When I published my first edition of Senior Group Travel in February of 2000 I had no idea what I was doing. Having inherited the business from the former publisher a month earlier, I cobbled together a few destination articles and made a lot of advertising phone calls, managing to sell enough ads to pay the printing bill. I spent a disproportionate amount of time on that first editorial column. Readers knew the magazine, but didn’t know me from Adam, so I needed to make a good first impression. After all, I had grand ambitions.

This New Year’s Day I was reorganizing my office files in preparation for what promises to be another busy year. I pulled out a copy of that first magazine and reading through my rookie column, there was no doubt that despite my naiveté, I was ready to take on whatever ailed the group travel industry. Fortunately, the magazine has matured, and so have I.

[cta id=”51436″ vid=”0″]

I thought about this a lot over the past few weeks as we’ve been preparing a NEW Leisure Group Travel. This February’s edition marks the fourth time we’ve taken this magazine “under the knife” and is by far our most extensive rework ever.

Aside from the obvious new folio size and paper, there are a number of fundamental changes we’ve made to serve you better. First and foremost, we’re profiling successful travel planners in a new Take 5 section. Every other week I interview an attention-grabbing travel planner on LeisureGroupTravel.com.

A selection of these interviews will now appear in print, signifying a stronger tie-in between our print and online portfolio. Second, we’re promoting industry trade shows and conferences like never before. This month we spotlight the recent Group Travel Awards event in NYC (sponsored in part by this magazine), along with a calendar of industry trade events scheduled for this spring and summer.

Most significantly, we’ve enhanced our destination editorial coverage. Gone are the state and country articles, replaced by regional themed editorial stories. With this shift, we can now cover a wider geographical area and report on trends and new developments faster than ever before. Just as culinary travel is the focal point of this issue, subsequent editions will explore live entertainment, outdoors and adventure, holiday travel and beyond. This industry has pivoted towards niche & affinity travel, and I hope and anticipate our preemptive coverage will help you identify new opportunities for your travelers.

Finally, itineraries. For the past 8 years we have been publishing sample itineraries from CVBs in our June Itinerary Planning Guide. It was easily our most popular magazine of the year. As we sat down and looked to enhance your magazine, we thought, “What better way to showcase new destinations, new themes and new touring ideas than sample itineraries in each edition?” So we did.

There you have it, a new and improved Leisure Group Travel. 16 years in the making.