Condé Nast Traveler is getting a digital makeover.
Pilar Guzmán, who did a web site refresh shortly after she took over CNT in 2013, called magazine’s new site, which launched Tuesday evening, a “brand new product” that taps into what she termed “an ever-greater need for curation.”
“This market has changed so quickly, there are so many new players and there is so much more of a need to knit together the thing we have historically done well with hyper-utility,” she said. “If you have planned any travel recently, you know that you have 45 windows open — you are booking flights, you are comparing hotel rates. The goal here is to help simplify that experience for the user.”
But the relaunched web site, Guzmán explained, owes its inspiration to Instagram rather than Trip Advisor. “We are not one-size-fits all, nor do we claim to please everybody. We are very specifically targeting an elevated traveler. By elevated, I don’t mean necessarily rich, but really somebody who is seeking a depth of experience and a connection to place,” she said. “What we are trying to replicate here is the best of social media, the idea that there are people who you follow who you totally trust. There is this sense of trust that is really built into the DNA of this brand. It is like your least judgemental most in-the-know friend.”
One inspiration from Instagram is in the site’s new look, which features plenty of white space and bold images.
The site is organized in three overarching sections: “The Places,” which functions as glossy, image-driven destination guides to travel staples like Paris, New York, Barcelona and Rome, “The Bests,” which houses CNT tentpole franchises such as reader choice awards, hot lists and gold lists, and “The Intel,” which, with illustrations and travel news, tips and articles, looks like a print magazine’s front of book meets blog.
The site features a mix of existing and new content. We’ve “pruned,” Guzman said, extolling the site’s “level of specificity” and expertise.
“It’s a crowded space. So what can we win at? We can win at having deeper information, having better information, having people who actually travel there write the reviews, and writing it up in a package that is just easier for use where everything is in one place,” explained digital general manager Eric Gillin.
Although there is no sponsor tied to the relaunch, existing ad campaigns are running on the site and the new design features room to run custom content in the future.