People Just Aren’t Reading or Watching Anything to Do With Travel

The latest insights from Comscore a data company which helps advertisers and publishers for plan, transact and evaluate media across platforms, shows that consumers are seemingly still not ready to think about travel plans amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The continuing depressed visitation volume has also translated to a downward trend in consumer spending on travel. Further people just aren’t reading or watching anything to do with travel.

One shining spot is Going Global which has grown in reach and reputation since January when we started focusing on COVID-19 and how it was going to impact the world of travel.

OK, our success aside, the travel industry is in crisis and not just because people can’t or won’t book a flight, hotel room or other vacation, but as of right now, they’re not even interested in looking at travel content and day dreaming.

In this graphic “Travel Spend” means the time spent researching, pursuing, daydreaming on travel sites. The category itself is down 43% year over year, meaning it’s hard to stay relevant as a travel media out in an era when no one can travel. Most major travel media and travel providers are hurting as a result.


As a reaction to these seismic drops in travel media consumption, the industry leader in travel content Trip Advisor advised last week that they were adding to the layoffs they previously announced and were cutting another 25% of their global workforce and closing SmarterTravel a content division, merging other internal units and downsizing to reflect a severely shrinking market for travel insight. 

Most remaining employees are subject to 4-day work weeks, and a 20 percent pay cut. “Tripadvisor firmly believe these measures are necessary and proportionate to the reality we face as a business and as an industry,” the company said in a statement.

Times are tough for travel media unless you learn how to pivot.

Overall, Comscore observed a 43 percent year over year drop in the time consumer spent on a desktop looking at travel content for the month of March 2020, despite the fact that the steep decline in travel site visitation did not really begin until the week of March 16, 2020(factoring in that the spike in visitation during the week of March 9, 2020 was likely due to cancelations). The airline category, which makes up roughly two thirds of all travel spend, fared the best – only seeing a 38 percent drop from last year, but the hotel industry is reeling (with a 61 percent decline).

One key indicator is “minutes spent per unique visitor,” which is a measurement of consumer engagement on travel sites. This metric varies from week to week, but the week of April 13, 2020 registered a bump for all travel categories. It remains to be seen whether this is related to consumers planning trips, or if the spike was caused by another wave of travel cancelations.

The bottomline is that in an era when you can’t easily get on a plane and go anywhere, people just aren’t reading or watching anything to do with travel. That’s why Going Global has pivoted to providing information, inspiration and ideas that reflect this new reality and as a result, we’ve seen our community grow and we are bucking the trend.  

As our recent hit video explained, “We will travel again. And when we can, we will be at the forefront, helping to spread the word about destinations, sharing our love of flying and our passion for food.”