Newt Barrett is a world traveler, a publisher, an author and a smart marketer who understands that relocating to a new city can often be an intimidating task — certainly when you’re unfamiliar with your next stop on life’s journey. And this Southwest Florida resident is making the most of his insight.
Originally from Ohio, Barrett enjoyed a highly successful career in corporate publishing — and lived “all over the United States” with his wife in that time — before settling full time here in 1997. Shortly thereafter, he launched Southwest Florida Business Magazine and later, as websites evolved from online brochures to vital branding, marketing and commerce resources, became a leading authority on content marketing.
But astute marketer that he is, a vacation to France sparked an “aha!” idea that has sent him off into a brave new concept called Voyager Media, and publisher of a series of fast growing “Un-Tourist Guides” to some of the most popular relocation cities in the country.
Each issue, “Take Five” poses five questions to a community leader or personality that have not previously been shared. Here, Newt Barrett talks about the concept and value of the “Un-Tourist Guide,” including the newest Greater Fort Myers edition.
1. How did the concept for the Un-Tourist Guide begin?
My wife Maxine and I were in France and in a bookstore, I spotted a book called S’Installer a Toulouse: Le Guide Anti-Touristique. Roughly translated, that means making yourself at home in Toulouse. If you were moving to Toulouse, I thought that was a terrific idea but assumed that every destination city in the U.S. would have such a guide. I was wrong. Living in Naples at the time, I knew a very talented writer — Alysia Shivers — who had also become a successful real estate agent. Alysia and I worked together and in 2013, we published Moving to Naples: The Un-Tourist Guide. It’s been very successful and sold thousands of copies.
2. How does the concept work?
The concept is simple in that we try to provide all the information you would need to know if you’re planning to move or have recently moved to a new area. Each book has similar kinds of content, although, of course, each town has unique attractions and attributes.
3.How many guides are there currently, and are there
plans for more?
Currently, we’ve published eight books covering Naples, Sarasota, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Palm Beach County in Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia. We have three more in the works — Orlando, Greater Fort Myers, and Austin, Texas.
4. What’s the key difference between an Un-Tourist Guide and a Tourist Guide?
A tourist guide would include just the sorts of information you need to have fun when you’re spending a short time in a particular location. The Un-Tourist Guide includes all the fun stuff but also adds information about neighborhoods, schools, local economy, job opportunities, and other items you’d want to know about when relocating.
5. Obviously you’ve hit on something — what makes them so successful?
I think there’s so successful because those of us who’ve done a lot of moving really need the information the books provide. Although most of the information would exist across dozens of websites and various pamphlets and brochures, it doesn’t exist in an organized way in a single location. So we’re really the go-to resource when you’re going somewhere new, relocating to a new town or area.
Story by John Sprecher | Photography by Milissa Sprecher