We’re charting a new course with our stories. Are you ready?

How do you make your favorite advocacy site even better?

Like this:

  • Collect a ton of metrics about your best stories.
  • Listen to your readers.
  • Do something.

That’s what you expect from us. And that’s what you’re about to get.

Right now, many of the stories on this site are indistinguishable from any other travel blog. We have tips and advice, and if you look really hard, you can even find a destination story or two.

But that’s not who we are. We haven’t been that for some time, actually.

While we feature a lot of airline, car rental, cruise and hotel cases, this is not a travel site. It’s a consumer advocacy site.

Tightening our focus

I recently conducted a thorough audit of our existing stories, analyzing our traffic. I also reviewed the reader comments and letters to the editor. They strongly suggested that readers prefer the unique stories involving real consumers and real resolutions.

They were not as enthusiastic about the stories that offered random advice about travel (“10 ways to save money on spring break”).

That makes sense, because that’s what we do. We help people.

Then it occurred to me that we have more than enough source material. Every day, dozens of consumers contact us by filling out a form that explicitly gives us permission to write about them.

We should write about them.

So why are we still publishing stories about abstract topics not even related to what we do, when we have real problems to cover?

I have no idea.

How we’re going to fix it

Change isn’t easy.

We have a roster of incredible columnists who do great work, and I need to persuade them to buy into our consumer focus. For some, it will be easy. They already have their eye on the customer. For others, it might be difficult, perhaps even impossible.

Make no mistake, I love all of our writers and want them to stay here. If they can’t, I’ll work with them to find a new home for their craft.

Here’s what our stories will look like.

✓ If we can’t decide whether to take a case, we’ll publish it under the heading Advocate This!. This is for borderline cases where our team needs your feedback. (Of course, there’ll be a ridiculous poll.)

✓ When a company tries to help but a customer still isn’t happy, we have a category for that: Is This Enough Compensation?.

✓ If we can’t or won’t handle a case, it’ll get published as a Case Dismissed! story.

✓ Resolved cases will now get published under the Problem Solved heading.

✓ All of our 9 a.m. columnists will now run under the Commentary category, but we’re encouraging them to shift their attention to real cases, in line with our laser-like focus on consumers.

This is not going to be painless, and it’s not going to happen overnight. But it’s absolutely necessary. I believe we owe it to you to cover … well, you.

Focusing on consumer cases is:

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Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirportParkingReservations.com

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Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

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Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

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Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

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The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

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Since its inception over three decades ago, G1G has continued to revolutionize the travel insurance industry by being the only aggregator to operate a customer portal, placing all of the user's primary needs in one place. We have continued to innovate and disrupt the market by reimagining the way travel insurance can be delivered to the end user in ways no competition can. Simply put, no one knows the market as well as its founders and no one else shares G1G values and mission.

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The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

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Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

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The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

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The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

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Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

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If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

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