A Good Year

Did you ever receive one of those holiday letters? You know the type, the usually insufferable year-end recap of the miraculous, the monumental and the mundane (one relative had a baby, an uncle survived a gall bladder operation, one kid got into college, the other is on the honor roll, blah blah blah...).

Well, at the risk of sounding self-indulgent, here's my (hopefully sufferable) holiday letter to you...

Dear Friends, Wow, where do I start? This has been such an amazing year. All of the members of our "family" are doing incredibly well. Travel Agent magazine has increased its base of qualified subscribers by almost 10 percent, we're the market leader in ad pages and, for those of you who thought we were on a diet over the summer, we actually published more pages than any other magazine in the entire travel trade industry. With a refocused, fine-tuned editorial approach and a revitalized editorial team under the leadership of Ruthanne Terrero, we're bigger, stronger and better than ever.

On the luxury side of our business, my colleague John McMahon and his team have done a phenomenal job with Luxury Travel Advisor magazine. Serving the needs of the luxury-selling agent, LTA increased its frequency to 11 times this year. It has increased business by a whopping 91 percent, and is going monthly in '07. John will not be getting coal in his stocking this year!

Oh, and have you heard about the new additions to our family? In March, Home-Based Travel Agent magazine was born, and in December the Home-Based Travel Agent Expo was brought into the world. Right from the start these twins made quite an impression. After only three issues, Home-Based Travel Agent magazine was voted the best magazine for the home-based agent by a healthy margin, and next year will be published 10 times. The Home-Based Travel Agent Expo had an overwhelming launch, with pre-registration attendance figures that will make it the single largest home-based agent event anywhere. Co-located with its more upscale sibling the Luxury Travel Expo in Las Vegas during Travel Week (December 5–7), these two events combined will be the largest gathering of travel agents in North America.

And these two events have an influential international cousin: The Luxury Travel Expo Mexico, held in the Riviera Maya in October, was a resounding success. And our new Incentive Travel Exchange in June brought together incentive buyers and suppliers in a unique and effective appointment-based format.

Our Travel Agent Custom Solutions Group continues to dominate, winning several HSMAI Adrian Awards this year. We switched from one Cooper (Mark) to another (Jonathan), and we continue to lead the market, producing high-profile sales planners and educational programs for destinations like South Africa, the Dominican Republic, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, India and many, many more.

Finally, our parent Questex Media Group has never been stronger or healthier. While we have a number of competitors who love to spread rumors and disinformation (don't you just hate that?), the reality is that Questex is the single most dominant player in the travel trade media and event business. But with five leading publications and four events, don't think we're standing still. Our 67 percent growth this year is just a hint of things to come.

Well, that's about it for now. Here's hoping that yours was a tremendous year as well, and that you have a safe, happy holiday and a prosperous new year.

Kerry J. Cannon, Jr. GROUP PUBLISHER kcannon@questex.com