ITN, the bargain of the century

By Armond Noble
This item appears on page 81 of the February 2010 issue.

From the Mailbag:

Tom Dickenson, Ann Arbor, MI, wrote, “ITN is a fabulous publication and the bargain of the century.”

Hmmm. From that astute judgment, I can only guess that he is the Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. (Or if not, he should be.)

Steven Cole of Lowell, MI, said, “I have canceled all my subscriptions to other travel magazines (the slick ones) because there is more advertising disguised as editorial matter than there is true objective reporting. Also, the slick magazines focus on expensive hotels, resorts and restaurants (and even on fashions!). Sorry, but I’m not going to spend $800 a night for a place to sleep!

“I don’t care if you print your magazine on newsprint. Print it on Russian toilet paper if you have to. ITN is absolutely the best!”

It sure seems there are smart people in that Michigan.

Every so often I ask that you give ITN advertisers close consideration in making your travel plans. Because they are the smartest of the lot. And I think that enters into the quality of their product. I’ll give you an example.

We had an advertiser for a short time who let us know that he was dropping his ads here because, as he said, the Los Angles Times brought him three times the response that ITN did. Well, I checked and found out that for the same size of ad he was running with us, the Los Angeles Times charged him TWELVE times what we did.

I was going to write him a letter and ask him if he had flunked algebra. However, my polite wife wrote him and said that we thought he would be very pleased that we were bringing him inquiries at one-fourth the cost of the newspaper. We never heard back. I think that

he still could not figure it out or was then too embarrassed to reply to us. The smart advertisers are still with us. •

In a short time we’ll be mailing a survey to some ITN subscribers. Should you be among the recipients, please, please, respond.

There are tour companies that pass out rosters of each tour’s participants. If you send your next tour’s roster to us, we’ll send each of the tour members a free sample copy of ITN. (The more readers we have, the more reports we can print.)

Those names and addresses go nowhere else. W e’ ve been here since 1976 and in that time we have never, ever sold or exchanged a subscriber’s name or the name of someone requesting a sample copy. And we don’t intend to.

One thing that we believe really sets ITN apart — far apart — from other travel magazines is the “zingers” that we print. If a reader runs into a “less than wonderful” situation, we won’t shy away from printing it. Even if it’s an advertiser.

Nanci Alexander, Lexington, KY, wrote, “There is a vast difference between ITN and all other travel magazines. I am letting my subscriptions to the ‘glossy’ ones expire because of their focus on celebrities (who cares if George Clooney stayed somewhere?) and because of the prices for products they list as ‘travel gear.’ (Watches that cost $3,000? Really? For traveling?)

“The other aspect of those magazines that continually bothers me is they seem focused on destinations they feel are ‘young and hip.’ They almost give the impression that they are not writing for us travelers of a certain age.”

Armond Noble (also of a certain age), Publisher, ITN