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Customer Story: The Antiguan

Feb 17th, 2023 by Alina Ionescu

When it comes to helping visitors explore Antigua and Barbuda’s showstopping sights, there’s no travel guide magazine that does it better than The Antiguan. Between luxury resorts, high-end gourmet restaurants, and the breathtaking turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the twin island is nothing short of a sunny haven for anyone looking for a carefree vacation with extravagant pampering. And The Antiguan knows how to make this little spot of paradise well-known overseas, all the way to Europe, Canada, and the US.

As part of our ongoing Customer Story series, we were delighted to talk to Kelly and Jenny who shape The Antiguan into a yearly information oasis as a close-knit team of three, together with Jackie, the designer. From the magazine’s inception story to all the ways they distribute it internationally, Kelly and Jenny shared with us how choosing an all-digital magazine format with Issuu has allowed them to promote The Antiguan to wider audiences and deliver a hyper-accessible version at the click of a button. Check out what they had to say.

Welcome, Kelly and Jenny! Can you tell us the story behind The Antiguan and its mission?

Kelly: The Antiguan is a concise, easy-to-read informational travel guide for the islands of Antigua and Barbuda and has been an integral part of promoting the twin island state for the last 30 years; we are actually the first magazine that pioneered this kind of promotional effort. In order to make it happen and promote the magazine internationally, we work very closely with our Ministry of Tourism and our Tourism Authority (ABTA) for the island.

Our mission is to attract tourists to Antigua, but the magazine also serves as an informational guide for residents alike. Jenny and I are doing everything we can to attract people to come here by showing them where they can stay, what to do while they’re here, as well as where to go shopping while visiting Antigua. We used to deliver all of this information by printing a physical magazine but those days are long over. 

Jenny: Having evolved from the printed format, which was a very brief guide that people carried around in their beach bags, to an all-digital format with Issuu has transformed The Antiguan into this very easy to read and distribute, flexible version of the magazine we started back in 1990. It also helps us be eco-friendly and stay ahead of the times, which was not possible with print. 

We’ve got an abundance of white sand and turquoise sea that we have to promote, along with our 365 beaches. Issuu allows us to do that in so many ways, making The Antiguan more interactive, with links and videos being just a fraction of it. People are now able to read our publication on their laptop, phone, or tablet at any time, no matter where they are. Going digital with the magazine also means more opportunities for advertisers to promote the island. 

We are very proud to be able to continue publishing The Antiguan because there are many years behind us and we have a strong reputation to uphold. And with Issuu to support our efforts, we are able to do exactly that. 

What attracted you to The Antiguan and how did you get started there?

Kelly: The Antiguan was started by Edna Fortescue in 1990 and was the first travel magazine for the island back then. Since then it has blossomed tremendously. For Antigua, the main source of income is almost entirely tourism; that’s our revenue and it’s critical to our economy.

Essentially everybody that lives here is working in tourism in some way or another. We are very passionate about our island, so it’s an honor to be able to work on The Antiguan and help sustain our industry. The magazine is a very important marketing tool for the Ministry of Tourism and our Tourism Authority as well. I joined it in 2000, so I’ve been with the magazine for 23 years now.

Jenny: Kelly has been a good friend of mine for many decades and, about 10 years ago, I joined her out of coincidence and simply haven’t left. It is true when she says we’re very passionate about the island and extremely proud to be a part of The Antiguan. Through our work, we get to help promote our beautiful island. 

One fact that we must always consider is the number of magazines that have come and gone, while The Antiguan has consistently outlived them. A lot of other publications have taken inspiration from The Antiguan and it’s been interesting to try and prevent that. This has presented us with many challenges over the years in trying to overcome it and stay ahead of the competition, but Kelly and Edna always succeeded at it.

What do the typical planning, scope, and execution look like for your magazine’s content?

Kelly: We are a small team of three, like a cottage industry. I am the umbrella person, handling all the administration, liaising with advertisers, coordinating efforts with the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Authority, as well as creating the layout of the magazine. We wear whatever hats we need to wear on any given day.

And then there’s Jenny, who plays a major role in sales, marketing, and social media. We’ve also got Jackie, who does the design of our website and magazine, which she then publishes on Issuu. We work great as a team, doing a little bit of everything between the three of us. 

Jenny: We do whatever we have to do to come out on time. That’s a key element. Obviously, we’re not selling a tangible item. We’re selling this link to Issuu that’s going to promote the island along with the individual businesses that operate here. I have the task of trying to rope everybody in and convince them that they need to be with us. Once they’re with us, they tend to not leave us. We have a very long-standing list of customers that have been advertising with us for many years because they see the value of the magazine, the effort, and the exposure it brings. 

How did you initially discover Issuu?

