Media Forecast: 6 Travel Media Trends in 2023

December 13, 2022

Travel media trends in 2023 may shift away from pandemic-era coverage, but with a war in Ukraine, looming recession, and social media shake-ups, destinations need to read the room. Understanding these trends for the upcoming year and tailoring media pitches and messaging is essential to stand out from the crowd as travelers continue to look to book trips.

How they look for those stories and what kinds of angles the media will push out to them, however, depends on what happens in the months to come. At the time of writing, however, these six trends are a good place to start creating a plan for staying in the media’s good graces in 2023.

1. Social Media is Precarious – Tread Lightly

While this was always the case, marketing on social media has gotten even more difficult to master with the twists and turns happening at Twitter. At the same time, Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta isn’t reassuring anybody. With startups like BeReal and other work horses of social media like YouTube still attracting eyeballs, destinations will need to act with more purpose when choosing where to spend on social media marketing.

Marketing on these platforms is still important, if not essential, but in 2023 destinations will want to invest carefully to avoid throwing away resources on dying networks.

2. Celebrate Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion

We all wondered if the BLM protests of 2020 would bring about lasting change. At least in destination marketing, it seems that such change has indeed stuck. Looking at travel media trends in 2023, users expect to see themselves represented in destinations, which means marketing materials, stories, and highlighted businesses need to reflect any and all diversity possible in the destination.

Media pitches that keep these stories at the forefront will continue to gain attention. Every destination has its own type of diversity to celebrate, making it important to focus on what you can showcase and not forcing anything that sounds disingenuous.

3. “Green” Isn’t Cool Anymore

It’s a requirement! Sustainability and its associated terms are just keywords for the bigger issues that travelers care about and want to see in the media. Give journalists what they need to deliver! Pushing out stories about ethical travel, socially conscious or responsible tour companies, and destinations engaged in social equality will beat out stories about net-zero emissions, which are often overhyped.

When embracing this travel media trend in 2023, avoiding simply greenwashing because journalists and audiences alike can see through it.

4. Contributors Contribute Big

It may sound like we’re repeating what every media analyst has said for decades, but media budgets aren’t skyrocketing, and full-time staffers aren’t multiplying. Just look at Gannett recently. Media brands – both print and digital – are looking to contributors and freelancers more than ever.

This means destinations need to be prepared to vet them, host them on press trips, and push for multiple placements to create a better return on investment. Just don’t push too hard! Freelancers work differently – and more precariously – than staff writers, which means a little extra patience can make a big difference.

5. Influencers Are Not Nice to Have

They are a must have! And like freelance contributors, destinations need to take them more seriously than ever. Whether it’s a TikTok creator or a niche blogger, these influencers still wield power even as social media throws us for a loop. While Twitter and Instagram may not be forever, the power of content creators on whichever platform they use is not up for debate.

Destinations must accept this if they want to remain at the top of their game by embracing digital influencers as part of their daily efforts. They can be some of the best partners a destination marketer can have if the bond is forged properly.

6. Budget Stories Will Take On New Role

Story angles that focused on budget travel used to be niche, but as stocks flicker between red and green like a broken string of Christmas lights, travelers are counting pennies. Destinations need to serve the media angles and stories that at least nod to cheaper ways of visiting, even if the destination is not a traditionally “budget” one. Luxury travel still has its place, but more travelers than ever before will be clicking on stories that promise money saving possibilities, so be sure your destination has some to offer.

Writers – themselves on tight budgets – are looking to share these tips with readers who are biting their nails about a full-blown recession in 2023.

Looking to refresh your media marketing plan to respond to these travel media trends in 2023? DCI has more than 60 years of experience helping destinations adapt and evolve. Get in touch with Kayla Leska at [email protected] to learn about how DCI can set up your destination for success in 2023.

Written by

Kayla Leska

Vice President