As we have experienced first-hand, the ‘new normal’ is marked by unprecedented uncertainty. For PR professionals in the travel industry, this means that storytelling in a post-pandemic world will have to grapple with unpredictability and the upheaval of emotions in society. Consumers will be drawn to stories that address this new normal, yet also point to a more hopeful future, stressing how they can be a part of it. This is a great time for brands to assert themselves, refocusing on what matters most.
The V&VPR team share our top tips on how brands can navigate these challenging times:
Determine what readers and journalists want
Aside from putting out amazing products and packages, there is a new expectation placed on brands to be more in tune with current trends and social issues. This is especially important to ensure your brand is always adapting, as the media landscape is ever-changing and must be consistently monitored. When the pandemic started to pick up pace around the world, scheduled stories on travel trends for 2020 immediately went out the window. Instead, brands had to look ahead and anticipate new trends that would arise in the new normal as a result of COVID-19, including a rising demand for personal wellbeing and social responsibility.
Appeal to and connect with a more eco-conscious and culture-conscious audience
What matters to you? The Earth is in need of love now more than ever. Sustainability is not just a choice, but a moral imperative, and consumers have begun to realise this. The same goes with culture-conscious choices, like the need for racial representation and gender equality. The most effective stories arise when the beliefs and motivations of your brand resonate with the desires and lifestyle of your consumers. This does not mean that brands have to hop on the bandwagon for every trend, but highlights the importance of maintaining your brand identity through combining it with the news around the world that matter to your target audience.
Highlight how your brand ties into the consumer’s journey
Cookie-cutter experiences will be less desirable, and meaningful content and experiences will hold more impact in the new normal, especially as consumers become more mindful of the privilege it is to buy or travel. What are your brand values, and how can you set up touch points for consumers to interact with your brand so that they know exactly who you are and what you stand for?
Think outside the box
What are you able to offer that stands out from the crowd? Do your research, gather your team, and think of something different. A great way to come up with new ideas is through the free association technique where random ideas are thrown out in an attempt to force connection between your current questions or challenge –– this usually results in ideas far separate from the mainstream.
Read the rest of our blog here.
While we won’t be travelling for the foreseeable future, it’s never too early to start dreaming about your first trip once international travel is a reality again. Of course, that first trip will have to be a trip of a lifetime and if it’s not on the ‘gram, did it really happen? Undeniably, this generation of travellers curate their itineraries like they do their feed. From stunning nature views to breath-taking architecture — there’s no Instagrammable destination quite like Sydney. You have the sand, surf, city and nature all rolled into one amazing, unforgettable destination. Bookmark these locations for your next visit, you’re going to want to get them all.
1. Bondi Icebergs
Sydney is renowned for its incredible ocean pools but none are as iconic as Bondi Icebergs. The 50 metre stretch of turquoise is set against the backdrop of the expansive ocean and crashing waves, and is truly a sight to behold. Whether you’re getting a shot in the water or a bird’s eye view from Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi Icebergs is arguably the most photogenic pool in the world and worth a visit.
2. Bronte Bath Viewpoint
Already captured your iconic Bondi Icebergs shot? Why not do the scenic Bondi to Bronte Walk and get yourself to the Bronte Baths? Nestled between the well-loved Bondi and Coogee beaches in Sydney’s east, Bronte Beach is where the locals go. The hidden gem is a pictorial haven, offering balmy seaside parks for picnics, a crystal-clear aquatic reserve for snorkelling and diving, as well as an ocean pool for protected swimming. Built into the rocky cliffside in 1887, the Bronte Baths can be found at the beach’s southern headland and travellers can access the panoramic viewpoint by heading to the end of the walkway and climbing up the rocks. From the semi-shaded cove, soak in the sweeping views of the bay and the ocean horizon; early birds will be rewarded with a remarkable sunrise.
3. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair has some of the best views of Sydney’s iconic skyline – you’ll be able to get the Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge all in one frame for that money shot. Located east of the Sydney Opera House on the edge of The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, you can set up picnic rugs alongside the western side of Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and if you’re there at dusk, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the sun setting behind the Sydney Opera House. This is a sight for sore eyes, and one sure to satisfy your followers and get the likes rolling in.
4. Manly Wormhole
One of the city’s best-kept secrets is the Queenscliff Tunnel, also known as the Manly Wormhole. The tunnel is said to have been dug out a century ago by local fishermen as a shortcut between Freshwater Beach and Manly. Follow in the fishermen’s footsteps down the 50-metre long tunnel that burrows straight through the cliff. There will be a few boulders to climb over but the view of the expansive ocean framed beautifully by the opening of the tunnel is truly worth the trip. Budding geologists can also appreciate the rock formations and cross-section of the rock layers along the way.
