With one week left to enter the 2016 Travel Media Awards, we check in with members of the Awards’ Advisory Panel — a collection of influential travel industry, media and PR professionals — to discuss the changing landscape of travel media and find out what makes these awards stand out from the crowd. 

Entry to the 2016 Travel Media Awards is simple and free. For details on the 20 categories and how to enter , visit travelmediaawards.com. Final date for entries is 24 June 2016.

 

Debbie%20HindleDebbie Hindle
Managing director, Four Travel

What makes the Travel Media Awards stand out from other industry prizes?

The Travel Media Awards stand out for me because the Awards’ process has been designed by journalists and involves expert journalists in judging the winners, not just the travel industry. The work that APL Media and Travega have done in ensuring the awards are transparent and scrutinized to a very high level, means the Awards’ winners are at the very highest level of their profession.

Which entries stood out for you in the 2015 Travel Media Awards?

I love all great travel writing, photography and filmmaking, but I particularly enjoyed the freshness of the blogger category.

If you could sum up the Travel Media Awards in three words, what would they be?

Intriguing, exciting and inspirational.

How has the travel media landscape changed in recent years?

Every person can now be a travel writer and every travel brand a publisher. In an increasingly cluttered media landscape, the challenge for everyone — newspapers, bloggers, freelancers — is to create quality content that attracts and inspires readers and viewers. Awards like these help to shine a light on the people who are achieving just that.

In what ways can you imagine the Travel Media Awards changing over the next decade?

Technology advances, such as virtual reality and platforms like Snapchat, are already changing the way people consume content. I’m sure we’ll see even more disruptive technologies emerge over the next decade and I very much hope to see the Travel Media Awards champion and applaud the new media of the future.

Debbie Hindle is the managing director of Four Travel, a leading UK travel marketing and public relations communications agency. Debbie is listed by Women 1st as one of the 100 most influential women in leisure and hospitality. fourcommunications.com   @fourtravelnews

Jonathan-SloanJonathan Sloan
Managing director, Hills Balfour

What makes the Travel Media Awards stand out from other industry prizes?

The independent nature of the Travel Media Awards is the main differentiator in my opinion. Anybody can enter, but only the best come away with the awards on the night. Also, the quality and depth of the judging panel for the Awards is outstanding.

What most surprised you about the inaugural Awards?

The warmth with which the Awards were received by both the press and the industry was incredible. The travel press really embraced the Awards as, to my memory, there hasn’t been a truly independent awards for travel media in the market before, and this played a large part in the high quality of entries and overall winners.

If you could sum up the Travel Media Awards in three words, what would they be?

Inspiring, exciting and independent.

What destinations have you got your eye on this year?

There are some great new destinations coming through this year, in particular Iran, which really is starting to look to embrace international tourism. Some new flight route launches will also be opening up more long-haul destinations to the UK traveller, including Costa Rica, Chile and Peru.

What are you hoping to see in the entries this year?

The same quality and volume of entries that we were treated to in the inaugural year would be a great starting point. Although I’m sure that with the success of last year’s event this number will go up across all 20 categories, and it would be great to see all the national newspapers submitting this year.

What are you most looking forward to about the 2016 Travel Media Awards?

The event has already become a highlight of the travel industry calendar and I’m looking forward to meeting the UK’s leading travel writers, all on the same evening — the guest list last year was the who’s who of the travel industry.

Jonathan Sloan is the managing director of Hills Balfour, a full service representation agency specialising in the tourism industry. hillsbalfour.com   @HillsBalfour

Jules-UgoJules Ugo
Managing director, Lotus

What makes the Travel Media Awards stand out from other industry prizes?

The Travel Media Awards are open to all — entrants don’t have to be a member of any association or guild, so the Awards genuinely reflect the breadth of talent in this sector. Because of this, they’ve quickly grown to be, in my opinion, the most respected and prestigious awards in the industry.

Which entries stood out for you in the 2015 Travel Media Awards?

There were a few new names, which was great to see, as this shows how much young talent there is coming through the ranks. It was inspiring to see Hannah Summers win Young Travel Writer of the Year and hear how she used her blog as a platform for the creativity she wasn’t using in her previous job, and how the blog ended up setting her on the path to where she is today.

If you could sum up the Travel Media Awards in three words, what would they be?

Prestigious. Quality. Respected.

What destinations have you got your eye on this year?

I’m always trying to find a way to get to some of the less well-known Greek islands; I’d love to visit to Symi or Milos this year. I’m also looking forward to the blend of Croatian and Italian culture when I head to the Istrian Riviera over the summer — the combination of crystal-clear sea, islands to explore and giant bowls of seafood pasta is holiday heaven for me.

How has the travel media landscape changed in recent years?

Well, there’s obviously more online content with the influx of websites, blogs and vlogs. The freelance world has also changed and indeed grown, with many more journalists writing in very specialist and niche areas. And there are many more lifestyle titles that now include travel as a big part of their remit  from gastronomy to wellness to fashion  so crossover with travel is now a big part of the mix.

Jules Ugo is managing director of Lotus, one of the leading communications agencies in the travel and lifestyle sectors. wearelotus.co.uk   @we_are_lotus

Howard's-picHoward Salinger
Regional director, TravMedia

What makes the Travel Media Awards stand out from other industry prizes?

