RIP Travelllll – quirky name, plenty of content, potentially a large, vociferous and captive audience

Somewhat ironic that in the week that BBC sold Lonely Planet to a little known digital publishing house that a site created to cover issues affecting travel writers and blogging revealed it would be closing.

Just over 18 months on from its official launch in the autumn of 2011, Travellll announced last week that the lights would be turned off on 1 June this year.

The idea for the site was to cover blog trips, tourism boards and their plans around for travel content, technology and how travel writers/bloggers/journos are evolving in the digital world.

Travelllll launched with a flurry of news articles, analysis and opinion pieces, and pretty quickly managed to attract a fair amount of attention from both writers and the industry.

Expedia, KLM, some large hotel chains and a number of tourism boards came on-board as partners.

Unfortunately all of those working on the site (five founders initially, joined shortly after its launch by a sixth) also had other jobs or were busily travelling around the world – not ideal for any startup, let alone a media business (we know!).

Eventually, two of the founders, Melvin Boecher (of TravelDudes and #TTOT fame) and travel writer Mike Sowden, left and were not replaced.

Co-founder Alastair McKenzie, who runs the Travel-Lists site, says the departure of Sowden in particular was a turning point for the company as essentially the site needed two editors/writers to oversee content.

“Someone will occupy this space eventually,” McKenzie says. “It wasn’t a duff idea – in fact, it was a great idea. The intersection between media and the industry.”

John O’Nolan, another of the original founders, says in a “so long, and thanks for the fish” post on the site:

“Projects like this inevitably grow and change, both in scope and in vision. We’ve reached the point now where many of our original team have new and exciting things they’re working on, and we’ve run out of time and resources to keep this going (as you might have noticed).”

The remaining founders were Lezaan Roos who looked after partnerships and Rich Whitaker.

Whether another site will come along to replace Travelllll (or T5, as it became known) is obviously unclear at this stage.

There is indeed a need to cover the intersection between travel and tourism with content (in its many forms), as the uproar over the sale of Lonely Planet has illustrated.

So perhaps one of travel blogging conference brands will jump in to the hole left behind by the closure of Travelllll – it’s about time we had another pivot in the travel sector!

Interesting space to watch anyway…

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Si @ Man vs World

    That’s a real shame. Hopefully another site rises from the ranks to take up this mantle. May it rest in peace.

  2. Zoë Dawes

    Agree with comments above. This was one of the few travel news sites I actually visit, becuase it covers topiocs that are sepcifically relevant to me and my clients. Plus I know the guys who set it up and respect their professionalism and commitment. Hope a replacement comes along soon …

  3. Turtle

    Too bad. A great site that cut through the crap (mostly) and actually had interesting news and developments in the world of online travel and blogging. There is too much discussion out there about the unimportant things done by people who don’t really understand. I guess it’s back to reading that kind of stuff and shaking my head in annoyance – until we get a good replacement for travelllllllllllllll

  4. Matthew Barker

    Sad news indeed. The team did a great job and brought a lot of value and professionalism to the space. It has left a big gap.

  5. Mike Sowden

    Thanks for this, Kevin.

    Sad face. Yep, T5 did some remarkable things (media partner for TBEX in 2012, for starters) and it will be missed. I was there for the first 6 weeks or so, so I was only there for 1/14th of its life, something like that? All credit to Al for his editorial work from the beginning and throughout – it was a pleasure to work with him and with the rest of the team. And as Stuart notes, the design was and is terrific. That Mr O’Nolan knows his stuff.

    For the record, they didn’t go with my preferred website name, which was “”.

  6. James Craven

    Knew it was coming, still too bad… RIPPPPP

  7. Stuart

    Disagree. Nothing to do with the name.
    One thing this article doesn’t mention is just how good, design-wise, T5 looked, and still looks…
    Ahead of it’s time methinks. Good luck to everyone involved.

  8. David Robert Hogg

    The name was terrible. If you believe in branding, hard to see how a site can succeed with that name regardless of the quality of the content.

  9. Durant Imboden

    Too bad. was a bit heavy on boosterism at times (“Bloggers are getting respect!” “Bloggers are getting freebies!”), but it had some useful articles, and it was refreshing to read coverage of travel blogging that was written by real journalists such as Alastair MacKenzie.


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