Interviewing the Interviewers: Lee Hayhurst

One of the privileges and joys of journalism is meeting and interviewing truly inspirational people.  The new digital age has meant this privilege has now opened up beyond professional journalists, with some of the most thought-provoking interviews now conducted by numerous industry thought leaders in addition to our most respected journalists.

In NDA’s Interviewing the Interviewers series, we caught up with some of the best interviewers in our industry, from journalists to independent content creators, turning the tables to find out what makes them tick.

Lee is the head of news for Travel Weekly and editor of digital travel trade title Travolution, a position he’s held for almost a decade. 

What is your biggest hope and your biggest fear for the travel industry in 2019?

That British people move on from Brexit and rediscover their natural inquisitiveness about the world and desire to explore it. My fear is that they don’t.

What was your biggest personal industry highlight of 2018?

Can I have two? The buzz and positivity at our inaugural travel start-up summit hosted by IBM and giving On The Beach founder Simon Cooper our highest honour – the Travolution Achievement Award.

Who was the most inspirational person you interviewed in 2018 and why?

It was great giving the founder of Culture Trip and former psychiatrist, Dr Kris Naudts, a platform to share his vision for a new type of travel company based on quality content and inspiration.

What one travel technology are you most excited about this year and why?

Artificial intelligence really seems to be taking off, so it will be interesting to see what applications we start to see emerge, particularly in the way it can power voice-enabled devices and chatbots to transform the customer experience.

What was your favourite ad or digital experience of 2018? 

The Trainline and Big Shaq’s voice app rap.

What is the buzzword or phrase you’d like to ban forever? 

There’s too many – leverage, omni-channel, reach out – but customer centric has to be top. Good luck any commercial enterprise that ever sets out to be anything but? 

Who’s the one industry figure you’d most like to interview you yet haven’t? 

Elon Musk, blotted his copy book recently, but he epitomises what an incredible impact one man with vision and incredible drive can have.

How could someone persuade you to interview them and what would put you off completely?

Play hard to get and ask to be sent questions up front.

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