A Q&A with the Travel Media Awards 2018 Advisory Panel

Debbie Flynn, Chief Executive, Brighter Group

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

Having been on the advisory board since its launch, I’ve seen how it’s progressed from being well respected by mainstream travel media to becoming the award to aspire to win across every form of travel media communication. The event really is the hot ticket in town, it’s probably about the only event I could really guarantee to clients that they’ll meet most of the top travel editors across all media plus the newest talent. I certainly wouldn’t have recommended headline sponsorship to our client Malta if I didn’t believe in its great value.

Which entries stood out for you in the 2017 Awards?
That’s tricky with so many outstanding finalists and winners. I adored the winning blog, Bridges and Balloons; I thought Victoria Watts was a true storyteller in bite-size chunks. I was delighted to see Suitcase magazine congratulated for such a wonderful combination of online content, and to see how successful favourites such as the TTG team did across the awards. I also loved that the consumer desire for food culture and experiences in their travel choices came across loud and clear with Olive winning the Best Consumer Magazine category and Rick Stein OBE winning the Special Contribution Award.

What are your thoughts on the two new categories, Breaking Travel News and Social Photography? How important is it to keep the Awards fresh and exciting?
It’s crucial to be ahead of the curve and I think these awards have already demonstrated this with the Vlogger of the Year category being introduced in its own right last year. With video online content being estimated to be 80% of the world’s internet traffic by 2019, these awards must continue to be ahead of the media trends. It’s important to value the role Breaking Travel News has on our industry, which can affect consumer travel decisions for months and even years, and I wonder how many of these entries will be video? Social photography certainly deserves its own category, too. A recent survey showed that more than 40% of those under 33 are prioritising their next holiday spot in terms of its ‘instagrammability’ and with inspirational Instagram sites such as Beautiful Destinations attracting more than 20 million followers across their community, these mediums look here to stay.

 Debbie Hindle, Managing Director, Four Travel

What are your thoughts on the two new categories, Breaking Travel News and Social Photography? How important is it to keep the Awards fresh and exciting? The Travel Media Awards are the UK’s leading independent media awards and I’m very pleased to see new categories introduced each year to ensure a light is shone on new areas of expertise. Breaking Travel News is a great new category because travel media professionals both break news and provide valuable expert analysis of a situation that can educate and inform travellers. I’m also expecting brands to learn from and to be inspired by the new social photography category.

Do you think the travel media landscape has changed in recent years? If so, how?
One thing will never change and that’s the fact that good quality writing, imagery and video will attract audiences. But what’s constantly changing is the platforms where audiences are consuming this content, both within established media titles and new organisations featuring travel content for the first time. That growth combined with the growth of dedicated online travel editors and online social travel editors means there are many new travel producers in the media.

What are you most looking forward to about the Travel Media Awards 2018?
I’m most looking forward to seeing the great quality and the incredible hard work of the UK media recognised and applauded. My favourite award of the night though is probably Young Writer of the Year.

Jill Duffell, Head of Consumer Communications, Thomas Cook Group plc

Which entries stood out for you in the 2017 Awards?
I was particularly struck by Jonathan Gregson’s photography — it was a hotly contested category and I always enjoy the National Consumer Feature of the Year — I thought Julia Buckley’s piece in National Geographic Traveller was a worthy winner.

What are your thoughts on the two new categories, Breaking Travel News and Social Photography? How important is it to keep the Awards fresh and exciting?
To keep any awards relevant, it’s important to assess the categories annually to ensure they accurately represent the media landscape. We’ve seen this year in particular a number of high-profile travel stories hitting the headlines so the new category, Breaking Travel News, recognises those journalists who have got the scoop on a number of occasions. With Instagram and Facebook influencing consumers’ holiday decisions, the Social Photography category recognises those influencers who have the skill to convey a story purely through imagery.

Do you think the travel media landscape has changed in recent year? If so, how?
As the way in which people consume media evolves, so does the media landscape, becoming more and more diverse. In terms of travel specifically, with the nation’s appetite for a holiday certainly not waning, both traditional and new media are placing a greater importance on travel resulting in greater airtime across all channels. The continuing rise of online means there’s a need for a regular flow of topical and enticing news, and strong imagery is even more important.

