'WSJ' Launches Latest Brand Venture: Travel Agency

The nation's leading newspaper for business and finance is extending its brand -- to the travel front. The Wall Street Journal is getting into a new line of business, opening its own branded travel agency, WSJTravel, scheduled to launch Jan. 28.

According to the WSJ announcement, the travel agency will offer destinations, itineraries and customized travel packages based on the newspaper's travel-related content.

WSJTravel will debut with a portfolio of 50 planned trips to destinations such as Vietnam, Tuscany and California' s wine country. The WSJ has already ventured into travel book publishing with "The Wall Street Journal Guide to Power Travel" by Scott McCartney, which hit bookstores in paperback form in April 2009.

Since it was acquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. it has also introduced a number of branded, high-end services aiming to build consumer engagement with the brand and provide new revenue streams.

Last year, for example, it launched a mail-order wine club in partnership with Laithwaite's Wine Merchants. Nor is it the only newspaper to make these moves. In 2009, The New York Times and USA Today also launched their own wine clubs in partnership with Global Wines Company and Wines Direct, respectively.



On the travel front, USA Today launched a travel-related service, AutoPilot, available at the Apple App Store. Sponsored by Hampton Hotels, the free app allows users to stay abreast of flight itineraries and weather, orient themselves with a GPS-enabled location tracker, find and contact travel service providers like rental cars and hotels through a digital directory, and read USA Today's travel-related blogs.

The New York Times hosts an annual Travel Show, divided into a general-interest travel expo for consumers, and a smaller trade-focused conference for travel agents. This year, the NYT Travel Show is scheduled Feb. 26-28.

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