Charity Pro Travel is a travel site and fundraising platform offering discount travel packages that donate a percentage of the membership fees and commissions to consumer-chosen charities. The company was founded in 2008 when Megan Maloney lost three family members to cancer within 12 months. She approached her father with ideas to integrate philanthropy into the travel site he was developing, and Charity Pro Travel was created. However, after a successful test launch and massive media success surrounding the project, Maloney put the platform on hold to further her education.
In 2018, Maloney and her father, CEO Brad Maloney, assembled an extraordinary team to help re-launch the site. Together, they partnered with Keith Hudson, father of Katy Perry, to serve as co-CEO, added Bruce Cramer as COO, and online travel pioneer Rick Schneider as Chief Strategy Officer. Charity Pro Travel helps people experience the world by providing consumers with exceptional travel services from a brand they know and trust while supporting their favorite charity or organization.
The three reasons the company began seeking press coverage included:
1. A desire to get people familiar with their name so they can eventually become the go-to site for booking travel.
2. To gain interest, partnerships, and capital from potential investors.
3. To advertise their side charities and the events associated with them.
Charity Pro Travel came to Otter PR already having strong, organic press in the past and several celebrity contacts in their pocket. Spokesperson Megan Maloney was only 11 years old when she and her father created the first incarnation of the company in 2008. The donations she made to cancer charities brought media attention to Megan, and The Maloneys were invited on national television shows such as “Ellen.” In addition, “The Los Angeles Times” put her and her story on the front page of their travel section.
Because the company relaunched 13 years after pausing business so Megan could go to college, the landscape of the travel industry had changed. They partnered with Priceline to power their site, which added credibility, but wanted publicity so their name could be in the conversation with other industry giants. That’s where Otter PR came in.
The COVID-19 pandemic devastated the travel industry. When Charity Pro Travel came to us, many state mandates and restrictions were just starting to be lifted. People that had cabin fever over the prior 18 months began rebooking vacations. Our idea was to feature Charity Pro Travel on podcasts, radio, television spots, and articles to create a fresh buzz around their company.
We pitched Charity Pro Travel as a company that could make users feel even better about booking their vacation, with some of the money already included in the price going to charity. We positioned Megan as an expert in travel and charities, and we tied in co-CEO Keith Hudson’s ministry into pitches about how to donate to your church through travel.
Business Impact (results)
Travel podcasts like “The Informed Traveler” jumped to interview Charity Pro Travel, with the show being posted on several major platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, OMNY.fm, Global News, Curious Cast, and live on their air 770 CHQR Calgary and 630 CHED in Edmonton.
Megan was a guest on a live TV segment discussing travel amidst the new Delta Variant on “Great Day St. Louis” with Laura Bettinger, KMOV 4. Charity Pro Travel also had feature articles published in LA Weekly, Beyond The Crib, Readers Digest, and Business Partner Magazine.
Keith Hudson was invited for a video interview with a Christian outlet, “The Bravely Daily,” where he discussed Charity Pro Travel as well as how to donate to churches and other charities through travel and his ministry.
Finally, when Charity Pro Travel put together a benefit concert tour for the victims of Covid, legendary journalist Jim Clash responded to a pitch to interview Brad Maloney about the charity and John Fogerty, who headlined the tour. The article was later published in Forbes.
Brad Maloney reported that “traffic on the Charity Pro Travel site is way up.” Because their PR focus and goal were brand-building, the campaign and strategy resulted in success.