For more than a year now, the editorial staff of TravelAge West has been working with Web developers at our corporate headquarters to create a new online site for the magazine. I’m proud to say this site is now live at TravelAgeWest.com.
If you haven’t already, please go take a look. You’ll see a number of new features, including video clips, photo tours and blogs. There are also listings of deals, fam trips, educational offerings and industry events. Our site now offers more opportunity for you to get involved, with online polls; comment boxes after every article; an Ask TravelAge West feature where we’ll have industry experts answer your questions; and even stories written by fellow travel agents on our Agent Bylines page.
Of course, the new site has industry news coverage as well, including Trade Show Reports, research studies and supplier Q&As. One of the features I’m most proud of is our Regional News page. This section features local industry news from the 14 western states we serve. I look at it as our way of combating the “East Coast bias” of other trade news sources.
While the new TravelAgeWest.com features plenty of industry news, our main focus follows our print publication’s editorial philosophy — to bring travel agents the best firsthand destination, cruise, tour, hotel and product reviews in the industry; and to help guide western agents through the changing frontier of travel.
This is a valuable mission these days. In the latest consumer data in the “National Leisure Travel Monitor,” published by Y Partnership, I read that nearly 40 percent of consumers said they found it desirable for a Web site to have firsthand, user-generated reviews or commentary, while 68 percent appreciate when sites have photos of specific hotels, resorts and destinations. Our site now has both, along with many other exciting features.