Valentine’s Day Present Turns Into Business Venture
Next weekend, Jacob Domínquez will give away a pair of Oceanview cabin tickets to Tejano Cruise III every night during the Tejano Music Fan Fair.
All anyone has to do is to register at the Tejano Cruise booth.
The innovative travel agent has generated so much hoopla that on Friday, March 18, he will be interviewed by Shaun Stevens during his live morning Fox TV-27 weather broadcast from Market Square – and this is what started it all.
In January 2010, Domínquez decided to take his wife, Marta, on a cruise as an advanced Valentine Day’s present.
“We went to Mexico, but there was no Mexican music and no Tejano music,” Domínquez said during an interview at his southwest San Antonio home.
This void gave Domínquez a brainchild. “What if I could put a Tejano cruise together for 50 of my friends and family?” he asked himself.
Domínquez, who was lead vocalist for Los Jovenes from 1990 to 1991 and later did second voice for Eddie Gonzales, then asked Gonzales if he would do a cruise and he quickly agreed.
“Next I invested $2.95 to start a Web site called www.tejanocruise.com and it was intended to be for friends and family only,” the young entrepreneur continued.
However, within an hour, this personal Web site, which listed his personal home telephone number, popped up for anyone that went to Google and typed in ‘Tejano.’ The result is that he was bombarded by telephone calls from Arizona to Michigan and Wisconsin, just to name a few states.
Capitalizing on the national interest for a Tejano music cruise, Domínquez started calling on his peers and got commitments from six other bands to participate in a cruise.
“Once it was set up for 2011, we started by word of mouth. Then we invested $300 for 10,000 postcards which we distributed from Market Square to the Rivercenter Mall,” the 36-year-old travel agency owner said.
“Once the word was disseminated on the World Wide Web, the next day, we received calls from the Tri-State area of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan plus other Tejano music deprived states and in fifteen days, 1,100 people signed up for this cruise when I had initially planned for 50 friends to join us,” Domínquez said in amazement.
At first, cruise ship line officials asked “What is Tay-jah-no?” But when they saw the market potential, they quickly came to know and respect Tejano music because it turned out to be their fastest selling group in twenty-five years. In layman talk, it was their money maker.
The result is that they had to break up the Tejano music fans into two cruises of 550 each. The first one, from January 22-27, featured Desperadoz, David Lee Garza y Los Musicales and the Tex Maniacs. The second one, from January 27 to 31, featured the Da Krazy Pimpz, Jaimé y Los Chamacos and Jay Pérez.
For Tejano music fans from faraway places such as Idaho, Oregon, Washington and 29 other states, it was as though they had died and gone to heaven since there was something for everybody.
“Everybody was so hungry for Tejano music that they were dancing during the sound checks and others showed up two hours before the dance,” Domínquez said.
At sea, in addition to the concerts, Domínquez made it a point to sit Jay Pérez, David Lee Garza and other artists among their fans in regular tables where everyone dined on lobster tail and an all-you-can-eat buffet. There were also formal dinners, 24-hour room service and a shipboard casino.
Another highlight of the cruise was a humongous beach party at a private beach upon their arrival in Cozumel where fans got up close and personal with all the artists and all the performers were available to autograph their purchased souvenir tee shirts.
Meanwhile all alcohol was free as unlimited quantities of tequila, beer, margaritas, other mixed drinks and straight liquor flowed freely for all to enjoy.
“Some people took a well-deserved advantage of the ‘all you can drink’ booze and all these bands had never done this before, but they’re ready to go and do it again,” the Tejano cruise founder said with a smile.
That’s how this business venture got started. For more information check out www.soundwavecruises.com and a more detailed article on the actual cruise will soon follow.
PHOTO by Briana Domínquez