5. Queen Victoria Building
Dating back to 1898, the Queen Victoria Building replaced the original Sydney markets on the site and spans an entire block along George Street. The elaborate Romanesque architecture – with its semi-circular arches, stained glass windows and mighty domes – was planned specifically to employ many out-of-work craftsmen during the recession. Now, these heritage architectural features make the landmark hard to miss as you walk down George Street and its many nooks and crannies provide a magnificent backdrop for that perfect Instagram shot.
6. Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is a popular spot for locals. Nestled in the Lavender Bay Parklands, the garden is a whimsical oasis that allows you to escape the busy city and get a good dose of the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Get lost amongst the towering foliage, lush plantings and meandering paths, while stopping for the occasional artwork and sculpture along the way. The myriad of green tones and pops of colours from the native flowers will have you snapping away.
7. Forgotten Songs, Angel Place
An ethereal cluster of over a hundred cages is suspended above Angel Place, a pedestrian lane that runs between George Street and Pitt Street. The creator of this artwork, Michael Thomas Hill, explains how the striking installation explores how Sydney’s fauna has evolved and adapted to co-exist with increased urbanisation. Once you’ve captured your shot, take a second to listen to the bird calls, which change as day shifts to night.
8. Paddington Reservoir
A short drive from the CBD, the Paddington Reservoir is a heritage-listed public park. Built in the early 1800s, the reservoir was decommissioned in 1914 and has since then been transformed into a Romanesque sunken garden with a lake of contemplation at its centre, a hanging garden canopy around the perimeter and an eastern chamber left empty but for the wall art. The preservation of much of its original architecture – think towering archways, brick and iron structures – make for a rustic Instagrammable spot.
9. Bare Island, La Perouse
One of the many hidden gems in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, Bare Island is a small atoll that houses a 19th-century fort and old wooden footbridge connecting the island to the mainland. With dreamy coastal views of Botany Bay, this photo spot is the perfect blend of history and nature. Fun fact: the fort features in Mission: Impossible 2 as the hideout of villain Sean Ambrose.
10. Green Square Library
Boasting floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with a multicolour array of books, Green Square Library seems to have been made for the ‘gram. Besides the impressive rainbow book wall, the library also has reading nooks tucked within the bookshelves, as well as 40 skylights to make sure you get all the natural light you need for your shot and your reading! The photogenic library is a short 15 minute train trip from Circular Quay and is a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
As global travel restrictions continue across the world, the prospect of a holiday still seems very far away. However, according to research, cabin fever can be cured by looking ahead and planning a future trip – here are a few of Scott Dunn’s dreamworthy destinations to inspire wanderlust for your next vacation!
Destinations that offer wide-open spaces, nature and off-grid adventures are poised to be popular amongst travellers when travel resumes. Bespoke travel operator, Scott Dunn offers a hassle-free vacation for guests with every detail is looked after by their expert Travel Consultants – from flights to visas and packing lists! Travellers can look forward to journeying to a range of inspiring destinations with Scott Dunn’s exclusive itineraries that offer unforgettable encounters such as witnessing the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, getting up-close-and-personal with Canada’s diverse wildlife and trekking through Chile’s breathtaking landscapes. Prepare to be inspired!
Discover Africa’s magnificent wildlife: Scott Dunn’s Tanzania and Rwanda in Ultimate Luxury itinerary combines two bucket list wildlife experiences, the great migration of wildebeest in the Serengeti and trekking to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Guests will enjoy stays at Singita Faru Faru Lodge in Tanzania and Singita Kwitonda Lodge, which opened last August on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Scott Dunn advise that travellers should leave plenty of time to plan this trip and book at least 1 year in advance as the annual migration crosses the Serengeti in the summer months and there are only a finite amount of annual trekking permits through Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park.
Encounter Canada’s Bears and Whales: Scott Dunn’s Whales and Bears of British Colombia itinerary takes visitors off-the-beaten-track to spot some of Canada’s diverse wildlife including black bears, sea lions, migrating whales and grizzly bears. Another itinerary that is best booked a year in advance as this trip includes staying at small, boutique hotels with limited rooms – don’t miss out on your opportunity to witness these incredible animals!
