Independently owned travel magazine Wanderlust has had a complete overhaul following a cash injection from John Brown Citrus Publishing.
The title, which started out from a single Apple Mac owned by a couple with no prior publishing experience, has had its biggest revamp in 11 years.
Co-founder and editor Lyn Hughes launched Wanderlust with her partner (now publisher) Paul Morrison in 1993. They came up with the idea on a long-haul flight to South America and produced the first issue from their spare room, calling on their neighbours to do the proof reading. It sold nearly 3,000 copies. Pagination has now more than doubled to 156 pages and sales have grown to 39,000.
Thanks to the cash boost, Wanderlust has unveiled a new look and signed up several new columnists, placing a greater emphasis on career breaks, wildlife and travelling with children.
The revamp, led by art director Graham Berridge, follows months of research and the most extensive reader survey carried out by the magazine since its launch.
It found the readers could be split into four separate groups: Amazons (single women aged 25 to 55), Indianas (single men aged 25 to 55), Globetrotters (professional couples) and the Golden Wanderers (over-55s).
Hughes said: “We have a lot of regular readers, but outside of that we are not as well known as we should be.
Sunday Times Travel and CondÃ© Nast Traveller have got big companies behind them, but being independent, By Dominic Ponsford One year after its launch, The Sunday Times has confirmed that it is to keep producing monthly interactive CD-Rom, The Month, even though it has failed to have a major impact on sales.
The Month was trumpeted by the paper as the biggest change to newspapers since colour supplements, when it was launched with a £10m investment a year ago.
But circlation over that period has declined and stands at 1,350,384 for the six months to July, compared with 1,372,747 a year before.
Despite this, the paper claims its own research shows that the monthly CD-rom has brought in new readers.
Marketing director Andrew Mullins said: “The CD-Rom has proven to be a strong brand extension and has been an effective circulation driver.
“Not only has The Month helped us to attract a younger, computer-savvy audience, it has enabled us to re-establish the paper as the leader in the entertainment industry.”
The Month provides a monthly round-up of film, theatre, computer games and music releases with sample tracks and film trailers.
03.09.04 press gazette Month sees another year we haven’t got their profile, we haven’t got their clout and it can be very frustrating.”
Wanderlust has now been given a wider format to give it a bigger profile on the news-stands and the frequency has increased from six to eight issues a year – with two extra issues in winter when the majority of readers are planning their next trip abroad.
“That’s the time when the cold days and long dark nights draw in and people plan to take more exotic long-haul trips,” Hughes said.
She added that the wider format would allow more space for photographs – something readers are passionate about – and “help to get that ‘wow’ factor with the photos”.
Eight pages of editorial have been added, including a new section, Career Break, for working professionals.
Hughes said: “We were stunned to find that more than 50 per cent of our readers were interested in taking career breaks and 73 per cent of our single-women readers were interested in taking an extended trip for six months or a year to go travelling.”
The Career Break pages will concentrate not so much on where to go, but the practicalities of doing the trip, including individual case studies.
Hughes said she also wanted to generate more reader feedback. “Let’s face it, our readers are probably travelling more than the editorial team, it’s a shame we haven’t used them more in the past,” she added.
A regular wildlife page, Wild World, has also been introduced and a new family travel column.
Wild World will be written by Radio 4 presenter and Wanderlust freelance Mark Carwardine, featuring articles on where to find the best wildlife encounters, such as tiger spotting in India or coming face to face with a walrus in the Arctic.
Although only 10 per cent of Wanderlust readers have dependent children, Hughes said the idea of a family travel column had generated a good response from readers. Research found that readers were desperate for information on adventure-based holidays that were long haul or off the beaten track.
William Gray, former editor of Travel Africa magazine and Sunday Times freelance, joins the title in November to write the family column which will focus on practical issues such as equipment, health and safety.
Tony Wheeler, founder of the Lonely Planet, has also been signed up as a regular columnist and will talk about his experience of spending three-quarters of the year on the road.
The maps have been made more detailed and the features have been given more space, running across three columns as opposed to two.
Wanderlust will post its first official ABC next year.
Hughes said: “When we started, a lot of people told us there was not any need for a travel magazine because people could get the information elsewhere, but it’s now the world’s biggest leisure industry,” said Hughes.
“The travel magazine market is in a completely virgin state, it is really under-developed and I think in the next few years, there could well be an explosion in the same way as in the men’s magazine market.”
The relaunch issue will go on sale on 9 September at £3.80.
By Ruth Addicott