For more than 90 years, Reader’s Digest has sought to simplify and enrich the lives of a passionate readership by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting content in family, food, health, home improvement, finance and humor.
It’s now part of a bigger family of brands housed in Reader’s Digest Association (RDA), which includes its flagship Reader’s Digest publication, Taste of Home, described as the world’s largest circulation food publication (with more than 39 million monthly visitors), and other enthusiast media titles that are read by more than 20 million people each year.
In its ongoing quest to provide more value to its audiences, RDA this week announced a deal with Priceline, best known for its ads featuring another icon in William Shatner, to create custom online travel centers for its flagship media properties. Now you can not only read about a great destination on its website, but you’re only a click away from booking a flight, hotel and car to whisk you there, bringing the promise of its content to life.
The move follows the rollout of EnrichU branded e-learning centers to its media websites, and aims to increase loyalty, boost traffic and make its websites more of a destination to enhance the content and cross-marketing power of its brands.
The first co-branded Travel Center (which bears “Powered by Priceline Partner Network”) is now live on the Reader’s Digest website and will be followed by a Taste of Home travel center on Sept. 1. Each center offers consumers a collection of global travel services including hotel room bookings, car reservations, vacation packages and deals on flight/hotel reservations.
According to Reader’s Digest research, its “highly engaged, significant audiences have strong affinities for travel, with surveys showing that 70 percent of the RDA audience sees Reader’s Digest as a credible source for travel information and a majority are interested in purchasing travel services on our brand sites.”
brandchannel Editor-in-Chief Shirley Brady spoke with Beth Gorry, Reader’s Digest Association Vice President of Product and Brand Marketing, to find out how RDA is enhancing its digital media brands with more utility and offerings.
brandchannel: Beth, how does adding travel services enhance the Reader’s Digest experience and brand — and the Taste of Home brand — for your various audiences?
Beth Gorry: The new Travel Centers complement our great content, help to differentiate our brands, and provide value to our readers. Reader’s Digest is a trusted source for travel content and our travel related pieces represent some of our most popular content both offline and online.
We believe that by aligning ourselves with a partner like PPN (Priceline Partner Network), where we can offer our audience a wide selection of valuable travel discounts, it is a natural extension for our brands and delivers on our promise of enrichment and inspiration. We plan to promote the Travel Centers online and offline across all of Reader’s Digest Association properties.
BC: What factors convinced you that Priceline was the right brand to partner with to create a travel center for these two digital properties?
Gorry: We were attracted by their breadth of offerings, our audience’s familiarity with Priceline.com, the ease of integrating with our current site to provide a smooth customer experience, and our ability to promote their regular discounts and Express Deals.
BC: What other kinds of utility and services are you adding to Reader’s Digest and your other brands?
Gorry: Our new online education offering, EnrichU, is one that comes to mind and was recently announced, starting with the Taste of Home Online Cooking School and the Family Handyman DIY University. (A third RDA e-learning program is scheduled for the fall, with additional programming to follow.)
BC: Do media brands have to offer utility such as this these days? Is it no longer enough to consistently offer great content?
Gorry: We look to create and partner with adjacent products and services that both complement and feed our great content. Our content is at the heart of our online learning centers and new services like the Travel Centers will allow us to gain more insight into our audience and creates opportunities for new content from both our editors and our readers.
BC: How else are you trying to extend the iconic brand that is Reader’s Digest in this era of partnerships and digital/mobile experiences?
Gorry: We are always exploring new adjacency products and services that will resonate with our audience, and that our audiences gives us permission, as a trusted, reputable source, to deliver.