Kevin Luke May is the co-founder, editor and brains behind Tnooz (www.tnooz.com/), which launched in September 2009. A journalist for 16 years, Kevin May was the editor for Travolution prior to founding his own startup in Tnooz.
Kevin May, Editor - Tnooz
Published below is a Q&A with Kevin May, which reveals a fair bit about how and why Tnooz was launched, what makes it tick, and where it is heading to.
Question: How did Tnooz come about? I mean, was it something which you had been thinking about and you felt it was the right time now, or was it triggered by a meeting with someone, or some event?
Kevin May: The Tnooz team decided that there was a hole in the B2B travel media marketplace for a global brand which is focused on travel technology, online distribution, digital markeing, social media and related disciplines. The web allows us to create that kind of media product in a far more exciting way than was possible in the days of print-based media.
Question: From the looks of it, you’re aggregating contributors from the across the world to offer both local and global perspectives. You think this will help attract a more global audience, instead of being limited to a specific region? Anything else you had in mind when you came up this concept?
Kevin May: I feel strongly that the aggregation of B2B travel media content is starting to dilute the overall value and message of the source content. Tnooz has taken a different approach, creating a roster of writers (we call them nodes) around the world who write new content for us, rather than Tnooz aggregating a raft of blogs and news sources.
Question: The PhocusWright Connection – Is it an official partnership? Other than the presence of Gene Quinn and Philip Wolf, what kind of role – if any – did PhocusWright have in the startup? Any plans for content sharing or other arrangements with PhocusWright?
Kevin May: We are an independent media company, seeking to have strategic partners with organisations around the world. We have to be research-neutral, sector-neutral and maintain our position as an analytical, edgy, accurate and valuable provider of news and commentary. We will write about PhoCusWright in the same objective way as any other research company, despite the connections, and also work with them and others to ensure we have relevant and useful content.
Question: Is Tnooz going to be more of a media publication or a platform for bloggers? I mean, do you have any editorial guidelines, oversight,etc. for what gets published?
Kevin May: Tnooz is a media business which has high quality articles at its core. We have a mixture of professional journalists and a range of industry bloggers and other experts in the sector. And, for me, there is no distinction between them all. They all produce unique content for Tnooz and in turn reach a wider and global audience.
Question: Related question – You studied criminology, became a member of the media at the Police Gazette, moved to the web at Media Week and towards the Travel Industry at Travolution. With Tnooz, you now move further down the road into Travel Tech, but still in media. Is Tnooz a career move, are you moving towards something you love doing, or do you just enjoy being on the move, so to speak?
Kevin May: I am journalist of 16 years and love what I do. Co-founding Tnooz with Gene Quinn and Fred Lalonde is a career move of sorts away from the structure and culture of a traditional media company to a start-up. But I still enjoy getting my hands dirty by reporting, analysing and editing, and coordinating teams of great writers.
Question: I read a quote from you, which says “remember your core readership and keep an eye on the competition.” Can you expand on that, as relates to Tnooz? What kind of reader profile are we looking at here? And who do you consider as your main competition?
Kevin May: It’s simple: sit still and you’ll be yesterday’s news in next to no time. Modern media requires agility in technology and the ability to test ideas which enthuse your own audience as well as attract new readers. We are targeting anyone who works in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry with an interest or responsibility for technology, marketing, media and distribution.
Question: In another recent interview, you mention that Tnooz is ‘developing a number of information services which have never been provided before on a global scale.’ Is the TJobs section one of these services? What other services do you offer, or plan to offer?
Kevin May: You will find out in the coming weeks and months. We don’t give away our trade secrets beforehand!
Question: Your launch was great – built up anticipation and doled out information in dribbles. What kind of marketing strategy does Tnooz have in mind, going forward?
Kevin May: We coined the phrase non-marketing marketing early on. This simply meant that we seeded a few key places with information (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) and let the community take over. The buzz ahead of the site’s soft-launch was fantastic and we couldn’t have asked for a better response. We have a number of initiatives in the pipeline, but the best method of growing a media brand is by constantly producing unique and engaging content.
Question: Again, related question – I understand there is no Venture Capital involved. Will that be true going forward, or are you open to investment, if it helps you achieve your growth targets?
Kevin May: We keep our business strategy to ourselves and will do our corporate work behind the scenes, like most companies.
Question: Anything else you’d like to add about Tnooz?
Kevin May: Keep watching, it’s going to be a fascinating ride.