LUMP’S SURPRISING T+L: When Travel + Leisure editor in chief Nathan Lump was ushered in by the magazine’s parent company Time Inc. to take the helm for Nancy Novogrod, who retired from the job, his appointment in September was met with some skepticism. Lump was a different kind of editor, one who held senior positions in both media and marketing, and who used words like “digitally native” and “branded content” with enthusiasm rather than the concern reserved by print editors.

Even his presentation of the new T+L, which hits newsstands today and launches in tandem with a souped-up Web site, was a little bit different. From a conference room at the Time-Life Building in Midtown Manhattan, Lump unveiled T+L’s Web site first, going through the changes in design and usability in meticulous detail.

This story first appeared in the April 8, 2015 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“This is modern and it has an easier user experience. There are more bells and whistles,” Lump said, while showcasing the homepage, which featured a grate of six images from various destinations with a rollover function that would lead to a feature if clicked upon. Lump talked about the “ROI curation” of the space, which was met with a raised eyebrow.

“It’s clearer,” he said in response.

The site makes use of white space in a spare way, allowing for digital advertising integration and — even more important — native placement, as well as larger photos.

Lump said the team would publish at a higher clip, ramping up to about 20 posts a day versus the dozen or so that appear online. That quicker speed is reflective of T+L’s restructuring. When Lump took the helm in the fall, he rebuilt the staff, adding roughly 14 new faces — all of whom had the quick metabolism for digital storytelling. “The Web site needs to be as sophisticated as the magazine,” he noted, adding that print journalists would also work on the site.

On to the relaunched 200-page print issue, which is up roughly 8 percent in advertising pages in May. Advertisers include Forevermark, Belstaff, Ritz-Carlton, Hermès, Dolce & Gabbana, Cartier, The Peninsula hotels, Porsche and Holland America.

Publisher Jay Meyer told WWD that since T+L was acquired by Time Inc. in 2013, his mandate has been to grow the brand and bring in new, high-end advertisers — a goal that seems to be the phrase of the day among travel title publishers. Bill Wackermann of Condé Nast Traveler revealed on Monday that he has exactly the same aim. “We’re relatively new at Time Inc. In the American Express world, Travel + Leisure can’t affect an $80 billion company in terms of stock price. Now we’re part of a media company that has not had a travel brand in its past — a core travel brand — and they asked us to assess the market,” Meyer said. “If you look at the market, $7.6 trillion is spent in travel. It’s 10 percent of the gross domestic product. This was eye-opening.”

Holding the May issue, Lump noted the cover, which was shot in Paris, had more of a fashion shoot-feel than a traditional travel magazine look — a detail that helps to “elevate” and “modernize” his T+L.

Shot by Alistair Taylor-Young, the cover depicts “It” girls Jeanne Damas and Marieke Gruyaert on the bridge Alexandre III, with a cinematic spread of the duo at their favorite Parisian hangouts.

The editor said he plans on folding more fashion into the magazine’s pages, which could be viewed as a deliberate grab at Condé Nast Traveler’s playbook. When CNT relaunched last year under the gaze of Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour, new editor Pilar Guzman laid out a blueprint for the magazine, which included more fashion. (That strategy has been Wintour’s go-to for the magazines she has helped oversee.)

Flipping through the issue, Lump stopped at the style pages, which were edited by style editor Jane Bishop, an alumnus of Wintour’s Vogue, before adding: “Print is very much a luxury experience. It’s ‘me’ time.”

The editor has also folded in more features by well-known writers like Colum McCann, who penned a story about returning to his homeland of Ireland, as well as food coverage and photos by artist Massimo Vitali.

“Our job in print is to surprise,” Lump offered. “It’s the approach that a lot of fashion magazines take.”

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