This month marks 20 years since I took over a struggling senior group travel magazine. Through two economic booms and two busts, I’ve certainly grown older and, I’d like to think, a little wiser these last two decades. Here’s a few things I picked up along the way.
Online, There’s Always the Next Big Thing
We’ve chased success with online directories, wikis, microsites and various advertising schemes. Today, we have one really good website for the leisure group market and I quite like it that way.
My number one rule is to find a great online person who cares about the cause. Rule number two, know your customers and how they interact with digital so you’re not chasing ghosts.
Honestly, I was a little embarrassed to be a publisher in my early 30s when most of my clients were from my parents’ generation. Scanning the room at a recent ABA marketplace, I came to realize that was no longer a problem.
Everyone Loves a Good Story
Just like a five-year-old child at bedtime, we all love good stories. There’s a lot of pressure on publishers to cow-tail to advertisers and I’ve seen it ruin previously powerful platforms. We absolutely love our advertising partners, but along the way realized that if we published garbage you would treat it as such.
Get Some Sleep
If there’s one thing I wished I could get back, it’s all those lost hours of sleep. I laid awake many a nights, fretting about the economy, customers and what the competition was doing. I never had any breakthroughs at 2 a.m., and when the morning finally came, my problems were no closer to being solved.
Nothing comes easy in this business and games are won by taking sequential small steps that, when strung together, equate to victory. The feeling of accomplishment at the end of a big project is well worth the squeeze. Comparing that first edition I published and what we’re putting out today, I’m both proud and humbled by where we’ve taken the publication and how we’ve played an important part in advancing the group travel industry.
Here’s to another 20 years!
Jeff Gayduk, Publisher