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HOW TIME FLIES: 15 years. Who said it wouldn’t last?

On May 1st, 2007 Travel Industry Today published its first issue. It was a rush job. After leaving my former position the previous December, I had considered my options over a winter vacation in Miami and decided to create my own travel trade publication. So, by January 2007, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted – and what I thought the industry would appreciate. An online publication, that was easy to access, easy to navigate, with interesting, pertinent articles, editorial and opinions. Seven to 10 articles a day seemed appropriate for busy travel professionals and – important to me – it would be delivered early each weekday morning.

Obviously I couldn’t do it alone – I needed sales and distribution help which was initially provided by Lorol Nielsen and Allen Krause, and I am indebted to Vicki Borenstein for invaluable insight, advice and support that continues to this day.

Allen Booth was then, and remains still, the creative technical wizard behind the website. Without his patience, experience, counsel and good humour – especially at plaintive and/or hysterical calls and emails – it would all have been over long ago.

We also needed advertising partners, Sunwing was my first call, and Colin and Stephen Hunter have been loyal supporters of Travel Industry Today from its inception – a confidence that was very much appreciated. Our thanks for very early support also go to Stephanie Bishop at Globus, Bruce Hodge at Goway, and to Sunquest, Tour East, Destination Quebec, Transat, Visit Britain, SeaWorld and WestJet.

I’m leaving people out, I know I am, and apologise if I’ve missed you – but this was the mainstay group 15 years ago!

They got us kicked us off to a good start and more came along quickly. My thanks and deep appreciation to every supplier who has faith and confidence in Travel Industry Today.

I needed help with the writing, and to my surprise and gratification several talented writers agreed to provide weekly, twice monthly or monthly columns. This gave the publication some diverse opinions and varied content.

Everything ran along smoothly, we had a good reputation, our readership was on the rise and suppliers were happy to work with us.

And readers … whether they agreed or disagreed with our opinions – stayed steady. And when they didn’t like what we said – we heard about it. They weren’t shy to take us on – and we loved that. Best of all – they keep reading.

Along with her column, Pam Fiamelli took on extra duties as Lifestyles Editor adding new roles in writing, editing and production. Bernadette Fernandes came aboard to assist with production and handle distribution.

Things at Travel Industry Today were still pretty hectic, I was covering most events, conferences (home and away), or fams myself in addition to all the other bits and pieces that go along with a daily publication. I needed help and it arrived in the nick of time.

TAH DAH!

Michael Baginski agreed to cover the IPW in Colorado for Travel Industry Today. There was no learning curve needed, no instructions required, he’d done it all before – many many times. I’d known Mike for years, covered events with him, travelled with him, (learned how to play pool from him) and knew that he would be perfect. And he was.

The fit was a good one. Back from Denver, Mike agreed to take on the title of ‘Editor at Large’ and immediately became an invaluable part of the company. It quickly became evident that he could play a major role and in 2018 he accepted an offer to formalize his position and become a partner in Travel Industry Today.

And just as well, in 2019 the company housing our servers had a massive failure and overnight Travel Industry Today was silenced. We immediately explained the situation to readers and suppliers and with the unstinting help of Allen Booth and Mike’s son Brendan Baginski – who helped recover huge amounts of content – incredibly we were back up with a brand-new site within two weeks.

Regardless, it wasn’t a really great year – no sooner were we up and running than the pandemic arrived. It quickly became apparent that this was no ordinary set of circumstances. With sales revenue dropping we were forced to cut writers and staff, and Mike and I essentially handled all writing and admin. Given the various mandates, events and actual travel, ground to a halt – but Zoom meetings zoomed to the forefront and everyone was careful to dress well from the waist up.

Now, as the pandemic fades, or the waves become less threatening, the industry finally moves ahead. Of course, there is still a long way to go and there have been a lot of changes along the way. Still, we’re on your screens every morning keeping you aware of all that is going on and hopefully doing so in a reasonably interesting, entertaining – and not too annoying – manner.

So, thank you readers, thank you advertisers, thank you to all the writers who have contributed over the last 15 years. You are all part of what makes Travel Industry Today the success it is.

One last note. My initial intention was to call the publication Travel Trade Today. I thought carefully about acronyms or abbreviations. Then the day before we were to publish – April 30, 2007, I received a call from a lawyer at a US publication called Travel Trade. He advised me that we could not use the name or they would sue. I noted that they did not have the name registered (we did) they did not have a website under that name (we did) but I just didn’t want to start off with legal stuff hanging over us. I quickly changed the ‘Trade’ to ‘Industry.’ Travel Industry Today was good to go.

The next morning when our first issue landed on the screens of travel professionals across the country – my first email came from Paul Larcher –  just two words: “TIT’S UP!”

Thanks to the writers, columnists and consultants who got us through 15 years.

 

 

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

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