Telum Talks To... Rachel Duffell, Regional Content Director, Asia, Tatler Dining
You have worked with various luxury lifestyle media outlets. Could you tell us more about your journey?
I have been in luxury lifestyle media almost my entire career. I was lucky enough to fall into the sector. I graduated from university in the UK in 2007 and moved to Hong Kong in early 2008 for an internship in marketing at Dairy Farm where part of my role included looking after the magazine for Oliver’s, back when supermarkets had magazines. From there I went to work at The Antithesis, the publisher who produced the magazine, which was a fantastic opportunity. I learned so much from Ann Tsang, who owns The Antithesis, and was able to work on a wide stable of custom-published magazines focused on luxury lifestyle, from Kee magazine to The Peninsula Hotel magazine to Swire Hotel’s In-House magazine.
After almost five years there, the opportunity arose to work in Edipresse’s custom media department, where we launched the Sands magazines for Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas. I then started working for Landmark Magazine as an editor. After five years at Edipresse, I turned freelance for three years, which went well until 2020 when coronavirus made things quite challenging for the self-employed. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to return to what is now Tatler Asia Group in January 2021 to look after Tatler Dining around the region. It feels a bit like coming full circle, as I started my career writing about food, albeit from a slightly different angle, but this new role is also really exciting as we have so much planned for Tatler Dining across the region.
What is your day like as the Regional Content Director? Could you share with us your top tips for success?
Because my work revolves around this region – Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan being my priorities at the moment – communication is key to ensure we all make the most efficient use of our time. The markets may appear very different, but when it comes to dining they actually have a lot in common so it’s been great looking at the type of content that works best in the different regions and how we can not only develop local content, but also work together to create engaging regional content too.
Hong Kong Tatler has published an annual dining guide since 1984. Recently, Tatler opened Tatler Dining Kitchen in Central which is designed to showcase Hong Kong’s finest F&B talent. In terms of your future editorial directions, what can you share with us?
Tatler Dining Kitchen has been an exciting development for Tatler Asia Group. It’s amazing to have a space to call our own, and while award-winning Italian chef Antimo Maria Merone has just completed his stint there, we have more exciting programming coming up. In terms of content, we have some franchises and various new media series launching, and will be developing more editorial to spin off some of our initiatives around the region, whether those are concepts like Tatler Dining Kitchen (we also have the Tatler Bar in Singapore) or Tatler Dining events, not to mention the Tatler Dining Guide and Tatler Dining Awards.
Tips - How can a PR professional work with you efficiently? What is the best way for people to get in touch with you for stories?
We often reach out to PRs when we are working on stories, either for access to interviewees, for information or for images, and when we do it’s always good to receive a prompt reply. Working on digital, our deadlines are often tight and a quick turnaround is much appreciated. To share news or story ideas, interesting, thoughtful and clear pitches work best, with accompanying press releases and images if appropriate. If something is of interest, we’ll follow up.
What are the hot trends in the F&B sector?
At the moment I think everyone in the F&B sector, wherever they are in the world, is looking at ways to survive, given the impact the global pandemic has had on the restaurant industry. At Tatler Dining, we are trying to develop more content and ways to support them in this. Tatler Dining’s United We Dine initiative last year aimed to encourage people to eat out and support our local dining scenes, and more recently we have launched The Industry vertical on our Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia sites, which focuses on content that seeks to support and serve as a resource for F&B professionals.
More broadly, sustainability is an ongoing trend and one that is going to become increasingly important as restaurants look at ways they can contribute to addressing climate change and protecting the planet through their business practices.