The thing about the Travel Media Awards is that they’re open to every aspect of the travel media spectrum. It’s not just taking a particular type of media or publication or part of the industry; the whole travel industry can be included, the whole travel media can be included, and there’s something for everybody.

Which categories stood out for you in the 2015 Travel Media Awards?

The ones we weren’t expecting to be so popular — Travel Blogger and Vlogger, Young Writer, the sort of categories where you might think we’d struggle to find the right people. But the quality of the entries, not just of these categories, but all the categories, was incredibly high. Long may it continue.

If you could sum up the Travel Media Awards in three words, what would they be?

Unbeatable. Unmissable. Be there! (Sorry, that’s four – but three words just isn’t enough!)

How has the travel media landscape changed in recent years?

There’s a lot more opportunity for people to get travel media coverage (whether its online, through a blogger or a vlogger, etc), but the landscape has become so vast that it’s become almost difficult for people in the travel media world to factor in all the different ways to get coverage — although, of course, this breadth is spectacular from a PR perspective.

What are you hoping to see in the entries this year?

I’d like to see that all the major publications are covered. At a time where people read everything online, to have a chance to champion print publishing — be that national newspapers, regional newspapers, glossy magazines, travel magazines — is fantastic. We still see them publishing fantastic content and this is the opportunity for them to get some recognition.

Howard Salinger is regional director at TravMedia, a leading UK online news service for travel journalists. Register now for the 2017 International Media Marketplace. travmedia.com/immuk   @TravMedia_UK

Maria-Pieri2Maria Pieri
Editorial director, APL Media

What makes the Travel Media Awards stand out from other industry prizes?

This is the only event that recognises travel media for their own merits and that’s judged independently by a panel of the entrants’ peers.

If you could sum up the Travel Media Awards in three words, what would they be?

Impartial, relevant and focused.

What travel trends have you got your eye on this year?

To see where people choose to travel this summer from the UK will be interesting, and where is perceived safe. Where am I heading this summer? Costa Rica. In terms of the travel media, I continue to be interested in innovative approaches and angles to features, and am looking, in my own work, to focus on, and offer insight into, niche sectors.

How has the travel media landscape changed in recent years?

There are so many more media for travel writing out there, many of which can offer deeply personal experiences and touches. Everyone is a critic or reviewer or blogger! There’s definitely more scope, however, for focusing on niche, tailored travel and, more generally, travel with a purpose.

What are you most looking forward to about this year’s Awards? 

I’m looking forward to learning something new, championing the ‘little guy’ and our industry, and highlighting great talent and storytelling. I’d like to see new approaches to the familiar; I’d like to be wowed!

In what ways can you imagine the Travel Media Awards changing over the next decade?

The Awards’ commitment to new media (as well as traditional, of course) will expand the roster of categories and the types of entries over the coming years. Travel transcends so many other sectors of the media, and I expect to see an increasing amount of crossover from other media disciplines in the future.

Maria Pieri is editorial director at APL Media, a specialist travel and lifestyle content media provider, whose titles include the flagship National Geographic Traveller (UK) and ABTA Magazine. aplmedia.co.uk   @APL_Media

Debbie-FlynnDebbie Flynn
Chief executive, Brighter Group

What makes the Travel Media Awards stand out from other industry prizes?

What I love about the Travel Media Awards, and what differentiates it from the many other media awards in the UK travel industry, is that it has the broadest cross section of criteria and categories. It isn’t limited by destination or by any kind of membership, and is open to newcomers as well as the most experienced — and it straddles print and digital at every level.

How has the travel media landscape changed in recent years?

The growth of the fourth estate is the biggest development on the travel media landscape, I’d suggest. Consumers are now increasingly getting their travel and holiday inspiration from Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and bloggers — although the latter are increasingly transitioning into vlogging as consumers’ attention spans decline. The typical consumer uses the travel media to research their options in more detail and give their online findings the all-important endorsement. This, I’d suggest, is a major switch in trends in the past 12-18 months and will, I predict, grow in the coming years.

Sharing is the other big area that’s changed and will mark the biggest area of development in the next 12-15 months. People want to share their friends’ and families’ experiences in ‘the now’ through live streaming, and that will inspire them to want to undertake that experience in real life. So, Periscope, Meerkat and Facebook Live are the next big things (well, they’re already here!).

Writers have certainly been challenged by the decline in people’s attention spans and their habit to scan rather than read — creating a whole new set of challenges that didn’t exist two or three years ago. Forward-looking travel writers will have an eye on these developments and start to increase and diversify their own followings with a website presence and supporting Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook accounts offering inspiration and ideas.

What are you most looking forward about the 2016 Travel Media Awards?

I look forward to seeing more valuable media friends in one room than it’s possible to see at any one event across the entire travel industry event calendar, and to meeting new contacts that are tipped to be the travel influencers of tomorrow.

Debbie Flynn is the founder and CEO of Brighter Group, one of the UK’s leading travel, hospitality and tourism public relations and representation agencies, now in its 20th year. brightergroup.com   @BrighterPR

For a full list of Advisory Panel members, visit travelmediaawards.com.

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