Condé Nast Traveler to Launch Travel Packages

Condé Nast Traveler is launching CNT-branded travel packages, part of an effort by Condé Nast to look for new revenue streams to offset print ad declines.

The deal with Signature Travel Network, a consortium of travel agencies, will offer travelers Traveler-curated luxury cruise line trips that will include on-board experts and exclusive experiences on the ground, like private tours of local points of interest. Traveler hopes to launch at least two cruises under the partnership this year.

This is the second recent effort by Traveler to use its name to sell travel experiences. Last October, it teamed up with the online luxury shopping company Gilt Groupe. That pact involved selling travel deals that were inspired by the magazine and sold products of Traveler’s advertisers.

In this case, Traveler is giving content to Signature in the form of its own experts or ones affiliated with the magazine who will then help curate the trips, said Chris Mitchell, vp, publisher, Traveler. “We’re programming special experiences on board,” he said. “Signature will sell those cruises.”

Traveler also may share revenue from the cruises with Signature, but those details haven’t been worked out, Mitchell said.

Traveler, which suffered a 41 percent decline in ad pages in 2009, also hopes the program will deepen its relationship with cruise ship advertisers. The way Traveler envisions it, the magazine will ask cruise ship operators to participate in the itinerary of the cruise in exchange for running pages in the magazine.

Mitchell said care would be taken to ensure the partnership wouldn’t violate the editorial integrity of the magazine, which has staked its reputation on the motto “Truth in travel.”

“Like everything we do, it all begins with editorial,” he said. In designing the trips, he said, he’ll ask, “What do we know that is coming up that might make an interest hook for an on-board experience?”

Related: Condé Nast’s Culture Shift