The May 2015 cover of Travel + Leisure
“I'm not a fan of the lonely woman,” said Nathan Lump,
sitting in a conference room in the Time-Life Building in midtown Manhattan
last week. He was giving Travel Weekly a preview of the newly redesigned Travel
+ Leisure print edition and TravelandLeisure.com.
The travel magazine with a solo woman on the cover “is a
common trope I’d like to avoid. What I’m trying to do is capture a spirit and
mood, and have covers that feel alive.”
The cover of the May 2015 issue has two women
on Paris’ Pont Alexandre III rather than one, but to his point, they do look
like they’re enjoying themselves. Very
much by design, the two women, Marieke Gruyaert and model Jeanne Damas, are
best friends, and are also in an editorial fashion feature within.
Starting today, readers of Travel + Leisure will receive the
print publication and can visit its website as reimagined by Lump, who was appointed editor
“I’m trying to capture a certain kind of energy, liveliness,
fun and joy. Rather than a very composed and structured cover, I prefer both
imagery and type treatments that have more energy, that crackle with life and [project]
what places feel like.”
New layouts, sections and columns, tweaks (and name changes)
for some existing departments, different approaches to long-form “well” stories
(including nontraditional choices for writers and photographers) and fonts that
are, for now, unique to T+L are among the changes.
Unlike Conde Nast Traveler, whose evolving redesign most
recently included a new logo, the existing Travel + Leisure logo will stay
Advertisers have responded well to the new concepts, said
publisher Jay Meyer, sitting across the table from Lump. He said it is the
thickest May issue since 2008, and at 200 pages, is 15% bigger than May 2014.
Lump leafed through the publication, giving a tour of the
format changes. “We’ve introduced a new section, ‘Beyond,’ to bring
storytelling to the front of the book. ‘Radar’ becomes ‘Here and Now.’
Previously, ‘Trip Doctor’ followed; you didn’t get storytelling until you got
to the well.”
Lump said the brand is experimenting with storytelling as
never before, including in departments and columns. In a feature called
“Takeaway,” writers tell stories through things they acquired on a trip.
Content previously found in “Trip Doctor” will now be found
in “Upgrade,” but with a twist in perspective. “’Trip Doctor’ suggested
something needed to be fixed rather than that something already good can be
made better,” Lump said. “We’ll use the tag ‘travel smarter’ with it.”
In the relaunched T+L, full fashion shoots will make a
comeback in travel titles, he said. “Not every month, but there will always be
some style pages that showcase great fashion items. Fashion has a role to play
in helping you see destinations in a new way and evoking the spirit of a
An “address book” of the shoot locales will be included.
What was once in reader service boxes embedded in articles
will now be aggregated in “The Details,” toward the back of the publication.
Additional sections are also being introduced; some will be
monthly, some will appear at intervals.
The book will always close with “Wish You Were Here,” the
reproduction of a postcard sent by “notable people and friends of the brand,”
Lump said. In the May issue, it comes from London, sent by New York-based
jewelry designer Eddie Borgo.
Changes to TravelandLeisure.com, whose soft launch commenced
this week, present a more radical change in design and content than are seen in
the print relaunch, and also more overtly reflect shifts in media across brands
in every vertical.
The new format “will allow us to adopt a high velocity
publishing model, which is a fancy way of saying we will publish a lot more
content online,” Lump said.
It was important to him, Lump continued, to relaunch print
and online simultaneously. “You need to conceive the products holistically,” he
The dual relaunch reflects an internal reorganization which
began shortly after Lump arrived. The staff and web teams have been integrated —
“we no longer have anyone working exclusively on print,” he said — and he added
that the new print edition and website were guided by understanding what print,
the web and social media do well. All platforms, he said, will “add up to a
modern idea of what a media brand is.”
Website channels will be thematic as well as geographic, and
the homepage above-the-fold showcases dramatic imagery over type.
Among the biggest changes in content strategy will be to go
from about a dozen new website posts per week to more than 20 per day. That
will be accomplished, in part, by building a global network of correspondents.
“Contributing networks are very much in fashion,” Lump said.
“One key difference is that all of our people will be paid. We have a
sophisticated audience, and the types of people who can bring the expertise
they need are the kinds of people who require payment for their work. They’re
The new responsive design has been conceived with “2015 ad
viewability” in mind, he added, “and we will do many more releases that include
new bells and whistles and features that will push the envelope, from a
The site will remain in “preview mode” until April 15, at
which time the site will officially launch and advertisements will go live.
The beta version shown to Travel Weekly included many
holding places for ads, and Lump said that “any slots can be changed out for
native [advertising] placement.”
“Jay and I have lots of ambition regarding video and
commerce events,” he said. Interactive destination guides will come a bit
later, he added, saying there will be a series of releases over the next four
Lump acknowledges that the new site benefits from work
originally done by other Time Inc. titles. “We definitely draft off some of the
development work and learnings” at other brands, he said.
And Meyer further credits the 2013 ownership change from
American Express to Time Inc. with the ability to fund significant redesigns.
“We were small in the Amex world. We couldn’t affect the
stock price. Travel wasn’t at the core of Time Inc., but now it is. They gave
Nathan the resources and support he needed to reinvent Travel + Leisure.”