August 2, 2022

With TSA screening over 11 million travelers during Fourth of July weekend, it’s evident that summer travel is in full swing. Despite inflation, rising gas prices and other world events, travelers are eager to take their next vacation. 

In fact, 65% of U.S. travelers intend to take a leisure trip in the next six months despite obstacles present in today’s travel environment, according to the Portrait of American Travelers® “Summer Edition” research from MMGY Travel Intelligence released in June.

Eclipsing COVID-19 concerns for the first time, rising costs are now the most significant barrier to travel. The survey concluded that gas prices will impact travel for nearly 8 in 10 active leisure travelers. However, rather than canceling trips, U.S. travelers are making more savvy decisions, such as being more likely to travel closer to home, decreasing their spend on entertainment and shopping, and cooking meals instead of eating out. Travelers’ spending shifts present a media opportunity for destinations wanting to highlight budget-friendly options, hotel deals and more. 

The following is a summary of trends and industry shifts that MMGY NJF has compiled from recent media feedback, widespread coverage, industry conferences and webinars:

Media Opportunities

  • Thomas Farley has a new weekly column for TODAY Online – “Mealtime with Mister Manners.” Delving into a “smorgasbord of dining-etiquette dilemmas,” he is looking for chef and restaurant representatives to serve as interview sources on an ongoing basis. 
  • For those trying to tap into the Southern California market, Michele Bigley is launching a monthly travel news column for San Diego Magazine that will cover travel news for San Diegans, including new flight routes to San Diego, new hotel openings or attractions throughout California, events and more. 
  • T: The New York Times Style Magazine’s new limited-time luxury travel and hotels newsletter edited by Ashlea Halpern launched in July and arrives in inboxes twice monthly through December. 


Media Shifts

  • Eater has named Stephanie Wu as editor-in-chief. She previously spent three years at Condé Nast Traveler as digital director and before that oversaw all editorial and video content for Mic’s lifestyle sections. Wu is Eater’s second-ever editor-in-chief and will oversee reporting, storytelling and service journalism across all formats with an emphasis on maintaining its national perspective rooted in local authority. Amanda Kludt, who previously served as editor-in-chief, has taken the role of publisher of Eater and its sister brands, Popsugar, Punch and Thrillist.
  • Following Mary Forgione’s departure, Matt Pawlik has taken over The Wild – the Los Angeles Times column and newsletter focused on the outdoors. The newsletter spotlights the best places to hike, bike and run, as well as quiet spots for meditation and yoga. An avid outdoorsman, Pawlik has noted his fondness for camping in Joshua Tree and backpacking in the Sierras. 
  • Freelance travel and food writer Jen Rose Smith is the interim adventure and lifestyle editor at Sierra, the magazine of the Sierra Club. Based in Vermont, Smith’s travel writing has covered adventure and wild places, an ideal fit for the outlet, which serves as the storytelling arm for the one of the most influential grassroots environmental groups in the U.S.
  • Dawit Habtemariam has joined Skift as global tourism reporter. He previously served as associate editor at Business Travel News (BTN) where he covered corporate travel.


Trends Impacting the Travel Industry

  • Flightmare – Delays, cancellations and lost baggage continue to affect summer travel as airlines struggle to keep up with staffing shortages and consumer demand. While some airlines have made improvements to meet demands by increasing staff pay, such as British Airways, other airlines like Lufthansa and United continue to be forced to cancel flight routes and deal with heavy delays. In Europe, some hubs have become so crowded that airports are capping the number of daily departing travelers. Travel experts across the board have recommended packing in a carry-on when able, booking flights with longer connection times to account for delays, arriving at the airport early and adding travel insurance to trips to minimize financial impact. 
  • Pandemic Restrictions Fluctuate In recent weeks, destinations across the globe have continued to drop pandemic-related travel requirements ranging from Australia to Portugal. However, destinations like Los Angeles are considering revisiting indoor mask mandates due to a rise in cases this summer. It will be important for tourism boards and DMOs to continue to clearly communicate their local restrictions and changes to those restrictions in a timely manner so that travelers can be properly prepared and feel confident and safe in the destinations in which they are traveling.