Delve into Israel’s Past: Steeped in history, Israel is a melting pot of history, culture and religion. Scott Dunn’s A Week in Israel allows guests to journey to Israel’s key sites including Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee and the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv. Guests will enjoy exclusive activities including a cable car ride to the impressive Masada Fortress, where travellers will marvel at the breathtaking views across Israel’s desert landscape and the mesmerising Dead Sea.
For more travel inspiration on destinations to visit post-pandemic, visit our blog here!
We can’t physically run wild right now, but that doesn’t mean our imaginations can’t. To help ward off cabin fever and help you kickstart the planning for the wondrous trip you’ll be desperate to take when the world recovers, we’ve rounded up some of the places we’d love to travel to right now…
Go on a history and culture-rich hike across Tajikistan
The Walk Tajikistan itinerary with Scott Dunn showcases breath-taking landscapes with an insight into the country’s colourful history and culture. This itinerary is crafted for the discerning traveller – hiking across the remote mountain system of the Fann Mountains, renowned for its phenomenal panoramas and stunning azure alpine lakes. Visit two of the less famous Silk Road destinations, including one of Asia’s oldest cities, Khujand, and venture to Iskanderkul, nicknamed the ‘jewel in Tajikistan’s crown’, home to the Iskanderkul Lake with ethereal blue and green waters and a magnificent waterfall.
Encounter gentle gorillas on a trek through Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park
For a truly immersive experience in the Rwandan wilderness, we recommend a stay at Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Set on 178 acres at the edge of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, the lodge was named after a legendary silverback gorilla, known for his humility and gentle nature. This is where you’ll be able to take part in life-changing gorilla treks for a humbling, soul-centring experience of encountering gorilla families in their natural habitats. Surrounded by greenery, the lodge also has on-site nursery which has provided approximately 250,000 indigenous forest shrubs, bamboo shoots and trees for Singita’s extensive reforestation initiative to increase the range and numbers of the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.
Spend a weekend on an island paradise in Indonesia
The exquisite island of Sumba is an hour’s flight from Bali – a bucolic haven far removed from tourist hotspots. From plunging waterfalls to pristine beaches with world-class surf spots, this amazing destination is replete with plenty of #InstaWorthy sights and activities for your travel bucket list. If you’re looking for the ultimate island getaway experience, Nihi Sumba Resort is your dream accommodation. Placed first in Top 10 Hotels for Travel + Leisure’s 2016 World’s Best Awards, the property boasts a selection of off-script experiences that are hard to beat – including swimming with horses, surf lessons at Coconut Cove and watching turtle hatchlings released into the ocean.
Explore the best of Australia’s nature in the Blue Mountains, NSW
Just a 3-hour drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains is known for its dramatic scenery, cascading falls, lush valleys and greenery – a true paradise for ecophiliacs yearning for fresh air and open spaces. The Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort is a luxurious eco-retreat that will sweep you off your feet if you’re looking to stay and explore the area. Ensconced in 4,000 acres of natural wonder, go for a horse-riding session through winding trails and native eucalypt woodlands, or take part in an authentic ‘walkabout’ in one of Australia’s untouched stretches of natural, protected bushland. Unwind at the end of a long day in your own private plunge pool – we won’t tell if you decide to go for a skinny-dip!
Immerse in a unique modern safari experience in Tanzania
For the true adventure seekers, it doesn’t get any wilder than this – located on a dramatic riverbend in the remote Lamai triangle in Tanzania, Mara River Tented Camp is a permanent camp with a modern take on the classic East African safari. Set on 98,000 acres of untouched wilderness in northern Tanzania, guests will have access to some of the world’s most prized and private game-viewing opportunities, including breath-taking views of the renowned migratory route traversed annually by more than a million wildebeest. Get involved in game drives, guided bush walks and stargazing in the evening under the African night sky.
Check out the rest of our page here for more travel inspiration.
With travel restrictions in place, cabin fever setting in, and stress and anxiety levels rising, keeping wellness a priority has become more important than ever. Take a mental vacation to some of the world’s most beautiful destinations –– visualising a stress-free place is a simple way to help your whole body calm down and give you the boost you need for the day.
We’ve put together a series of stunning visuals featuring rolling landscapes, ethereal views and remarkable sights that will be just the pick-me-up for you.
Golden rays of sunlight lighting up the sand and sea at Zenith Beach in Port Stephens, NSW.
Plumes of steam rising from chimneys across a coastal town along the Oita Hot Spring Trail with Walk Japan.
