Lyssiemay Annoh is the managing editor of Executive Traveller magazine. The publication and its related website (www.executivetraveller.net) provide
travel-related news, articles, services and tools for users and providers in the travel industry. The magazine is produced quarterly by LNA Associates.
About the publication:
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
Executive Traveller is read by ideally by anyone who has an objective view about travelling. It is important to note that my readers are consumers who travel for both business and leisure so have the highest purchasing power even though they may not be the richest.
Nevertheless, I would say that because of the title “Executive Traveller”, ordinary business travellers who lack confidence may be hesitant in picking a copy. Fair enough – because it is not aimed at them. It is aimed at those who are bold enough to succeed and bold enough to have a say and a choice in the way they travel.
What subjects do you cover?
Executive Traveller is issued quarterly. Each edition is themed and broadly covers almost every relevant thing the corporate traveller needs to know. The theme of each issue is elaborated so that it becomes the main feature. For example the ‘S’ edition which is out in the autumn is called the “S” edition because it focuses on Skiing, spas and the editor’s Selection; however, I do not fail to include relevant new items.
What makes you different from the other publications in your sector?
Executive Traveller has a defined target audience and medium. It is the first magazine to offer to its readers a complete travel solutions. Travelling by business jets for example was not on every one’s lips until the birth of Executive Traveller. We are able to do that because we do not see corporate travellers as an entity but as consumers. Every member of my team has previously served in the industry so we know what it takes to satisfy a corporate traveller. We know that when it comes to travel, one size doesn’t suit all and take pains in offering our readers the whole picture. The beauty of knowing the trade is that you are able to talk to your readers without insulting their intelligence or patronising them.
While Executive Traveller is aimed at corporate executives, we are also aware that they are not the ultimate decision-makers in product choices. Diary secretaries, assistants, spouses and family commitment play an important role in the ultimate travel decision making process so we ensure that there is something to help everyone come to a compromising decision.
Do you produce a features list? Why? Why not?
I am not a fan of features list because I do not like to predict the future and certainly not one with a stale list of ideas – that is not the ‘work of man’. I also do not think that my readers really want to know what they would be reading even before they have bought the magazine. The whole thrill about excitement is the unknown. We have themed the four editions to facilitate marketing and advertising as it helps media buyers with their planning. The features are selected according to the world that arrives before the next edition or opportunities that may have come my way and that is certainly not predictable.
Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, round tables, events) or do you keep them at arm’s length?
PRs are a necessary evil. They charge a fee for their work and expect me to work with them for nothing so I work with them on my terms especially as I pay for the paper and ink that produces my magazine.
Do you have any advice for PRs?
It is important for PRs to know that magazine production is a very expensive business so just as they expect their clients to pay them for representation, so do we expect something in return for our work. Sometimes it baffles me when I receive press releases from PRs who have collected fees to promote some millionaire and they expect you to run a profile on their client for free. If this person was shrewd enough to become a millionaire, they should know that nothing is for free. We all want to become millionaires and this will not happen if we promote millionaires for free!
What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Above all people profiles are not free and they are the editor’s choice. If someone wants to become famous so badly, let them know that it costs money.
For techs, gadgets or products of commercial nature they have to know that I will only write about it if I have seen, sampled or used it. Their clients must be open to understand that for an excellent and productive campaign, there may be some costs to be incurred.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Destinations – I think this is where PRs are most useful because they have the skill of putting together idyllic itineraries to make even the most boring destination a dream one. I am not a ‘hustler’ and have always been a corporate traveller so having things properly organised for me is very important.
Do you have a PR pet hate?
I have three big ones.
1. Executive Traveller is only available by subscription so I hate it when PRs send you material to print and then refuse to subscribe to your magazine to follow up on their news.
2. When they think that by sending me on a press trip or offering me a free sample of a product to test, they are doing me a favour.
3. When they send you press releases on Conde Nast Traveller awards and think it is big news.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
I have an open door policy and am very flexible. I like to receive a lot of information rather than none at all so simply send them in. I will use what I can within the time constraints I have and keep the rest for another edition. I am very good at recycling good news.
What interests you most about your job?
I am very keen on knowing about how best I can succeed in keeping my magazine afloat profitably. I am not a plc so every little helps.
What led to you becoming managing editor for Executive Traveller?
I have managed travel almost all my life and every time I did so, I craved for some informative medium that would make things easier for me. So while managing corporate flights, I introduced Executive Traveller as an inflight magazine and then after 9/11, I felt that the whole world should have access to this way of travelling. It is the most practical way of travelling because you plan your leisure and business activities all under one roof this way the whole organisation does not depend on your means but how productive you want to be when you travel.
What was your first job?
My first ever job at 16 was as a waitress/customer service assistant at a food service point in Kotoka International Airport, Accra Ghana. I fell in love travel and everything that relates to it from then on.
I’d like to have a go at those few who assume that everything is ok and do not realise that I need to be paid for my services because I have overheads and a family to feed.
Where do you expect to be in five year’s time?
Relaxing and reaping the fruits of my labour. I should definitely be planning my retirement then.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would you hope to have with you?
Executive Traveller Magazine – because it would the opportune time to moan about all the things I would have liked to change before it went into print!
What did you have for breakfast?
Two slices of toast, an apple and a cup of black coffee. Unusual for someone with a big appetite.