Read with interest John Welsh's comments on social media. Talking about opening up social networks, he said:

Instead of being secretive; we're open. Things will come to you that never came before.

Everyone, he said, had the chance to be a 'micro-celebrity' or 'the Stephen Fry of the B2B sector', citing the popularity of the editor of one of his group's travel titles as an example.

 

I think it is interesting to note that in the B2B space where there are head to head media rivals, that things aren't quite as open as we might think. In terms of content, the rivalry DNA has been and seems to continue to drive competition amongst each other rather than openness and engagement with the audience. Clearly the commercial rivalry remains acute. 

 

In many ways the brands act as they always have done – driven by a desire to scoop the other – and still in print (a hark back to 80s red tops). Take for example, today's leader comment in TTG by editor Lucy Huxley.

You may have read in another travel trade publication [this is what we said about our strategy at TW to which Huxley is referring] last week that weekly print magazines 'can no longer deliver breaking news' [her direct quote marks but not sure of the source].

 

It is the kind of comment you might make if you're regularly beaten to the scoops – but it was news to us here at TTG.

 

We're conscious of how the internet has changed the media landscape, but we consistently

break news in our print edition that gets delivered to your doors.

Aside from being a negative response to TW's plans and refresh of the print product Huxley is tapping into this highly competitive, head to head way of being – the old world rivalry DNA. Will the audience care about how we cover things when and where? Not as long as they get what they need – and metrics tell us that.


This approach just doesn't fit with the new world we are in.

 

Coming back to Welsh's point about being less secretive, the interesting bit is where the openness is occurring. In the B2B travel media sector, the likes of Kevin at Travolution and Nathan at Travel Weekly are in conversation with the likes of Matt Parsons at rival Travel Trade Gazette, who in turn are in conversation with travel agents, tour operators, consumers and travel bloggers.

 

Reporters such as Martin Ferguson at TTG are now talking to the peers on TW such as Chloe Berman.

 

Recession is putting immense pressures on B2B media brands and those in head to head markets will be looking to differentiate to survive. Maybe this differentiation will lead to more openness and transparency as new ways of working and creating content are adopted. 

 

In the meantime, from a content/user perspective the old world rivalries are starting to look, well, out-moded. Do users and readers care about the rivalry? Decreasingly so. They care about knowing what is going on in the industry, talking to each other, sharing and learning. All of us in the travel space are a part of the conversation.

 

The challenge now for publishers is how to differentiate from their rivals in order that they can survive.