Travel Reporters Prepare for a Strong Comeback

May 27, 2020

Many tourism and hospitality leaders are wondering whether pushing travel right now is the right thing to do, and they’re unsure how it’ll resonate with media. Trust me, it’s a thought that runs through my head constantly as a communications professional. Journalists are under extreme pressure to deliver quality reporting in an already oversaturated market, so it’s normal to keep asking the same burning questions, like:

  • Will they care about my destination’s health and safety measures right now?
  • Will my destination that is open come across as insensitive if we’re luring people from neighboring regions that are still under lockdown?
  • Is it too soon to invite media down for a press trip to explore the beauty of my destination now that we’re back?
  • I represent an international destination, and Americans make up most of our travelers—are we doomed?’

For answers to these types of questions, we recently surveyed top journalists (some who write for travel-specific publications and some who don’t) to learn about the appetite for reporting on all things tourism. Here is a glimpse of what we learned:

Editorial Landscape

  • Three in four journalists surveyed are actually covering both domestic and international travel.
  • More than three-quarters are covering how destinations are starting to reopen.

Press Trips

  • Of those surveyed, 35% are open to accepting press trips this summer, 35% in the fall, and 18% will start to accept them in 2021.
  • More than half prefer solo press trips over group ones.

Topics Being Covered

  • Eight in 10 respondents will be focusing more on topics around sustainability and responsible travel.
  • Attitudes toward “virtual” travel offerings are split: 60% are no longer covering them, versus 40% who still are.
  • Almost three in four mentioned “cleanliness” when asked what destinations will need to focus on most to gain traveler confidence.

For more survey results, download our infographic HERE.

As communications consultants, the Ketchum Travel team has been supporting many of our clients through the COVID-19 crisis. Right now, we’re in a complicated period, because all destinations are no longer on the same playing field. Travel bans are loosening, non-essential businesses are slowly making their way back in certain areas, and destinations are making decisions about opening back up and setting definitive dates. I could be living in a U.S. state that allows non-essential travel, but I may want to travel to a place or country that won’t allow incoming flights until later in the year. It’s important for tourism and hospitality leaders to understand these shifting expectations when communicating progress and stories of recovery and rebound with media.

If you’re a tourism or hospitality brand that needs extra arms and legs to quickly develop your reopening media strategy, or if you need a team of scrappy media experts to engage with travel media on your behalf reach out. Our Ketchum Travel team is offering a reopening media support package we can activate immediately. We’ll make it easy by tailoring our approach to help you achieve the results you want.

Bettina is a senior vice president within Ketchum’s Travel & Economic Development sector in New York. She brings years of experience leading integrated marketing communications campaigns and is an expert at building and elevating destinations, travel and hospitality brands through media relations, consumer engagement, and strategic partnerships and events. She has a Masters from NYU in corporate communications and has received numerous best-in-class awards for campaigns she’s spearheaded—including Ketchum’s most awarded PR-led campaign for one of her destination clients.