Trends & Insight
April 16, 2020

‍In the wake of Covid-19 global media has had to change focus. Here are our insights.

In the wake of Covid-19 the UK media have focused their attention on a collection of repeated themes that are outlined below. Predominantly, story angles are being tied to the concept of ‘Armchair Travel’ meaning audiences can experience destinations through online tours, virtual experiences, cooking classes and more.   

1. Positive News: Content relating to ‘feel good’ stories such as communities coming together, environmental news and stories not related to Covid-19. By sharing uplifting stories, the media is able to provide an outlet for those seeking stories to alleviate the mental pressures of self isolation and spread a little joy.  

2. Spending adaptations: With travellers needing to be more cautious on spending, the media are interested in promoting packages and destinations that cater to a variety of budgets. Through offering alternative affordable destinations, tourism boards are able to use this opportunity to highlight smaller cities for late summer and autumn breaks.

3. Looking Forward: UK media is keen to remind audiences that the travel ban will not be a permanent restriction. One of the key messages that travel journalists are interested in conveying is using extra time gained from self-isolation to plan post-quarantine holidays. By looking past the summer season, travellers can now discover destinations that they may have not previously considered for post-pandemic travel. 

4.  Vouchers, online sales guides and gift experiences: Although we are unable to travel at the moment, there is an increasing interest in new ways to support the tourism industry through buying redeemable vouchers that can be used at a later date. These may include travel tickets for transport such as Eurostar, hotel stays or vouchers for activities in destinations abroad that don’t have a short expiry date.   

5. Higher Post-Produced Content & Virtual Travel Experiences: Providing the opportunity to sample a destination from their own homes through virtual tours, cookery classes etc. The UK media is interested in providing both entertainment and education for British audiences, thanks to the shareable nature of online content, destinations are not limited by physical geography. 

Ideas from International Media: 

1. Reader generated content
The New York Times, are asking locals to highlight the best travel opportunities where they are. Embracing the ethos of travel and appreciating your home as an undiscovered destination, generating good levels of engagement with key audiences. 

2. Virtual Reality Mapping & Experiences
One of Germany’s biggest newspapers Süddeutsche Zeitung looks to escapism without the need to step on a plane. Süddeutsche Zeitung introduces readers to virtual reality and looks at its potential for allowing travel to far-flung places all from the comfort of your home. Virtual reality offers a new medium for destinations to welcome visitors whilst still following government guidelines. 

3. Return to nature
The global pandemic has led to dramatic reversal of pollution, from China’s pollution levels dropping to Venice’s waterways welcoming back an abundance of wildlife. The media continues to focus on the positive environmental benefits of the pandemic. For example, De Telegraaf, the Netherlands’ biggest newspaper, highlighted the country’s islands that have been returned to nature.

Ideas for the Future  

The unfolding Covid-19 situation means media outlets have had to reassess and adapt their content strategies. From AM+A’s extensive research of global media outlets including The New York Times, The Australian and China Daily, here is a selection of future content ideas based on our analysis. 

- The rise of the first person feature 

As travel remains restricted, the media landscape has turned to more personal travel stories. For example, The New York Times has begun to regularly feature ‘Transporting Travel Stories’ that are more descriptive, non-fiction style pieces. Instead of dwelling on the present situation content will become much more retrospective focusing on insightful personal travel stories. 

- People behind the pandemic 

Good news and positive stories will continue to be a major content trend. Audiences are increasingly looking for a break from the Covid-19 news, with community-led initiatives, positive news stories and people-led features continuing to grow in popularity. 

- Reader storytellers 

Many media outlets have previously relied on ‘36 hours in…’ style features, sending journalists across the global to showcase unique itineraries. As countries remain in lockdown, this form of content is being continued by readers. The New York Times have begun creating ‘reader-generated itineraries’ with readers sending in recommendations, creating a stronger sense of community. 

- In-depth destination guides 

Traditional destination features are being replaced with longer pieces providing an in-depth view of a destination’s history. From getting to know Paris by its bridges to the unknown history of Berlin’s cherry blossom, readers will be transported to a place without having to leave their homes. 

- Image galleries & photo-stories 

People continue to look for inspiration whilst stuck at home, with image galleries providing a different side to well-known places. For example, China Daily has increased visual content including sharing aerial views of some of China's most iconic sites including the country’s spring blooms. 

- Insider guides

With travel restricted media outlets are turning to influential characters to share their stories and experiences of places, from celebrities, filmmakers & authors to locals and local businesses, audiences are given a different perspective and more in-depth articles on a destination. 

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