What we’re doing here at Head for Points during these strange days ….

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I thought it was worth getting a little introspective for a moment and giving you an update on what we’re up to here at Head for Points in these rather confusing times.

When coronavirus broke out we were a little unsure as to how it would impact the site.  Primarily we thought:

we wouldn’t have anything to write about, and

no-one would be reading it anyway

It turns out we were wrong.  Here are our page views for March:

This is 25% higher than our previous best month.  Obviously having a 31-day month helped a bit, but our coronavirus coverage has proved very popular.  We hit 99,164 views on one particular day – literally another 10 minutes and we’d have hit 100,000 for the first time.

(We got lucky here.  This Twitter thread, for example, has Nomadic Matt – probably the biggest generalist travel blogger in the world – discussing his complete collapse in page views.)

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that revenue has obviously fallen sharply.  All of our direct-sell advertising has been pulled, and Google Adsense – which we use to fill the gaps – is down about 50% on a ‘pence per page’ basis.  You will have noticed that the travel ads usually served up by Adsense have been replaced by fairly random stuff.

The majority of the travel affiliate schemes have also been pulled so we won’t make anything on the bulk of the hotel or flight bookings made through the site for a few months.  The credit cards are still paying, but clearly few people are applying for cards which require £3,000 of spending in the next 90 days to trigger a sign-up bonus.

(Our Amazon link – click here, Argos link – click here and eBay link – click here – are still active if you’ve moved to online shopping!)

Please don’t feel sorry for us though.  We make good money when everything is going well and we can absorb this.  In terms of staffing, we are keeping the team (Rhys, Anika, Sinead) together on full pay – no furloughs.  I think if people are willing to commit their livelihoods to working for a small business like this then you should stand behind them.

We have temporarily dropped the WeWork office.  We didn’t have much choice, since we can’t access it and WeWork was not offering any rent reductions. It’s not as if they are going to relet our space in the interim!  Of course, whether WeWork survives is a different matter – apparently their rent bill on our building alone is £10m per year and business rates will be roughly similar ….

In terms of content, we intend to keep the ‘three articles per day’ structure.  It has been remarkably easy so far – in fact, we’ve had a bigger problem deciding what we can fit in over the last few weeks.  It seems to be quietening down a little now, so we can kick off with some new ideas we’ve been working on.  We have some interesting strands where we will want reader contributions and we will be running updated versions of our core reference articles, starting next week with the ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.

Thank you for your continued support of HFP and for sticking with us during a period when our content is skewed more towards general aviation and hotel news than loyalty deals.  The list of things we want to do and see when the skies reopen is growing weekly – a Royal Air Maroc flight review needs doing as they joined oneworld yesterday, for example – and hopefully we can do a massive catch-up during Quarter 3.  We’ll all be desperate for some time out of the house, that’s for sure.

News: catch Rhys on the Simple Flying podcast, contactless payment limit raised to £45
Rolls-Royce and Airbus support £500m Virgin Atlantic coronavirus bail-out (FT)

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Comments

  1. Stuart Evans says:

    Rob and team – thx for update and keep up the good work 🛫

  2. Good work guys. Keep it up! 👍

  3. AndyL says:

    Thanks Rob for many years of this fascinating site and it’s many contributors in the Comments section. Much appreciated !

  4. Appreciate the informative updates

    • Or might be Q2 2021.

      Domestic travel may resume quickly I hope, but some countries may continue to impose a 2 week quarantine on visitors for a while, making short holidays unfeasible. Endgame may be everyone has to carry a COVID-19 vaccination certificate to travel anywhere

      • I’d happily pay for vaccination/antibody test but I can foresee a market for fake certificates soon springing up 😩

      • Lady London says:

        But surely you could catch it as soon as the certificate was issued? Or catch it on the plane after you board clutching your certificate?

  5. ChrisC says:

    I assumed the rateable value is £10m Though it may not be as there is a lag between actual rents and the rateable value.

    Set Rhys to it with a calculator!

  6. Chris says:

    Thanks Rob – your emails are still something I look forward too even though I am unable to travel, let alone get back to the UK ! So please be clear …. keep up the good work …. you have no idea how much it is appreciated !

  7. Good stuff Rob, and especially kudos to you for keeping the team together – completely agree with your sentiments there. Keep up the good work, and let’s hope this all blows over as quickly as possible. Visiting HfP is part of my daily routine, and long may it continue! 🙂

  8. Roger,* says:

    +1 to all of the above!

    Wasn’t there a hint of an ISA opportunity to come? Not long left now.

  9. Sundar says:

    Thanks Rob and team and the extended HfP commentary community for keeping us informed and entertained !

  10. Simon says:

    Great site and good luck. S

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