Telum Webinar Recap: Travel Writing - Community, changes and challenges in a post-pandemic world

After more than two years of QR codes, border closures, masks, and mandates, travellers are dusting off their passports and taking off to explore new destinations. But as travel resumes, it is important for the industry - including the travel media - to be managing the pandemic recovery in a way that is both safe and appealing for tourists. 

To unpack the travel industry's new normal, Telum Media's ANZ Region Head, John Bergin, sat down with Anthony Dennis, Editor of the Traveller supplement in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Ben Tyers, Editor of Thrillist Australia, and Freelance Travel Writer, Dr Lindy Alexander for a webinar discussion. 

Watch the full webinar above to learn what you need to know to secure coverage in Australia's travel media publications. 

Key discussion takeaways for PR professionals:
  • First and foremost, having an understanding of the publication you're pitching to is the best way to engage with the travel media landscape effectively. 
  • Travel media audiences are increasingly interested in sustainability and pandemic health advice.
  • The rising cost of living is likely to have a significant impact on the travel industry and the way Australians prefer to holiday.

A departure from tradition: What is different about today's travel industry?
  • Anthony Dennis said travel has become a much more complex and risky exercise. "Your health is such an important aspect of any travel", he said. He also noted that Traveller's readers are eager for expert advice and transparency as the travel industry starts to rebuild itself. 
  • Making information easily digestible is a focus for the editorial team at Thrillist. Ben Tyers said domestic travel, like hiring or building a van to travel Australia, has been one key focus as it is suitable for the Generation Z demographic who typically have less money to spend on travel. 

Takeoff - Emerging trends in travel:
  • While it looks like we're at the tail end of the COVID-19 restrictions on travel, Anthony said the industry needs to remain conscious of the cost of living changes. The cost of fuel places road trip holidays under threat and can be expected to impact air fares. "This might turn out to be a win for domestic and regional travel", he said.
  • Anthony also suggested "Sustainability is playing an increasing part in what we do." PRs will increasingly need to consider carbon emissions and other environmental factors when working with travel media.
  • Lindy Alexander has noticed a rise in the popularity of intergenerational holidays. "I think that has always happened, but I do think COVID-19 has accelerated that", she said.
  • Ben said Indigenous experiences like food and cultural tours in Northern Australia and unique travel stories are gaining popularity with the Thrillist audience. 

Tips for PR professionals when engaging with travel media:Anthony Dennis: If you don't know the title you're pitching to, you're wasting your own time as well as the publication's. Anthony is less likely to participate in group travel famils, noting that travelling with competitors doesn't allow for much scope for searching for unique story angles. For content pitches, PRs should know that not all stories will be run in print due to space constraints. Online stories have a larger scope. 
  • Lindy Alexander: Solo famils are much more effective as they allow her the time and space to investigate what she believes will best serve her story and audience. In terms of content pitches, Lindy is looking for surprising pitches that will inspire her readers.
  • Ben Tyers: PRs should include strong subject lines in their emails. Getting straight to the point in a subject line helps an email stand out in a busy inbox. He is looking for unique stories that have not been covered previously with enticing aspects such as Indigenous experience or other cultural tours.

Tips for freelance travel writers and editors:
  • Lindy encourages editors to be open to new writers and diverse voices and respond to freelance pitches, even if it's a one-liner. For freelancers, Lindy says "Do what you say you'll do, provide clean copy, be responsive, label your photographs and send through clear, concise pitches" to newsrooms. 

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Anthony Dennis

National Travel Editor

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Freelance Writer

Ben Tyers

Head of Content and Audience

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