Kanye West Launching Travel Website

Branding Consultant Says Global Fan Base Should Help Venture Fly

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- You know Kanye West the hip-hop artist. Now meet Kanye West the online travel resource.

The Grammy-award-winning performer is extending his brand with a travel website this week, KanyeTravel.com, that aims to offer quality low airfares, hotels and rental cars without service or membership fees. The site is hyperlinked to Mr. West's fan site, kanyeuniversecity.com, and future phases call for travel packages with tickets to his concerts and concert merchandise.
Links from kanyeuniversecity.com direct users to Mr. West's new travel site, KanyeTravel.com.
Links from kanyeuniversecity.com direct users to Mr. West's new travel site, KanyeTravel.com.

Ready for takeoff
Miki Woodard, president of the rapper's company, West Brands, told Advertising Age the process has already taken nearly a year. "We did a lot of due diligence with online travel partners" before linking up with Travelocity, Ms. Woodard said. Mr. West wanted an outfit that would be in it for the long haul, which could involve writing new software, she said.

The next phase, expected within weeks, will be cross-promotional deals with marketing partners. She said negotiations are being conducted by Scotty Abrams, president of the celebrity brand-development firm Maniac Creative, Nashville and Los Angeles. Ms. Woodard declined to name the companies West Brands is in discussions with.

But Mr. Abrams' father, Neil Abrams, president of a travel-industry consulting outfit bearing his name and also hired by Mr. West, said the marketing partners would include an automaker and wireless company.

He said other celebrities have tried travel programs, but failed because they didn't have the resources or expertise.

Lost in the tropics
"Margaritaville" singer Jimmy Buffett kicked off such a deal in the mid-1990s with Miami Beach's Travel By Design, offering "Parrot Head" packages to warm-weather beach destinations. A spokeswoman at the travel company said they ended about eight years ago, but had no other information.

Mr. Abrams said Mr. West "has a passionate fan base in the hundreds of thousands worldwide, so this is a great marketing platform."

Mr. West's travel site is "a great marketing opportunity" that coincides with his upcoming U.S. tour starting April 16 in Seattle, said Ms. Woodard. "So much of travel is so connecting to touring."
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