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Travel trends with Sarah Hartley at The Mail On Sunday

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In the hot seat:

Sarah Hartley: Travel Editor at The Mail On Sunday



Sarah’s Focus:

  • She Travel desk is Sarah Hartley. No one else on the desk
  • Each week Sarah has 6 pages a week to fill.
  • 5 travel supplements a year – 32 pages each. January (x2); May; October; x1 Cruise
  • Commissions writers for a story on a case by case basis. Don’t pitch to the freelancer
  • Sarah is mainly desk bound but loves meeting PRs for coffee
  • 8:30-10:30 is a bad time to contact due to 9.30am MoS conference
  • Doesn’t mind phone calls
  • Will go to client events if relevant and has been given enough warning (3 months +)


Travel Focus:

  • The Mail on Sunday reader: loves food and drink, over the age of 50 and either travelling with their family or alone, is affluent, active, and will be spending £3,000 plus on holidays. Will travel 3 – 4 times a year, they love travelling in the UK – “Great British Boltholes” runs every week
    • The reader is not excited by exclusives as they prefer tried and tested
    • 1 in 3 cruises are booked via the travel section
    • Escorted tours are very popular and the reader loves art, history, culture, food and drink.
    • Readers want to make sure tourism is responsible – big interest in the environment
  • The weekend pages are a bright shot of inspiration for readers.
    • Skiing is being reintroduced to the paper
    • Sarah is making sure it is truly global and covers everywhere
  • Travel stories tie in with the weather and the climate
    • Earliest Christmas stories will be run is when the clocks go back
  • Consumer focussed and celebrity travel stories are off limits
  • Cost or price of a holiday is not required


Top Tips:

  • Paper goes to print on Friday for Sunday
  • All print content goes online – separate entities and Ted Thornhill looks after all online content
  • From about 10pm on Saturday night, all Sunday travel content is uploaded online
  • Sarah reads every email she is sent – relies heavily on PRs
  • Sarah works about 12 weeks ahead and likes to line each story up so that she knows what is going on in advance
  • Sarah asks herself “Would I send my friends or family there?” before going ahead with a commission
  • Press releases should be kept uncomplicated and simple. Let the initial intro tell the story and leave it to 3 – 4 lines
  • If the pitch is right, she will say from the beginning and will tell PRs what the title of the piece will be
  • Images are important as help visualisation


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