Travel publishers had to adopt a number of survival strategies
over the last two months. Now, as signs emerge of easing social
restrictions in select bubbles — European budget airline EasyJet announced
this week it will resume flying in June — many are increasing
inspirational content and virtual ventures.
Condé Nast title CN Traveler is just back to its level
year-on-year traffic growth as people look forward to being able to
travel again, according to a CN Traveler U.K. spokesperson.
Initially, the title focused content on real-time travel advice.
Now it’s opting for more inspirational travel content
the 20 most beautiful places to visit in Ireland alongside
practical advice.In May, CN Traveler published its selection for
the Hot List
2020, the annual round-up of the finest new hotels and cruises
in the industry.
In Italy, where people are cautiously coming out of lockdown, CN
Traveler will dedicate its next two print issues, summer and fall,
solely on Italy and enjoying the country, local restaurants and
scenery. The expectation is there will be some international travel
by then, but CondÃ© Nast Italia editorial director Luca Dini,
doesnâ€™t expect Italians to leave the country.
â€œThe tourism industry is struggling enormously, we want to
show support for local restaurants and hotels. Thereâ€™s a big
emphasis on alfresco and sitting outside,â€ he said. With people
in lockdown over the last few months, the publisher has built its
social media presence, which was low in Italy. Traffic to the title
has been higher than average, said Dini, and only two print
advertising campaigns were rescheduled for later in the year.
â€œWe expected it to be the nightmare here but itâ€™s turning
out to be not too hysterical,â€ he added.
Travel companies were some of the hardest and first hit by the
virus outbreak. The travel industryâ€™s programmatic spend is down
79% month-over-month in April in the U.S., according to MediaRadar,
the most deeply hit sector. Between March 2020 and April 2020, the
travel industry saw 8% fewer advertisers using programmatic
advertising. According to one commercial exec at a travel
publisher, branded content campaigns that were booked, with signed
insertion orders, have â€œpausedâ€ for an indefinite period. But
requests for proposals have been trickling in, often at the larger
end of the spectrum because they have taken more time for agencies
to plan, while smaller ones have dried up.
Publishers had to calculate a number of survival strategies,
editorially and commercially. In some cases this has meant
furloughs and layoffs on the editorial and sales teams. Print runs
have halted or been postponed. The New York Times
suspended its travel (and sports) section in April, dispersing
travel content through the paper instead. In its place is a
lifestyle section called â€œAt home.â€ Some of CondÃ© Nastâ€™s
monthly print issues are launching next week, after shifting
several of its print titles to later in the year. The magazine
publisher has some virtual projects in the pipeline.
Brand-building and content-based ad campaigns are fewer and
further between as
direct-response and performance-driven ads win out in precision
and efficiency. Publishers who are
getting people closer to transactions can fare better.
Online travel publisher Culture Trip has launched cookery
classes featuring the chefs from its food and travel series,
Hungerlust. For Â£15 ($18.35) viewers can learn how to cook
Tanjia with chef Khalid Berdouzi from his riad in Marrakesh, or
Shakshuka & Hummus with chef Atalya Ein Mor from her
kitchen in Jerusalem.
In January, as the virus began to emerge in Western Europe,
Culture Trip narrowed its focus on selling virtual experiences,
like a Berlin Cold
War virtual tour and a virtual guided Lourve museum tour,
instead of its travel accommodation business, which went live in
â€œYou have to accept that international travel will take a
dent,â€ said CEO Kris Naudts. â€œA business focused on
international accommodation would be difficult. But margins are
lower on experiences, so we have to drive more transactions and
have to have a product that people would want to transact on.
Interest in food is universal, it doesnâ€™t change.â€
In Europe at least, there are early signs of ad spend
unfreezing. Advertising is starting to slightly pick up in The
Sunday Times Travel Magazine,
said editor Ed Grenby. According to a News UK poll, 65% of
respondents want to hear inspirational messages from travel
advertisers, (compared with 30% for messages of reassurance and 6%
Now advertisers are working out how to
reach people in the right way.
â€œTravel is high in the pyramid of Maslowâ€™s hierarchy of
needs,â€ said Naudts. â€œ[Advertisers] can celebrate the easing of
lockdown to an extent, but people still lost relatives and
Alfresco dining inspiration and virtual cooking classes: Travel
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