part of our everyday lexicon, these same words would have been met with a shoulder shrug or a head scratch. My, how times have changed.
And while there is no sugar coating the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, it offered a rare opportunity for innovation in the travel industry. For businesses and institutions large and small to re-examine priorities, find new and different ways to engage with their customers, and reshape the very way they operate to adjust to this “new normal” that we continue to find ourselves in – nearly a year later.
At The Brandman Agency, we watched our hospitality public relations business – built over 20 years of continuous operation – get reshaped in a matter of days early on in the pandemic. And while we weathered the storm as masterfully as possible for our loyal clients and PR team – earning recognition along the way including Forbes’ first-annual five star list for US PR agencies and a spot on PR News’ Agency Elite Top 100 list for 2020 – we witnessed an equally whiplash-like effect rippling through the ranks of all the major hotel, airline, cruise brands, tourism boards, and tour operators. Furloughs turned into permanently eliminated positions and we noticed senior-level travel PR and marketing roles being hit particularly hard. Trusted industry friends and colleagues – some of the brightest minds in the business – suddenly found themselves free agents navigating the job market. Some took the opportunity to go into business for themselves as a marketing consultant or by forming a PR startup. Some got snapped up into senior level positions. Some pivoted away from travel and hospitality public relations all together. And others took the opportunity to re-evaluate their priorities and what they want in their next role.
“Over the course of the last year, it has become clear that today’s business environment demands a new model," said Melanie Brandman, Founder and CEO of The Brandman Agency. "We are excited to provide senior-level industry colleagues a first-of-its-kind opportunity to work independently and remotely without sacrificing the need for community, a robust marketing network, collaboration, and support.”
Priding ourselves in our ability both to be one step ahead and to be positive travel industry disruptors, we observed these shifts in hospitality public relations and noticed a white space. An opportunity for innovation in the travel industry to create a new way to work that’s not quite a PR startup and not quite a return to the traditional 9-5. We were inspired by the business models of two adjacent industries – namely, travel agencies and real estate firms – and after months of running our vision through the filters of financial experts and industry colleagues, the Brandman Partner Program was born offering a first of its kind “hosted start-up” model.
“Over the course of the last year, it has become clear that today’s business environment demands a new model,” said Melanie Brandman, Founder and CEO of The Brandman Agency. “We are excited to provide senior-level industry colleagues a first-of-its-kind opportunity to work independently and remotely without sacrificing the need for community, a robust marketing network, collaboration, and support.”
Innovations in the Travel Industry: Defining the Hosted Start-Up Model
Having started The Brandman Agency in 2000, our CEO and Founder Melanie Brandman drew upon her firsthand knowledge of the rigors of starting a hospitality public relations agency – how much capital investment is required and how long it can take to build up enough revenue to take a salary or turn a profit, not to mention gain recognition globally – when crafting the Brandman Partner Program. Her goal was to find a less risky and less expensive way for others to build their own businesses by being an extension of The Brandman Agency marketing network, while offering a new way of working to suit the times.
“Now, more than ever, people are seeking flexibility in their use of time and place of work,” notes Melanie. “Priorities have shifted, but the years or hard-earned experience these high-performing senior practitioners bring to the table still counts. Priding ourselves as an innovative travel company, one of our goals with The Brandman Agency partner program is to provide a solution for the future of work: a credible platform and business support, but also an opportunity to succeed on their own terms.”
Bringing this vision to life as we launch the partner program, we are offering a limited number of geographically-specific hosted-startup partnership opportunities. This low cost, low risk pathway allows qualified individuals to operate independently with the support, marketing network, infrastructures, and track record of an established international PR firm.
The Future of Work: A New Opportunity for a New Era
We treasure our brand and we want our partners to as well. Beyond what one might expect from a traditional affiliate network, we are approaching candidates for the Partner Program in the same curated, bespoke manner we approach our award-winning travel PR and hospitality clients. Extreme personalization and high-touch, luxury service ensures that our partners are part of the unique culture and camaraderie of The Brandman Agency. And while The Brandman Agency specializes mainly in luxury and lifestyle travel and tourism, we see our partner program as an opportunity to deepen our roots in fields such as food & drink, wellness; architecture & design; and luxury branded real estate or branch into areas such as beauty or hospitality and destination sales & marketing. We are also open to exploring partnership opportunities with both independent contractors and small independent agencies that fit that align with the spirit of our brand and embody “The Brandman Way.”
We’d love to hear from you and usher in a this radical innovation in the travel industry together, as part of our Brandman Agency Partner Program. Now, let’s get to work – and let’s do it smarter.