Travelocity.com to Launch Magazine

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Travelocity.com plans to launch Travelocity Magazine, a national travel magazine, in September. The timing of Travelocity Magazine's debut will allow the travel Web site to beat its online rival Expedia.com -- which is planning to launch its own magazine, Expedia Travels, in October -- to the newsstands by one month.


Travelocity, Dallas, describes the publication as a practical guide to planning and booking travel online. Travelocity Magazine is a partnership between the site and American Airlines Publications, a travel publisher that already produces two bimonthly titles -- American Way and Southwest Airlines Spirit -- and several specialty issues.


While Travelocity Magazine and Expedia Travels both claim a unique editorial approach to the online travel market, their content is unavailable for comparison. From what they have divulged about their business approaches, however, the publications appear to have much in common.


Both are ventures: Travelocity has teamed with AA Publishing, while Expedia is partnering with Ziff Davis. Both are launching in bimonthly format with roughly the same initial circulation numbers. Travelocity Magazine will kick off with a rate base of 250,000 while Expedia Travels will debut with a circulation of 200,000. Both publications also claim the move into a print magazine is a natural way to extend the brand and loyalty they have built online.


Editorially, both magazines seek to link cyber-travel with real-world travel by targeting readers who plan their travels online. A recent study by the trade group, Travel Industry Association of America, Washington, suggests the market is a significant one. The group reported that 52 million people visited travel sites in 1999 for information on their trips. It is these people who are clearly drawing the attention of the publishing world.


"There's a growing travel market whose information needs, sense of humor, technical intelligence and curiosity are not being addressed by any magazine in the travel category," said Chuck Thompson, executive editor at Travelocity Magazine. "Providing insight to readers to book online and travel more efficiently is at the top of our agenda, and we will do so with a voice that will reflect the personality of this emerging market."


In April, Ziff Davis group president James Spanfeller said he also believed the opportunity existed to "re-create the magazine category." Ziff Davis' experience launching and growing Yahoo Internet Life would benefit its partnership with Expedia, Spanfeller said.


Both Travelocity Magazine and Expedia Travels are expected to be available by subscription, through their respective Web sites and on newsstands.
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