Media Pioneer Awards - Five Star Magazine

The latest Media Pioneer, writes Carolyn Morgan, is Five Star Magazine, for its book-style production values, advertorial-only policy and inventive approach to targeted international distribution.

By Carolyn Morgan

Five Star Magazine has reinvented the conventional idea of a magazine. Intended to provide in depth reviews of luxury hotels, the print version of the magazine is more like a book, with its square format, quality paper, exceptional photography, and lack of advertising. The editor, Renata Parolari Fernandes, selects the hotels she wants to feature in each issue of the magazine and then proposes a paid-for feature as part of the publication. The features are lavishly illustrated with lush photography and classy design, all on thick, matt paper.

Hotels are keen to be featured since they benefit from the editorial skills of the team, and they can reach a well-heeled, international audience. Renata has established partnerships with a range of luxury travel providers who share her target audience, and they provide a targeted circulation in luxury hotels and spas, executive lounges, exclusive marinas, yachts and private jets for hire, and top-end travel agencies in UK, Europe, Latin America and now India. The magazine also exists in digital format, promoted by partner websites, but the print version is the core of the business. Partners get branding in the magazine in print and online. There’s a waiting list of hotels wanting to be featured in the next four issues.

Five Star Magazine’s plan is to grow their paid-for subscriptions through their free targeted distribution. As the magazine is more like a book, and each edition has a different theme, it is very collectable. As well as hotels, the magazine features luxury experiences in and around each location, so the feel is like an upmarket travel guide. Early subs figures are encouraging.

The business also provides a marketing and PR service for luxury hotels, covering photography, brochure production, video, traditional PR and social media, building on the team’s knowledge of the upmarket hospitality sector plus their editorial and production skills.

While most of us can only dream of the lifestyle depicted by Five Star Magazine, I think many niche publishers can learn from the book-style production values, the advertorial-only policy, the partner-led distribution and the expansion into marketing services for key clients.

Read about other shortlisted Media Pioneers here.

The overall winners of the Media Pioneer awards will be announced at the Specialist Media Show on 25 May 2011. If you know a business that you think deserves to be nominated as a Media Pioneer, please let us know – call 01780 758540 or contact us through our website.