Jonathan 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 view. Anybody can enter, but only the best come away with awards on the night. Also, the quality and depth of the judging panel for the awards is outstanding and is adapted every year. Finally, the attendees on the night are the who’s who of the travel industry across media, PRs and trade.

Which entries stood out for you in the 2017 Awards?
A few media outlets picked up multiple awards last year, including TTG and Lonely Planet, which highlights the fairness and independence of the judging panel, along with the consistent content these publications are producing. It’s always great to have a travel celebrity in the room at an awards ceremony and Rick Stein was an excellent choice for the Special Contribution award in 2017.

What are your thoughts on the two new categories, Breaking Travel News and Social Photography? How important is it to keep the Awards fresh and exciting?
The media landscape and consumer content in the UK is changing at such a rapid rate. Every year the Travel Media Awards has adapted to these changes and hasn’t been scared to take award categories out and introduce new ones. Looking at the new Breaking Travel News award, we went from expecting the latest industry and consumer news on a weekly basis, to the news sitting in our inbox every morning, to wanting it minute by minute and available 24/7. Media outlets have had to adapt to this demand and the best should be rewarded for this type of journalism.

Jules Ugo, Managing Director, Lotus

Do you think the travel media landscape has changed in recent years? If so, how?
It continues to evolve with ever-growing opportunities for us all. The continued development and results-focus of bloggers and influencers is providing more tangible ways for meaningful partnerships whilst traditional media is still outperforming all other mediums for many of our clients. The increasing variety means more channels and ways to get the message out, which can only be good news for all of us.

What are you most looking forward to about the Travel Media Awards 2018?
The same thing I look forward to every year: introducing some of our clients to the UK’s leading media who we are lucky enough to work with on a daily basis and catching up with all the key players in one room.

Which destinations have you got your eye on this year?
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Guernsey this year off the back of the launch of the film The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and our campaign for VisitGuernsey. It’s always great to make that short hop over the channel and have a blast of sea air and escape London for a few days.
On a personal level, I’m off to Vienna and Salzburg soon, followed by Corsica, which I’ve been desperate to return to since enjoying the food, wine and hiking there on business five years ago.

Maria Pieri, Editorial Director, APL Media Limited

What are your thoughts on the two new categories, Breaking Travel News and Social Photography? How important is it to keep the Awards fresh and exciting?
It’s important to recognise all areas of travel media and to acknowledge there are talented individuals out there who are expanding into new horizons.

What are you most looking forward to about the Travel Media Awards 2018?
To discover and acknowledge new destinations, writers, categories and experiences. On the other hand, to do the same for those you thought you knew already. It’s great to be constantly surprised by the very talented pool of people creating content for our industry.

 

Rachel O’Reilly, Head of Comms, Kuoni

Do you think the travel media landscape has changed in recent year? If so, how?
It certainly has, digital media has transformed the way our customers consume travel news and inspiration so we’re also looking at the way social media and blogs influence people’s holiday choices and the brands they engage with. Stories about smart travel ideas, innovation and insider tips will always be in demand, though, regardless of the media channel. It’s great to see established media brands revitalising their travel content online and offline, and it’s exciting to see how some of the big digital influencers are presenting travel as part of their own personal lifestyle brand.

What are you most looking forward to about the Travel Media Awards 2018?
It’s one of my favourite networking events of the year, so it’s a great opportunity to catch up with media contacts and also PRs for our destination, hotel and airline partners, so it’s a fantastic evening that always draws in the top talent.

Which destinations have you got your eye on this year?
I’m going on one of the new direct flights to Portland, in Oregon, US later this month, and am also looking forward to a trip later this year to Oman, somewhere I’ve never been before. And a return trip to Mauritius is also on the cards in November, so it’s a busy year for travel.

By | 2018-05-15T10:56:50+00:00 May 15th, 2018|Feature|0 Comments