The Future Of Travel: “Consumers are searching for travel with meaning.” with Lisa Niver and Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis
Jul 2 · 8 min read

As part of my series about “exciting developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education. Lisa is a television host, travel journalist as well as a passionate artist, educator and writer who has explored 101 countries, 6 continents and sailed on cruise ships for seven years on the high seas and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which was read in 212 countries in 2018 and named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blogs. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 900,000 views on her YouTube channel. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on both Twitter and Facebook, has over 150,000 followers across social media and ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. She has been a finalist for five Southern California Journalism Awards in the past two years and won an award for her Jewish Journal article. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and challenges. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip. https://wesaidgotravel.com/

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

After college, I moved to San Francisco for graduate school and decided to take a year leave. During that time, I took two classes that changed my life. I enrolled in ceramics as well as scuba diving. Decades later, creating pottery and looking for creatures underwater are still two of my most favorite things. I have always loved to travel but teaching preschool I could not afford to scuba dive which led me to take a job at Club Med. From Club Med, I worked on cruise ships for seven years which has all been an amazing adventure and led me to my current career in journalism.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I have always wanted to share good stories. Lately, I have been talking travel on KTLA Television in Los Angeles. For President’s Day, I was live on the news talking about our Founding Fathers, George Washington and our Founding Mothers, Betsy Ross. If you have not been to Philadelphia lately, I highly recommend visiting The Betsy Ross House, National Constitution Museum and Museum of the American Revolution. I went to college at PENN and I have always loved Philadelphia. We had over 5.8 million impressions on Twitter about the segment. I feel fortunate to be able to educate people about our country and our world.

KTLA Philadelphia segment: https://ktla.com/2019/02/18/travel-expert-lisa-niver-talks-about-a-philadelphia-getaway/

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Once when I went to a magazine conference in Arizona, I received an email from SouthWest Airlines about my flight from Burbank to Phoenix. I looked at the computer in shock — I was already in Phoenix. I needed a flight from Phoenix to Burbank. What had I done? I realized when I was searching for flights that I found a cheaper flight and booked it but I booked both legs of my flight from Burbank to Phoenix instead of one each way.

That day I thought that making travel plans are challenging. There are many details to wrangle and keep track of. One lesson I learned is to slow down and do one thing at a time. I also often think of what a carpenter taught me, “Measure twice and cut once.” It is important to double check my work and make sure I do the best I can.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

For my 50th birthday, I challenged myself to do 50 new things. I was so scared of most of the adventures but I was able to do them all with help. I still cannot believe some of the things I was willing to try. I have written articles about many of them and am working on a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Adventures Before 50.” I love hearing from readers about how they have been inspired to try new things themselves.

I have to say that if my 50 year old self called my 49 year old self to explain what was going to happen, I would have hung up in disbelief. I would never have believed that I would mountain bike, jump out of an airplane and travel on safari but I did!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

In order to thrive, we all need time to rest and play. For my stories, I am working in places where most people are on vacation. I look for a balance and make time for restorative choices. I pick trips where I will do something I love like SCUBA diving or visit a new location which renews me. I schedule time each day to exercise and make sure I eat well and make plans with supportive friends. For me, it is crucial to get enough sleep. I say no to many invitations so that I can focus on my writing and video editing at home. Finding balance is a constant process.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I am very grateful to Maren Rudolph of Travel Classics Magazine Conferences. She invited me to come to her conference and I was able to have one on one meetings with many incredible editors which led to print stories in Luxury Magazine, Delta Sky, American Airways, Hemispheres (United Airlines) and EnRoute (Air Canada). I also was able to place stories in many online publications from my meetings at Travel Classics.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries? Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation? How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

I have been creating travel videos and sharing stories in my “This is What it is Like Style.” When I first worked in travel for Club Med, I was impressed that in each village you could find the place where they took the brochure photos. I felt like they accurately represented what the village would look like when you arrived.

Lately with all of the photoshopping and photo editing, consumers often feel misled with the advertising versus the reality. With video, you can see where I went and exactly what it is like. I have had many comments from readers about my adventures. They say that they want to walk with polar bears or dive with sharks and experience something new.

I have been sharing my video links on my social media and many people are then discovering their next favorite vacation.

Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers like to travel?

Consumers are searching for travel with meaning. Tour companies will continue to offer trips with connections to local people and ways to learn about life in the destination.

I believe more people will travel with a group in order to learn a new skill. I have been asked to lead a travel group and share about how to start a travel blog and create a travel article. It is a chance to learn something from taking a surfing lesson to building a website.

In order to make sure they will love their holiday, more people are using travel advisors who specialize in creating the ultimate experience.

Traveling with family whether a multi-generational experience or “skip-gen,” where grandparents take the grandchildren without the parents, will continue to rise as people want to spend time with the people who are important to them and have top experiences together.

Many people need to disconnect and will continue to use holidays as a respite from technology and demands on their time. Consumers are overwhelmed by their responsibilities and travel is a perfect way to reconnect with personal goals and start anew.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

My perfect vacation experience is to go somewhere new! After seven years sailing on cruise ships and three years living in Asia, I have been to 101 countries. Right now my wish list includes Greenland, Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Antarctica, Galapagos, Iceland and Brazil among others! There is so much to see in this world and I love to learn about new cultures and places.

Can you share with our readers how have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

By sharing stories, I feel I am bringing more goodness to our world. I wrote about a women’s economic development project for Ms. Magazine and I published Enock Masaki’s story of how he was a refugee in Africa and migrated to the United States.

https://wesaidgotravel.com/a-child-of-the-universe-by-enock-makasi/

https://wesaidgotravel.com/can-bicycles-change-the-world-ms-magazine/

I hope to share many more stories and inspire many more readers.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would like for everyone to remember that around the world all parents want the best for their children. No matter what country I am in, I have seen that families all over our planet hope that their children will grow up healthy and with opportunities to make their dreams come true. We are all more alike than different and I hope that we can live together in peace.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We Said Go Travel: http://wesaidgotravel.com/

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/WeSaidGoTravel

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wesaidgotravel/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wesaidgotravel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.niver

Facebook WSGT: https://www.facebook.com/wesaidgotravel/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/wesaidgotravel/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisaellenniver/

articles, videos and TV segments: http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Candice Georgiadis

Written by

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.