Last week we announced a season of travel PR related blog posts, looking at key publications, blogs, websites and the most innovative brands in the business. As such consider this part one, with the focus being on the finest newspapers and magazines currently inspiring holidaymakers, backpackers and more.
Although the world has become a much smaller since the advent of flight, and easier to traverse still since jet engines arrived, it’s still a very big place, packed with enough variety and places of interest to keep everyone on the planet busy with travel plans for their entire lives. With so many choices of places to visit, the travel press is invaluable for the public, what with recommendations on the best untouched and developed destinations, new hotels, air routes and great deals for a quick getaway.
As with any media that focuses on informing the average man and woman on the street, this end of publishing is also crucial for any company making money from travel. Whether an airline, luxury accommodation firm, city tour operator or cruise line, these businesses rely on securing editorial space as much as they do buying advertising spots. After all, irrespective of the perceived death of journalism, most readers still trust what an expert tells them more than a website banner or back cover page that has been placed for a fee. With this in mind we’ve compiled a list of essential print titles everyone in the travel industry needs to know, comprising not just the biggest sellers, but our favourites, along with those doing things a little differently, and building a loyal following as a result.
The best newspapers and supplements
The Times and Sunday Times
Still perceived to be the king of British broadsheets, The Times and its Sunday sister have plenty of options for selling-in travel stories. Worldwide destinations are covered with in-depth features, whether that’s the Galapagos Islands or Gibraltar, meanwhile there’s also room for news stories on launches and one-off events, with plenty of lists hitting the website section such as this lovely run down of places to stay in Umbria.
The Guardian and G2
Saturday’s paper comes with a stand-alone travel pull-out, so we don’t need to tell you which edition offers the most opportunities. Features regularly look at worldwide off-the-beaten-track destinations accessible from the UK, although this doesn’t stop the Mediterranean big hitters finding space. Interviews with celebrities who travel either out of love or for work are regulars, and online the series of city guides is one of the web’s longest running and most read. The daily G2 supplement, with its focus on arts, is also a winner if you have a cultural angle worthy of note.
As with most aspects of the The Indie, you can bet your bottom dollar that travel stories in the paper don’t follow the trends of other outlets, with eco and socially conscious tourism seeming to be of particular interest. That said, you’ll still find reviews of Greek resorts and unsung French towns revisited, along with luxe addresses in Amsterdam making the final print. Less read than The Guardian and Times, nevertheless the audience is vehemently faithful.
The biggest selling paper in the country may come in for a snubbing from readers of so-called ‘quality’ titles, but it still reaches millions and is the best bet for package holiday destinations and cruises. Less of a good choice if you’re looking at securing space for volunteering excursions to orphanages in Peru, the majority of coverage is afforded to short haul and domestic options.
With distribution covering public transport hubs in most major towns and cities, Metro provides an opportunity to reach an almost immeasurable audience. Travel content is limited to one page, and there’s an emphasis on domestic and European destinations. Nevertheless, it has and does cover everywhere from China to the U.S., albeit with less regularity. News is also a big focus, especially online.
Arguably the best regional paper for travel content in the country emphasises how well connected London is to pretty much every part of the world. Recent features have run on Wyoming, Argentina and California, along with the best hotels in London, and a great online video exploring Kent and Essex. Like everything in the capital, readership is huge, meaning circulation is massive. News items relating to holiday travel are not a priority.
Manchester Evening News
Short, sharp travel reports comprise the MEN’s remit, with destinations mostly (and logically) served by the city’s airport. That doesn’t limit things too much, mind, given there are more routes out of MAN than any other flight centre in the United Kingdom, albeit largely European and major worldwide capitals. Domestic destinations are also popular, with this your best bet in terms of reach for northern towns, cities, hotels and the like.
Must try magazines
Although it seems unfair to bulk them together, given most airlines still retain an in-flight magazine there are too many to list individually. Key titles to consider would be British Airways High Life, easyJet Traveller, Lufthansa Magazin, Virgin’s Seatback, US Airways Mag and Morning Calm by Korean Airways. All require the carrier or partner to serve the destination.
Conde Naste Traveler
To be in with a chance of hitting the pages of Britain’s most revered travel title there needs to be a genuine luxury element to the story. Laying claim to be the country’s leading travel magazine, the readership has the means to take on board recommendations and book that day if they see fit. An essential hit if you serve the top end of the market.
Aimed at a young but affluent and adventurous crowd, Wanderlust is probably the coolest travel magazine on the shelves as we speak (or write). And by that we don’t just mean Croatian festival regulars read it. The idea being to open up the world’s secrets and embrace the sense of freedom that comes with exploring the globe, meaning Scarborough probably won’t cut it.
Lonely Planet Travel Magazine
The most trusted guidebooks in existence may be in serious trouble, with the BBC losing a 747-sized sum of money since taking ownership, but the magazine itself remains well-trusted, hence the fact it’s now mostly read by subscribers. There’s very little restrictions on the type of destinations that will be covered, other than a distinct lack of package holidays to the Costas and such like, with Yorkshire having benefited hugely in terms of tourist numbers this year partly as a result of being ranked one of LP’s global hotspots for 2014 (oh, and the Tour de France).
Sunday Times Travel Magazine
Indicative of how seriously the paper takes travel content, the stand-alone Sunday Times Travel Magazine expands on the same kind of content from the paper but in glossy mode.
National Geographic Traveler
The most widely read travel magazine in the world is a bona fide institution in the U.S., and has made huge inroads in Britain since launching a UK edition. Heavy on news and current affairs stories, relating to global travel, its photoessays are legendary and it covers every corner of the globe.
Niche titles of real note
Although not strictly a travel magazine, Monocle runs excellent travel content with a focus on global cities. Written for a high-end readership, which travels a lot for business, as such there’s a very suited and booted angle running through its coverage- jet setters with a purpose, if that’s not too cliched.
One of the new-breed of travel titles, Boat is a ‘nomadic’ magazine- put simply, the editorial focus shifts from one location to the next per issue. The idea being to help people get truly familiar with a place through its people, culture and other unique aspects.
Sidetracked is beautiful to look at and deals solely with adventure travel. Photoessays, features and interviews make up the content, without oversimplifying things.
Group Travel World
As the title suggest, Group World Travel is all about holiday, travel and activity ideas for medium and large groups. As such there’s a B2B feel to much of the content, but the editorial covers everything from pantomime trips in Britain to Caribbean cruises.