A leopard taking a well-deserved rest up on a tree at Singita Boulders Lodge, Singita’s privately-owned reserve within Sabi Sand in South Africa.
Check out the rest of our page here for more mental vacation travel inspiration.
As with any international city, London is awash with traditional tourist sites, from crowded cosy pubs to its famous landmark buildings and vast museums. If you’re planning a trip across the pond to London anytime soon, here are some of V&VPR’s favourite cultural attractions to add to your itinerary.
Whether you’re looking for art or architecture, a visit to London is not complete without an excursion to ‘the world’s leading and largest museum of art and design’ – the infamous Victoria & Albert Museum. The museum has over 2.27 million objects on permanent exhibition; from furniture, fashion and jewellery to ceramics, theatre, sculpture and paintings, you’ll be agog at the treasures within.
Kensington Palace sits parallel to Hyde Park in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. As a place of residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th Century, it is a treasure trove of royal paintings, items, wardrobes and interiors. The Orangery, situated in the grounds of the palace, is the ideal location for a cup of tea after exploring the exhibitions.
The Tower of London & Tower Bridge
The Tower of London is at the heart of much of Britain’s history, William the Conqueror built this London fortress in the 1070s and now, nearly 1000 years on, the Tower still fascinates and horrifies residents and tourists alike with its rich and complex history. Home to the Crown Jewels, recognisable Yeoman Warder’s and the pampered ravens, the Tower of London is a must-see when in the capital. From the Tower, visitors can also see what is arguably the most famous bridge in the world.
The world’s largest antiques market, Portobello Road Market in West London features over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible you could ever imagine. Whether it be from tiny trinkets to one-of-a-kind antique furnishings, Portobello Road Market has something for everyone.
Mr & Mrs Smith latest report Modern Love details a shift from the outdated concept of a romantic trip with champagne, chocolate, rose petals and couples’ massages and onto a rousing notion of romantic travel – becoming more innovative, more exciting and more sensual with new experiences, surprise and plenty of wonder.
- In this new era of dismantled norms, changing perceptions, political melodrama and planetary peri, the senior team at Mr & Mrs Smith have worked with future strategic consultancy firm The Future Laboratory to determine the changing norms of romantic travel. From destination spas, back-to-nature rooms and psychoactive pleasure pursuits to peakends, self-romantic getaways and workcations, the tenets of the romantic trip will have definitively changed and expanded within the next decade: The hospitality industry will embrace a younger generation of couples, singles and polycules who seek meaning, pleasure and purpose through their travels.
- Hotels will become more conscious, with adaptable luxury personalised to their own unique concepts of romance to introduce moments of wonder, connection and intimacy into traveller’s lives.
- Although some guests will still indulge in the classic notions of romantic travel with candle-lit dinners and jacuzzis, the majority of travellers will look to reinforce their bonds by strengthening the communities in the neighbourhoods they visit to leave a positive impact on the destinations in which they go to.
- Single travellers will be open to serendipitous situationships when they travel. And as the working world becomes inherently more flexible, mid- weekers, peakends and workcations will become the go-to model for couples’ rest and recuperation.
- Within a decade, there will be plenty of new ways to indulge and rekindle romantic partnerships. Brands will embrace the cultural and social shifts that will represent this era of new romanticism, transforming romantic travel from something standard to a passionate, rekindling exploration from which, once experienced, there will be no going back.
It’s human nature to crave adventure – we’re all itching to explore foreign cities, visit beautiful destinations, maybe meet a few strangers who become friends — but how can we do this responsibly, minimising the negative impact that tourism can have on the planet?
By traveling smarter, we can leverage the power of the industry to positively contribute to environmental, community, social and economic gains. Here are our top tips to achieve a more sustainable travel itinerary in 2020:
- Avoid over-tourism: it’s tempting to be lured to Insta-popular destinations (think Venice, Machu Picchu, and Santorini), but these destinations are being overwhelmed by tourists, causing a strain on infrastructure and pricing locals out of the communities. When planning your next trip, venture off the beaten track and explore somewhere new – one of our top picks for 2020 is Mongolia, which is perfect for those seeking remote adventures and eye-opening cultural experiences
- Timing is key: if you still prefer to visit a more popular destination, consider traveling outside of peak season; there will be fewer people around, and the money you spend will help businesses that may struggle during quieter periods
- Support recovering areas: another way to be more mindful when creating your destination bucket list is to explore areas that have been impacted by natural disaster or social unrest, and are relying on the economic benefits of tourism to bounce back. Sri Lanka and New South Wales are a couple of options to consider
Opt for a hotel or accommodation option that holds itself to high environmental standards. A couple of our favourites include:
- Singita: conservation brand Singita follows a 100-year purpose to preserve and protect the African wilderness for future generations through the three pillars of biodiversity, community and sustainability. Through partnerships with non-profit funds and trusts Singita implements strategic conservation projects in each of the six regions in which they are located to ensure the existence of Africa’s magnificent wildlife populations and with programmes that aim to help create economic independence within communities that live alongside their reserves.
