A Fireside chat with Chris McGinnis of TravelSkills

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Welcome to a new Sunday series that will be a bit like a fireside chat. I count it a privilege to be a part of an amazing group of Travel bloggers here at BoardingArea.com. But just how well do you know “your” BoardingArea writers? Are you reading all the blogs you should be each day? This series will help you get to know them one by one. Now on to this weeks chat.


Most travel bloggers are, well, shall we say, not the “best” journalists. We have not spent years writing or worked for major media outlets. Sure we know a ton about what we write about, but the rest of us are mostly making it up as we go along. This week I have the privilege of chatting with a man I respect and am so pleased that he has joined “team BA” and is now calling BoardingArea home for his blog TravelSkills. If you are on twitter the hashtag #TravelSkills is nothing new to you as I am sure you have seen it. Let’s get to know all about Chris:

Rene – Hi Chris! I never thought I would have the chance to sit down and interview you (you should see the smile on my face as I write this folks)! You are not new to the travel industry but tell us, how did you become a journalist and why focus on the travel industry?

Chris – Thanks, Rene for having me on! I got my start in the travel writing biz back in the early 90s. I had been a management consultant, flying Mon-Fri every week for 5 years. I decided to start a company called Travel Skills Group to train novice business travelers how to be better business travelers via a seminar during their training programs. I got a ton of publicity about it, including from my hometown newspaper, the Atlanta Journal, and they quoted me so much and so often that they finally asked me if I’d write a column about business travel for the business section. At the time, this was a first because most business travel info was housed in the travel section of the paper.

Rene – Outstanding. No matter where frequent flyer bloggers get their start it always seems like someone tells them they should share and share more. Thanks for that background. So now you call San Francisco home right? What is the focus of the new TravelSkills blog here on BA?

Chris – Yep, SF is home now. I moved here about 9 years ago from Atlanta and am just now getting used to pulling out my mittens in June! 🙂 The TravelSkills blog is my attempt to consolidate the various blogs I’ve been writing over the last few years…one was called The TICKET and it was primarily focused on Atlanta, Delta and AirTran. Another was The Bay Area Traveler, which focused on the Bay Area business traveler. I decided I needed to go national to attract a broader audience and being on BA has helped a LOT with that.

Rene – HA! I know about SF as I lived there for a while in high school. What a beautiful town. I cannot tell you how pleased I am you have called BA home for this new blog and to have someone of your travel knowledge and skill as part of BA is just tops! Speaking of a broader audience, I love twitter. So much great info. Tell me about your unique #TravelSkills day/event on twitter!

Chris –  I partnered up with popular travel blogger John DiScala (aka Johnny Jet) last year to create the #TravelSkills chat on Twitter and it’s taken off like a rocket! Our weekly chats draw hundreds of travel enthusiasts and media in a free-for-all online conversation about a wide variety of topics. Since it’s called “TravelSkills” we always try to be sure that the chats are newsy, informative and teach participants new things. Recent popular chats covered: New York City, In-flight etiquette and hygiene, and finding travel deals. Since the chats draw such big crowds and create millions of impressions, we’re lucky that a steady stream of some of the biggest travel industry brands have lined up to sponsor them. Please join the fun! Follow the #TravelSkills hash tag on Twitter Fridays at noon eastern, 9 a.m. Pacific or see www.travelskills.com/chat

Rene – Neat. I really enjoy following along and the input from those who jump in is impressive. So what is next? Who should be reading TravelSkills on BA and adding your blog to their daily must read blogs?

Chris – My experience writing for newspapers, magazines and working as a travel correspondent at CNN has taught me to focus on a wide demographic, so I’m not going to try and get into the granular details of programs (like you do with Delta!) or about every new iteration of credit card bonuses. I’ll try to post news and advice that is timely and important to business travelers on the blog.

Rene – Once again what a great addition to BA and I have loved keeping up with your posts on the other sites – having it here will be fantastic and I look forward to each one.

Chris – One thing I’m learning with BA is that frequency of posting is important! I was used to a casual schedule of posting 1-2 x per week. Now I’m posting at least once every day.

Rene – Well Chris I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have your new blog here at BA and look forward to learning so much from you and business travel skills along the way!

Chris – Cheers!

You can follow Chris’ blog here at BA as well as on Twitter, Facebook & subscribe to his RSS feed and so many more social media sites!

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  1. As a flyer based in SF who grew up in the deep South and flies to ATL a lot, I’m a long-time follower of Chris. Excited to see him on BA now. And the twitter chats are a ton of fun… so fast and furious some times that I can’t keep up!

  2. Excellent interview. Are u planning on interviewing only BA bloggers?
    Is Darius on the upcoming list

  3. Thanks for a great article. I’ve been following Chris for awhile as I was an Atlanta based flyer. Kept reading even after we moved. Welcome to BA, Chris!

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