Time Inc. Vets Take A Page From The Email Playbook With Launch Of Upscale Travel Pub

Three magazine media vets on Thursday launched Full Time Travel, a media brand catering to 30-40-year-old upscale consumers.

Think of it like TheSkimm, but for travel content.

The founders – Nick Van Sicklen, former digital VP at Time Inc., Matt Carroll from Modern Luxury and Gabby Blitz Rosen from Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine – say Full Time Travel’s target audience has been underserved by traditional travel pubs and the more millennial-focused social influencer.

Like the once entirely socially distributed NowThis and email-centric TheSkimm, Full Time Travel doesn’t rely on an owned-and-operated site.

“There’s so much pressure on owned-and-operated sites to drive traffic to their dot-coms, but they’re getting squeezed by their referral sources,” said Van Sicklen, a partner and co-founder at Full Time Travel.

Instead, Full Time Travel will find its audience across Facebook and Instagram, and has an email newsletter with 50,000 subscribers.

While many readers consume content in email and social, even the company’s chief content officer, Blitz Rosen, acknowledges Full Time Travel might have to evolve, given the speed of social media’s evolution: “Even though our audience is born in social, that doesn’t mean we can’t be somewhere else tomorrow.”

Full Time Travel combines original content with curated from about 70 travel creators, and uses data to inform its content strategy.

“We don’t want to write because we think [a topic] is great,” Van Sicklen said. “We want to create content because our first-party data from our channels, partner insights or larger trends on the open web are informing what we’re thinking about.”

Full Time Travel says it’s seeing 30-45% open rates for its email newsletter and has signed three brands – Princess Cruises, Venetian Hotels and Long Meadow Ranch – as launch partners.

Full Time Travel’s email newsletter serves as a vessel for both editorially produced and sponsored content.

Similar to TheSkimm, the pub takes a strategic approach to its newsletter content, curating immersive and digestible content within the body of an email. Eventually it foresees expanding this model into other verticals such as style, design or fashion.

“If you look at most newsletters, there’s zero user experience,” Van Sicklen said. “There’s an image and a link to click through to a website. One of the reasons TheSkimm has been successful is because [they’re creating content for the environment] the consumer is already in, whether that’s email or social.”

Van Sicklen, who helped launch millennial-focused properties like Ikea-sponsored The Snug, as well as an in-house content agency while at Time Inc., said Full Time Travel’s sponsored content can be deployed across the purchase funnel.

For instance, Princess Cruises is creating an integrated campaign with Full Time Travel that includes promotion for a Caribbean cruise sweepstakes, an Instagram takeover, social amplification and an email sponsorship.

Because cruise vacationers represent such a small percentage of travelers, the brand wanted to ensure it was reaching the right consideration set.

Princess Cruises will co-create content and creative with Full Time Travel across multiple platforms.

“Instagram is really [where] the inspiration [happens, while] Facebook is in the mid-funnel driving them to our site to start planning,” said Shelley Wise, VP of integrated marketing for Princess Cruises. “Email is where we showcase deals and encourage booking. … We want to make sure we are reaching travelers and getting in the consideration set as they plan vacations.”

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