New FMA Board Member Spotlight: Raquel Filipek
New FMA Board Member Spotlight: Raquel Filipek
Title and Company: Senior Director, Corporate Communications and Editor-in-Chief; Hilton Grand Vacations
FMA Member Since: 2020
Magazine(s): Club Traveler
Target Audience: Hilton Grand Vacations Club members
Frequency: Three times per year (Spring, Summer, and Fall/Winter)
Why did you decide to join the FMA Board? What do you hope to accomplish during your time on the Board?
With such a diverse and incredible group of professionals, joining the board of the Florida Magazine Association was an easy decision for me. In addition to being part of a well-established organization that has worked tirelessly to promote editorial excellence in the state of Florida, I wanted to be able to contribute to the profession — something I am strongly passionate about. As a board member, I hope to give back to our industry and help to inspire beginning writers and editors to make an impact as they grow their careers. And as the new chair of the Marketing & Membership Committee, my main goals are to attract new professionals and ensure our existing members continue to find their investment in FMA valuable.
Tell us a little about your publishing background.
My publishing career has not been a traditional one to say the least! My journey started in the nonprofit sector as lead writer for several internal and consumer newsletters. After many years in the conservation field, I shifted gears and accepted a position at The Institute of Internal Auditors, where I managed a highly successful digital newsletter, later transitioning to the Internal Auditor magazine team. From there, I took roles overseeing content marketing efforts like consumer blogs and e-zines, social media campaigns, and branding and creative teams. I’ve also worked in public relations and event management. Now, I’m happy to call Hilton Grand Vacations home, where I serve as editor-in-chief of the Club Traveler program, which consists of a magazine produced in English and Japanese and six distinct newsletters published in four languages. Often, the path of many editors outside the publishing industry is not linear; like mine, it can take many twists and turns, requiring one to wear multiple hats and serve a dual role, such as in corporate communications, public relations, or marketing.
Tell us a little about Club Traveler magazine. What is your vision for the magazine over the next five years?
Club Traveler magazine is the flagship publication of Hilton Grand Vacations. The magazine is distributed three times per year to roughly 250,000 club members around the world. We also publish a sister magazine in Japanese that is distributed to about 70,000 club members in the country. Our goal is to inspire our members to “Dream. Plan. Go” through destination travel stories. Education is also a big component of our magazine. We’ve found that members who are engaged with their vacation ownership and club program are not only more satisfied with their timeshare, but also actively share their passion for travel with others. Hence, my vision for the magazine over the next five years is to continue engaging our members by providing the right type of content, across the right channels, and at the right times.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Florida’s magazine publishers?
Magazine publishers, not just in Florida, have been slow to leverage digital tools. Some of the best publishers around the world have a print offering, but also understand the power of producing free digital content that is then served through a daily, weekly, or monthly email. Videos, photo galleries, interactive maps, and live coverage are all part of this experience, which helps to increase print readership.
Customization of content is also pivotal in bringing in new readers by enabling them to choose the type of content they want to receive and when. While content customization is not easy to achieve with a print publication, especially for magazines that don’t cater to a niche audience, digital channels can help fill the gap by pushing content that both attracts new readers and keeps core audiences engaged until the next print issue hits the mailbox.
What are the biggest opportunities for the magazine industry?
The sky’s the limit for the magazine industry. With so many ways to serve up and promote content, as well as attract readers, publishers and editors are in a unique position to leverage new and exciting tools that can help augment their print offerings with a more immersive and interactive digital experience. The biggest opportunities lie in a combined approach that takes the best parts of print and digital and fuses them into a holistic reader experience.
Tell us a little about what you like to do when you’re not publishing magazines.
I like a little bit of everything — beading, exercising, and trying out new restaurants in Orlando. Lately, I’ve been enjoying travel that is closer to home. My husband owns a motorcycle, so we often take nice trips along the coast or visit nearby towns. With the kids, we go “full tourist” and enjoy visiting the parks and the other tourist areas in Central Florida.