What Readership Signals About Travel & Tourism in 2023

Nikki Chellaswami, Insights Analysts

March 15th, 2023

Seasonality plays a huge role when it comes to travel. People take into account weather, peak-season, prices, and more. And who doesn’t start looking for warmer escapes when it’s cold outside? We were curious about readership trends leading up to one of the biggest travel times of the year: spring. 

Memo analyzed just over 900 articles between December 23, 2022 – March 5, 2023 across major U.S. publications and travel and tourism outlets to identify readership trends and what you can learn from them.

U.S. destinations received 248% more readers than international

This year, U.S. readers are more interested in domestic travel compared to international. After the pandemic, international travel boomed, but Americans are now turning to more accessible and affordable destinations. This could be a symptom of economic trends, turbulence (pun intended) in the airline industry, or something completely different. We’ll keep watching this space.

New year, new travel plans

Readership peaked on New Year’s Day (3.4 million) and picked up again at the end of February as spring break nears and people are finalizing travel plans. Action item: For travel & tourism brands, the end of February is a great time for coverage around spring travels. Pitch accordingly.

People are looking for ideas and inspiration when it comes to choosing where they should travel. Roundups and listicles highlighting “top destinations,” “best places to visit,” and similar accounted for 25% of travel readership during our research window. 

Destinations, specifically, drove the highest readership, with 4.5 million. Coverage included “top destinations,” “best places to visit,” and “where to go” articles. Advice-themed articles attracted 2.3 million readers and discussed travel tips and hacks, including useful travel items, packing lists, how to save money on travel, etc.

TV tourism as a popular destination

Following season 2 of popular HBO series The White Lotus, people were reading about how they can stay at the Sicilian villa from the show. Articles surrounding the ability for people to book a stay at the luxury villa generated 42,000 readers. 

Similarly, Expedia’s 2023 Travel Trends report highlighted that travelers are turning to TV Tourism. It notes that “two-thirds of global travelers have considered and 39% have booked trips to destinations after seeing them on streamed shows or movies.” 

Action item: When pitching, consider ties to Hollywood past and present. Boosts in readership could boost bookings.

TL;DR

Even with international travel open, domestic travel is on the rise. Readership for travel and tourism spikes at the beginning of the year as U.S. readers seek warmer climates. Destinations tied to TV shows see a boost in readership. Even more reason for global cities to start bidding for The White Lotus seasons like they bid for the Olympics. 

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