Budget Travel looks to user content

In an effort to further engage readers, Budget Travel Magazine has launched social media features on its Web site.

Readers can now use the KickApps-powered platform to keep and share an online travel profile and journal, travel tips and post photos and videos.

“With our new social media features, BudgetTravel.com readers will play an exciting role in helping their friends, family and fellow readers travel better and have more fun,” Steve Merrill, general manager of BudgetTravel.com, said in a statement. “The KickApps Platform gives us the ability to extend our ‘reader first’ vision and philosophy, which started with our print magazine, to our website in some great new ways.”

To heighten interactivity on the site, readers will be able to rate each others’ shared content. High-rated photos and travel journals will be promoted on the Web site. Reader comments are also encouraged, giving the magazine insight into which editorial pieces interest readers.

Bolstering reader engagement seems to be an ongoing initiative for Budget Travel. The monthly celebrated its 10th anniversary by creating an entirely user-generated June 2008 issue. That reader-snagging device was promoted through a contest that sent five readers “on assignment” to write feature articles.

Reader submissions will continue with the series “A perfect day in…” which launches in the June issue. The monthly feature will ask readers to contribute stories on the best things to do in a chosen city for the chance to have the story printed in the magazine.

Budget Travel reported total paid and verified circulation of 630,689 for the period ended December 31, 2007 — 5.1% over its rate base of 600,000 and .2% higher than its reported circulation for 2006.

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