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March 14, 2024

Which? Travel turns 50 with model catering for older readers

Celebrating 50 years, Which? Travel’s editor spoke to Press Gazette about the sustainability of the brand.

By Clara Aberneithie

As Which? Travel celebrates its 50th anniversary this week, editor Rory Boland said that he is happy to be writing for an older audience which has aged with the title.

He said: “We have subscribers who have been with us for those whole 50 years.

“I’m really passionate about the fact that we cater for an older audience as it feels like all other publishers are focussing only on engaging a younger audience.”

Which? Travel magazine is published six times a year for an annual subscription of £49. It launched in 1973 as Holiday Which? catering for the burgeoning interest in package holidays abroad.

Travel coverage is available on the main Which website which requires a separate subscription.

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Which? Travel is part of Which Ltd is a commercial subsidiary of charity the Consumers’ Association.

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The title also has dedicated private Facebook group with 16,800 members and a monthly email newsletter sent to 3 million people. It does not reveal print subscription numbers and is not ABC audited.

Boland said: “Like many journalists, what we’re finding is we still need to put all our effort into the print product while finding time to invest in other streams.

“So we’ve had to put a lot of emphasis on ensuring that our commissions are successful across our channels.”

Which? Travel’s revenue mainly comes from its subscribers, which according to Boland, have remained relatively stable over the last seven years while he has been editor.

Boland added: “As far as I can remember, we have only increased our subscription cost once since I have been editor, and that was earlier in the year.

“The cost of production and postage has gone up so much, its reflection in our cost was inevitable.”

The monthly subscription cost rose from £3 to £4.99 in January.

Revenue also comes from endorsements. Boland explained: “Every year, we rate and review hundreds of travel companies, the best of which we then recommend.

“We create badges for the recommended companies, which are sought after in the travel industry.

“The companies can then purchase the badges from us to promote their brand with our ‘stamp of approval’.”

The badges tend to be reviewed on an annual basis, with Which? Travel retaining the right to strip providers of it.

Which? Travel is editorially independent and never accepts free trips from hotels, airlines or travel firms. It also does not carry advertising.

Boland said: “We have a unique selling point because we offer rigorous, trustworthy research in a world where trust is increasingly hard to come by.”

The title has six dedicated journalists and also employs a number of freelance travel writers.

Boland said: “We pay all our freelancers’ expenses which allows them to let their opinions run free.”

Boland added Which? Travel is always up-front regarding freelance payments, which are higher than their competitors.

How did a magazine focussing on travel and destination recommendations survive a national lockdown?

Boland explained: “We had a unique experience during the pandemic and there were huge challenges.

“Consumers were being treated terribly by travel companies which we began investigating.

“We switched our focus from destination guidance to recommendations and advice, which many people found essential.

“We had to partially rip up what we were doing and change our approach completely, almost to a campaigning focus.”

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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