How To Pitch: Travel Agent Magazine

Travel Writing, Websites and Blogs — By on February 13, 2012 at 6:00 am

By Melissa Lukis
Special to The Lost Girls

Keeping agents and travel professionals informed with the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on destinations, hotels, and industry news is what Travel Agent magazine does best. This leading, biweekly trade publication helps its readership of agents and travel providers sell more travel, more effectively. Topics on the 2012 editorial calendar include ski travel, family travel, girlfriend getaways, weddings and honeymoons, and all-inclusive resorts, to name a few. This week, The Lost Girls spoke with Travel Agent Senior Editor Joe Pike about what goes into a winning pitch for the publication.

What sections are open to freelancers for pitching?

We’re pretty much open to any section. We’ve used freelancers for anything from full, two- or three-page features to cover stories and news briefs on the website. If a freelancer is going on a press trip that we can’t make or if a freelancer has written about a place that we haven’t covered in a while, our interest goes up. However, we need exclusive rights to the story. So, if a writer covers a destination piece that was already picked up by another publication or website, we wouldn’t use it.

Is there a particular format and style you prefer when it comes to freelance work? Are you more interested in narrative pieces, “list” articles, guides, etc?

Narrative pieces would be more suitable for blogs, but generally we ask for information-driven stories. These may not be as interesting to write, but these are the stories our readers love. Sure, they love some good feature writing, but the majority of our readers are using these stories as “cheat sheets.” They want names, numbers, emails, insider information, deals, etc. Lists are usually something we reserve for the full-time staff simply because its more credible in the readers’ eyes if the list comes from an author they’re used to seeing in the magazine.

What makes a stellar pitch for Travel Agent?  

Stories about unique niche markets (medical tourism) or hot trends (gay honeymoons) are always something we keep an eye on. Emerging destinations is another subject we look for. Also, a profile on a particular agency or agent is another type of story we love. And, quite simply, a press trip we cannot attend.

What doesn’t make a good pitch (i.e. things that freelancers do that would never fly for the publication?)

Ready-for-publication stories that are sent via mass email to many publications. I won’t even read them if I know my competitors are sent the same stories. Also, if it’s a tired story idea, i.e. weddings and honeymoons in Mexico, wine tours in Chile, etc.

Similarly, what are the most common mistakes made by freelancers when pitching?

Again, mass email pitches and also stories that they covered quite some time ago. I would say the biggest mistake is not consulting with us to learn our style first.

If you’ve got an idea, which editor should you send it to? 

Finally, what sets Travel Agent apart from other publications that are available? Is there anything in particular about the publication’s background that would be important for freelancers to keep in mind before pitching?

We are extremely travel agent- and information-focused. We’re perhaps as multi-media as a trade publication gets. And we have plenty of opportunities for freelancers—online news briefs and stories for both Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor magazines; newsletters; blogs; etc.