Leisure and business travel may be on the upswing, but SkyMall catalog’s recent demise serves as a reminder that companies need to adapt in real-time to stay airborne. At The New York Times Travel Show on Friday, editors from leading travel media brands (The New York Times, Yahoo Travel, Travel + Leisure, AFAR Media, Ink and Fodor’s Travel) outlined hot travel trends while demonstrating how Instagram delivers ideal travel visuals.
The Latest Leisure Travel Storylines
Digital media quickens the pace of our lives, so it’s time to slow down when we’re away. Monica Drake, travel editor of The New York Times, cited their recent multimedia piece Norway the Slow Way. The author, a Columbia University Journalism School professor, searched for his Scandinavian roots and took a scenic ferry ride in Norway that served as great PR for the company’s tourism industry.
Traveling by oneself has become more common, especially among single or married females and Baby Boomers, said Paula Froelich, Yahoo Travel’s editor in chief. Social media fueled the trend and often sets examples for others. Froelich, a southerner, likes venturing out alone; during her #redneckroadtrip, several well-known Republican politicians followed her route via social media.
Travel as therapy:
The recent movie Wild (based on the memoir based on a true story, has popularized this form of travel as inner discovery session. Froelich said, “People whose lives blew up” due to changes in their marital or work status typically undertake such journeys. “They’ve become the voice of the real people” who typically engage in extreme adventure trips, like the 1,100 mile solo hike of Reese Witherspoon‘s Wild character.
According to Froelich, “It takes Yahoo Travel from 1-6 hours to make a story social.” The brand promotes the articles on multiple digital platforms, resulting in “360-degree perspectives encompassing words, images videos, and emotions.”
Adrien Glover, Travel + Leisure‘s deputy digital editor, said that Instagram is the most influential tool used by travel media brands. She noted that 70% of Instagram users live outside the U.S., confirming its global reach. Travel + Leisure recently ran a story about “extreme travel instagrammers,” and below are other noteworthy efforts cited by the panelists:
- #Beautiful Destinations: Users provide “eye candy” for this platform with 3 million followers, said Glover.
- #Sweatengine: Kevin Lu specializes in unique time-lapse videos with impressive results, said Glover.
- #EmptyMet: Glover also cited Dave Krugman, a social media influencer, who takes compelling photos at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when the venue is empty.
- #American View: Airline passengers snap images of airplane wings during flights. They post them on American Way‘s in-flight magazine platform, said Simon Leslie, founder of Ink, whose travel media portfolio includes several in-flight magazine brands.
Travel media brands hosting their own trips:
Media companies with travel expertise have offered trips for a while, and this trend continues to grow more popular. For example, The New York Times hosts themed cruises with writers and correspondents speaking onboard about current events or cultural topics.
Similarly, AFAR Media, which specializing in experiential travel to exotic places, has hosted five trips to date. Executive Editor Jeremy Saum said that the trips, to destinations like Cairo, are designed to “bring travelers beneath the surface.”
Travel guidebooks still serve as reliable travel resources:
“There’s been a rebound in guidebook sales” according to Arabella Brown, Fodor Travel’s editor in chief. She said the brand favors using local writers who know their territory and offers digital and print formats for all related products.
After all, adventuresome travelers can’t count on wi-fi access on airplanes…or in remote destinations.
Images courtesy of The New York Times Travel Show and DK Eyewitness Travel Guides