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Interview with Doug Gollan of Elite Traveler

Doug GollanDoug Gollan is one of three founders of the Elite Traveler magazine.   While  his title is President and Editor-in-Chief,  his responsiblities include overseeing editorial, sales, marketing and distribution.

What is it that  you do exactly?

I would say my time is divided mainly between the  editorial, sales and marketing,  with about 10% spent on circulation.

We publish seven issues a year – six bi-monthly issues of Elite Traveler and our Annual Elite Hotels Resorts Spas, so depending on where we are in the production cycle, there is no typical day.   However, on the editorial side I review all galleys reading all stories and reviewing all layouts.   I also do a column and will write some of the pieces for our “News and Previews” section.   After each issue we have a Post Mortem where we review each issue page by page to look for mistakes and things to improve.   Annually, we put together an Editorial Calendar for the next year, typically early summer.   As we have distribution on private jets in over 90 countries and our readers are global jetsetters, we always strive to have a global perspective.

On the sales side, I hold a weekly sales conference call on Mondays to review status of advertsing for the next issue as well as to discuss how to get new advertisers we think would benefit by communicating with Elite Traveler readers. On any given day I am out of the office with salespeople meeting with potential advertisers to explain what the magazine is all about – the first and only private jet lifestyle magazine – and the fact that we have global circulation, and why that is good.   Most magazines are specific to a single country.   I then also attend press functions to learn about new products and announcements as well as trade shows.

The fact that I am invovled in advertsing and sales gives me a unique perspective. Many companies tell salespeople one thing and editors another, so I think I get a much better viewpoint on which products and services really fit for our readers.

In terms of circulation, the private jet market is booming, so we always want to make sure we are aboard the jets of any new operators.   We have over 400,000 readers every issue, but to get that, we have over 4,000 distribution agreements.   What’s more, while there are lots of private jets in Aspen in the Winter, there are less in the Summer, so we are always busy making sure we send our magazine to where our readers are!

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

The opportunity to deal with so many different companies.   In a single day, I might meet the General Manager of a five-star hotel in Venice, the President of a jewelry company, a tourist board representive from Asia and a marketing executive from a car company.   Hearing what their challenges are and what changes they see in the market is always very interesting.

What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?

This is such a bad question, because after this gets posted I am going to second guess myself.   But pretending this is a game show, and I only have 15 seconds to answer – Villa d’Este on Lake Como, The Beverly Hills Hotel and The Mandarin in Hong Kong. Entering the gates at Villa d’Este must be what it’s like to enter Heaven.   At The Beverly Hills Hotel, everyone you see is either famous or looks like they should be, and at The Mandarin in Hong Kong, they make me feel like I’m Lord Gollan, plus my tailor is there!

What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?

Answering questions is so much harder than asking them!   Toscana at The Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong when the white truffles come in.   Ritz-Carlton service and wonderful food – loosen your belt buckle!   I try to make this at least a once a year experience. Alain Ducasse at The Plaza Athenee in Paris – a great room to propose in, especially if you think she is undecided.   The only answer could be yes!   Of course, in New York I love The Four Seasons restaurant.   The Grill Room is the power room with all the moguls, but I prefer the Pool Room.   High ceilings and the stunning center pool surrounded by plush chairs and well spaced tables and service that makes you feel like a mogul.   If you’re a salesperson, this is where you are guaranteed to close your deal.

I was at a conference in Cairo 15 years ago.     One night they put down about 1,000 carpets on the desert sand next to the pyramids and had the most lavish dinner under the stars. Wow.

Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?

Yes and no…our magazine is written for and read by the world’s most famous, important and rich people.   Lots of great stories, but discretion is the key. Sorry!

What currently ranks highest on your travel wishlist?

South America – I’ve never been!

Thanks, Doug.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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