Kelly: It happened about 10 years ago. We were not tech-savvy people at all, but we were determined to figure out a way of putting The Antiguan on our website. It was our web designer at that time who suggested Issuu, and, after seeing what other magazines were doing with Issuu, I liked it a lot. It was really cool.

What features do you use the most within Issuu and what results have you had?

Kelly: Compared to doing it in print, having the magazine be digital with Issuu is amazing. First off, we’ve managed to achieve an outstanding reach by embedding the magazine on our website. The feedback we get from readers and customers has been extraordinary, too. Readers thoroughly enjoy the ease of accessing it on any device, be it their phone or tablet. We’re constantly getting positive feedback – people even send us messages to thank us for such a great magazine.

Another great selling factor has been the Videos feature we use for some of our ads in the magazine, which are sent to us by advertisers or the Tourism Authority. It has been such a fantastic feature for us. 

Jenny: We also use cards with a QR code that sends people straight to The Antiguan on Issuu. We always distribute it all around – in key spots around the island and in tourist offices overseas, like in the UK, Canada, and the US. They also make sure the QR code cards are in all the primary expositions whenever they’re promoting Antigua and Barbuda. 

We also have it in our email signatures. This is a really great tool because we use it as a laminated sticker format that we share all around the island. 

There is a regatta coming up and the QR code cards will be in all the skippers' bags. This will allow them to quickly download the magazine and share it with their teams.

We have had great feedback from the analytics since the first time we launched the magazine in 2003. We’ve been seeing who is interacting with The Antiguan and we’ve been really satisfied with the numbers. 

What are some of your efforts in order to grow your audience?

Jenny: It all boils down to constant marketing through social media more than anything. We send out reminders to advertisers to make sure they’re doing their part, too, because it’s also in their interest to advertise with us. We also communicate with the Ministry of Tourism every 3-6 months to stay top-of-mind.

Kelly: Our Ministry and Tourism Authority are all about being digital, so Issuu is the perfect tool for them, too. They use it at their offices in Canada, Europe, and the US.

Jenny: As soon as people go through the main arrival hall at the airport, there’s going to be posters with the same QR code right there, welcoming them, so the visitors who come to the island can access The Antiguan as soon as they land. 

We’re trying to bring people to the island, so it’s more about reaching people that would love to come here, where the weather is amazing compared to where they are now. 

How do you determine which features to use on Issuu? 

Kelly: Again, this is the beauty of going digital for us. We always have to come up with something that is attractive and that would make people go “Wow!”. What we’ve done, in addition to the main guide for The Antiguan, is custom magazines for each of the hotels on the island. 

In the magazine, there is a section called “Where to stay” that features properties you can stay at in Antigua. We’ve completely stripped that out in the custom magazines. For example, we are running a custom magazine for a luxury resort, Jumby Bay, that has its own front cover. In the “Where to stay” section, Jumby Bay is the only hotel. That gives them a destination marketing tool to attract people to Antigua, and also market their one and only property. This is where the Unlisted feature comes into play. These magazine versions aren’t public because they are only for the hotels to use in their marketing efforts. 

Issuu allows us to make it happen, so when we approach the hotels with this idea, they are always blown away and really excited to do it. 

How do you typically share The Antiguan with your audience?

Kelly: We do it ourselves, as well as with help from our partners. But the power of people sharing the magazine is what’s really amazing. One of my friends had shared the magazine with her brother and he loved it so much that he booked the trip to one of the island’s resorts, Sandals Grande, the following week. Having people see it and share it with others is wonderful because we get great feedback from this. 

Jenny: There's also a very large travel show that takes place every year in the UK, called World Travel Market London. Everybody is there to promote their island to all the travel agents around the world. And ever since having Issuu, it's always been a great tool for us to be able to be there and meet people, and just with the click of a button forward the link to our magazine. This helps tremendously because those people usually share it with their teams and it just grows exponentially from there. The minister himself is amazed that he has The Antiguan right there, on his phone, and he’s able to instantly share the Issuu link for any kind of inquiries he receives. 

The Antiguan chooses Issuu for:
  • Videos: Elevating their content with powerful interactivity allows The Antiguan to better inform, engage, and delight travelers. 

  • Links: The Antiguan utilizes the power of links to bring their content to life and drive engagement with unique promotions, attractions, and offers from advertisers.

  • Statistics: Real-time insights provide an overview of The Antiguan’s performance, helping them continuously refine their strategy.

  • Sharing Capabilities: Using Issuu to instantly share content with their audience enables The Antiguan to remain the twin island’s most reliable source of information, inspiration, and discovery.

We’d like to thank Kelly and Jenny for sharing how Issuu has been helping sustain The Antiguan’s digital content transformation, publication, and distribution strategy for the past decade.

Interested to learn how easy it is to elevate your travel content on Issuu? Visit our Travel page and book a free demo today!

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