Q&A: MEET THE ADVISORY PANEL

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 the entries they loved in 2018

Jill Duffell, group head of consumer communications and campaigns, Thomas Cook Group plc

This year’s TMAs include a Specialist Travel Writer of the Year category. Why was this introduced?
There are so many fantastic travel writers out there with a specialist topic — be it food, diving or a specific part of the world — and their ability to bring that topic to life can be quite unique. We felt it was important that this type of writer was represented.

How do you keep the Awards current and relevant?
The key to keeping any event relevant is to continually review it. The Awards evolve every year, taking on board feedback from guests and nominees.

The media landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. Do you think it has permanently evolved or will people revert to more traditional forms of media?
With so many factors at play, I think the media landscape will continue to shift. The world has gone digital and I don’t see this slowing. With more traditional publishers pushing into this digital world, it will be interesting to see how they’re sharing the news in ten years’ time. While social media is one of the main ways in which consumers currently digest news, the impact that security fears is having on how people use and trust social media could also impact habits.

Jules Ugo, managing director, Lotus

Which of last year’s winners stood out for you and why?
I was delighted to see Adrian Phillips win Consumer Writer of the Year — he’s one of our most respected and knowledgeable writers and it was well deserved. I was also really pleased for Uwern Jong, whose site outthere.travel took the prize for the Consumer Publication of the Year: Online category. The way his title approaches travel is really inspirational and emotive, and the attention to detail and storytelling is really strong.

How do you keep the Awards current and relevant?
We constantly evaluate the categories as well as the criteria; therefore, the Awards have evolved alongside the changing face of the media landscape.

Is there an award you’ve always wanted to win? If so, which one? (It doesn’t have to be travel related!)
The annual Air Guitar World Championships, held in northern Finland, would be fun to win. That would make for a pretty good party story.

Maria Pieri, editorial director, APL Media

This year’s TMAs include a Specialist Travel Writer of the Year category. Why was this introduced?
The categories didn’t always enable specialists to feel they had an opportunity to shine. This addition gives them a chance to illustrate a body of work in their specialist subject, whether that’s cruising, cycling or skiing.

Which of last year’s winners stood out to you and why?
One of the most interesting categories is always the Young Writer of the Year, as I’m always keen to discover new talent in the industry. I want to know what last year’s winner, Lauren Bravo, will do next.

Why should people enter the TMAs?
To celebrate, reward and recognise the great talent working in our industry. I believe it’s up to us to highlight this to the rest of the world; if we don’t do it for our industry, no one else will.

The media landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. Do you think it has permanently evolved or will people revert to more traditional forms of media?
The media landscape will continue to change. I don’t see it going backwards, just evolving into something new. What isn’t changing, however, is people’s love and interest in good travel content — and how they consume it shouldn’t be as much of an issue. It’s our responsibility as an industry to ensure we can still make a living out of creating it.

Emma Cashmore, founder and managing director, Axis Travel Marketing

The media landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. Do you think it has permanently evolved or will people revert to more traditional forms of media?
Traditional media continues to hold an important place in the UK consumer arena. Although there is an increasing trend of consumption of online media, consumers do still like to hold a newspaper or magazine in their hands. The digital evolution adds an enhanced value to the media landscape, allowing us to communicate in various ways with a varied and diverse audience.

Is there an award you’ve always wanted to win? If so, which one? (It doesn’t have to be travel related!)
I would say the BBC Jazz Awards (I’m a keen saxophonist), although I’m miles away from winning one. Maybe one day.

Jonathan Sloan, managing director, Hills Balfour

This year’s TMAs include a Specialist Travel Writer of the Year category. Why was this introduced?
As travelling the globe becomes easier and British travellers become savvier to what the world has to offer, their reasons and desires to travel increase. City breaks and beach holidays will always be firm favourites, but these days we want so much more out of our holidays; this creates a demand for specialist writers, and we felt they needed to be acknowledged.

Why were the blogger and vlogger categories merged?
The digital media space is changing on an almost daily basis. The categories in this part of the TMAs have been adapted in some way every year to accommodate these dynamic changes.

How do you keep the Awards current and relevant?
By doing exactly what has happened every year: looking at the media landscape in the UK, recognising how it is changing and adapting the Awards to capture those changes.

Is there an award you’ve always wanted to win? If so, which one? (It doesn’t have to be travel related!)
My kids gave me a ‘Best Dad in the World’ award the other day — but I was also the only one on their shortlist. Always happy to win that one again.

Debbie Flynn, managing partner, Brighter Group — A Finn Partners Company

Is there an award you’ve always wanted to win? If so, which one? (It doesn’t have to be travel related!)
In terms of ambitions for Brighter, I must admit winning a hat trick at the Travel Marketing Awards —the ‘Oscars’ for travel marketing — last month was one of the highlights of my career. We took the prize in three categories: PR Agency, Representation Agency and PR Strategic.

How do you keep the Awards current and relevant?
This is one of the key pillars of the TMAs; we ensure all sources of travel trade information and consumer holiday inspiration are recognised. There have been numerous tweaks each year, as well as brand new categories that cover the best in such a crowded market.

The media landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. Do you think it has permanently evolved or will people revert to more traditional forms of media?
I agree the media landscape has changed dramatically, but I think there will always be room in people’s lives for magazines offering insightful, beautifully written travel features.

Rachel O’Reilly, head of communications, Kuoni

This year’s TMAs include the new Specialist Travel Writer of the Year category — why was this introduced?
This felt like an important addition to the awards. We want to recognise the expertise and value that specialist insight and knowledge brings. From cruise to spa and luxury to families, there’s some fantastic talent out there that we want to showcase and celebrate.

Which of last year’s winners stood out for you and why?
Jonathon Gregson’s photography — he manages to capture the beauty of destinations in exquisite detail. In travel, images are everything and we need to get beyond the standard stock photos to really inspire people.  The winner of the photography category is an important one and it’s a fantastic medium to tell our destination stories.

How do you keep the awards current and relevant?
The travel media has never mattered more. At a time when consumers are confused about who to trust, quality editorial content matters. Travel is more diverse than ever and it’s an integral part of people’s lifestyles. Digital, print and broadcast all have important roles to play in terms of inspiring people to travel. We’re always reviewing that and will make changes to reflect the current media landscape.

Don’t forget — entries are open until 23 May. Click here to enter.

By |2019-04-17T15:22:59+00:00April 16th, 2019|Press Release|0 Comments