Although the travel industry was in the doldrums earlier this decade after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Travel Weekly continued to invest heavily in editorial improvements. The enhancements included a major redesign in 2005 and added emphasis on consumer behavior as a way to provide more value to the travel agents who make up the publication's reader base.
“At a time when a lot of publishers were cutting back, we were looking to invest more,” said Bob Sullivan, VP-publisher.
The moves have paid off. Last year, its advertising revenue increased more than 19% to $47.2 million, according to IMS.
New advertisers in 2007 included Best Western Hotels International, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and Wyndham Worldwide Hotels Corp. They joined advertising mainstays such as Avis Rent a Car System, Hertz Corp. , Norwegian Cruise Lines and Sandals Resorts.
“Travel agents are back in vogue,” Sullivan said. Despite the growth of online travel sites such as Expedia and Travelocity, advertisers continue to look to the print edition of Travel Weekly to push product, he said.
“If you're looking to communicate a brand essence, it's a lot easier to do that in a tabloid spread than it is necessarily in e-communications,” he said. Print advertising can also be a natural extension of travel suppliers' broadcast spots, he added.
Travel Weekly continues to build on its momentum. Last year, it added a “Money” page to track publicly traded travel companies, as well as “In the Hot Seat,” which features Q&As with senior-level travel executives, and “Travel Confidential,” a gossipy take on the business. It also launched two annual supplements, World of Luxury and Travel Weekly's Ultimate Hotel Guide.
“CEOs of airlines and travel agencies all read Travel Weekly, and they want to know the same things as travel agents,” said Arnie Weissmann, editor in chief.
Weissmann has recruited a few former New York Times reporters to Travel Weekly, including Rob Fixmer (editor), Jeri Clausing (hotels editor) and Johanna Jainchill (cruises editor). “I'm looking for people who have a sophisticated understanding of the business of travel,” Weissmann said. “It's what readers expect.” M