"You can't be effective in helping a hotel company unless you've stayed in their properties."
Nearly nine years later, Ms. Hughes continues to preside over the business side of one of travel's pre-eminent magazine titles, growing its base of non-endemic advertisers and overseeing special themed sections.
According to Publishers Information Bureau data, CN Traveler has seen a 13.7% jump in ad pages during the first eight months of 2004, against the year-ago period, to 931.9.
CN Traveler advertisers during the last year include Porsche Cars North America, JetBlue Airways, TiVo and British Airways, which returned in grand fashion last April, underwriting a 16-page insert titled "60 Minutes in the Victoria & Albert Museum."
For another insert called "WiFi Takes Off" in the May issue, Ms. Hughes helped rope in advertisers such as Marriott International, Intel Corp., T-Mobile and Best Buy Co. She also helped convince BP to come on board in the last year, hoping to spread its environmentally friendly message to the magazine's upscale readers.
While magazine publishers are notorious for suggesting that their titles have an ennobling effect on humankind, those who've crossed paths with Ms. Hughes, 44, believe she possesses an ideal mix of candor and business savvy. Mike McHale, senior VP at Publicis Groupe's Optimedia International, New York, recalls Ms. Hughes flying home in the middle of a Bermuda trip because something had gone slightly awry with the publication's British Airways account. "She thought it was important to be there in person," Mr. McHale says.
Post-9/11, CN Traveler has tempered its spreads on tropical getaways with pieces on baggage reconciliation at London's Heathrow Airport and the trail of credit card and passport check-in data left by every international traveler.
To reassure the magazine's advertiser base-and perhaps stave off the mass exodus seen by other titles-Ms. Hughes and Editor in Chief Tom Wallace embarked on what she now calls "the Tom and Lisa show" right after the attacks. "We visited in person as many people as would see us," Ms. Hughes recalls. "We let them know our commitment to covering this newly complicated world."