- Capella Ubud: a luxury tented camp designed by Bill Bensley, Capella Ubud is nestled amidst the unspoiled beauty of Bali’s luscious rainforest. With the conscious idea of “minimal intervention,” thoughtful care was taken in the design of the hotel, and all trees and local plants were left untouched and protected throughout the construction process – not a single tree was cut during the camp’s creation, and as such, there are several trees intercepting the property’s accommodation, restaurants and the spa tents.
- Air travel is often the only viable way to reach some of the world’s greatest destinations, but try to fly direct as much as possible, select eco-friendly airlines and look for carriers that use sustainable aviation biofuel. To avoid air travel altogether, consider destinations that are closer to home; The Sanchaya is a 50-minute ferry ride from Singapore
- Consider the romance of rail travel and embark on an unforgettable rail journey through the likes of South Africa or Tibet
- Explore by foot – Walk Japan has an unrivalled range of tours spread across the length and breadth of Japan, focusing the development of tours on Japan’s little-known and less-visited regions. The team are keenly aware of the need for the responsible and sustainable development of Japan’s tourism resources and are widely recognised for their endeavours
Whilst you’re there:
- Disconnect from the digital world and immerse yourself into local life; ask locals for recommendations on where to eat and what to see and strike up conversations about the history and traditions of the area
- Carry a reusable water bottle to avoid unnecessary use of single-use plastic bottles. Our favourites are from bkr and byta
What are your top tips for travelling more responsibly?
Located on 45,000-acres of untouched wilderness in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Reserve, Singita Castleton Lodge, the former home of Singita’s Founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather is steeped in history. The lodge, accommodating a maximum of 12 guests, has re-opened to showcase a recent design refresh to ensure guests enjoy the utmost exclusivity and comfort in the African bush.
With new wellness experiences on offer, the private villa boasts a brand-new yoga pavilion alongside its state-of-the-art and fully equipped fitness centre – which is accessed via a covered walkway through Castleton’s tranquil gardens. Guests can now also choose between double and single massage treatment rooms. As one of 2020’s wellness trends, Castleton Lodge ensures guests to reconnect with the great outdoors as well as each other, and the expansive deck provides uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape. It also offers magical fireside dinners under a canopy of stars –the perfect backdrop for a taste of traditional local dishes, cooked by the on-site private chef.
The property’s impressive wine cellar has been expanded and is now conveniently located adjacent to the dining room and lounge. As a highly curated collection of South African finest vintages, it’s the ideal setting for pre-dinner tastings under the guidance of Singita’s knowledgeable sommeliers.
Many antiques and furnishings of the original homestead have been refashioned, adding authenticity to the living areas that extend outdoors onto deep, covered verandas overlooking a busy waterhole nearby, where game regularly gather to drink.
As part of Singita’s Private Villa Collection, guests staying at Castleton Lodge will enjoy the comforts of a private game-viewing vehicle as well as a full staff complement, which includes a Field Guide, private chef and host. Game drives, mealtimes and activities are organised daily according to the preference of each guests – allowing them to have complete freedom to choose the rhythm of their days. The perfect location for a bush escape for families and groups of friends, Castleton offers numerous opportunities for shared activities – from boules to tennis, cricket and a private pool, combining the best elements of an authentic safari with the rustic charm of a farmhouse.
Perth has a number of beautiful hotels across the city, the V&VPR girls have suggested our favourite three places to stay – ideal for a weekend trip, or a longer visit:
Located in Perth’s CBD, the five-star InterContinental Perth is a stylish space with lush interior decorations and 20th century architecture. The hotel boasts an eclectic selection of restaurants both in and along the establishment including Ascua Spanish Grill, The Loft Lounge & Bar, and Grafitti. Hotel guests will also be conveniently within reach of Elizabeth Quay, an exciting waterfront precinct; and Hay Street Mall, Perth’s extensive retail core.
Based in the historic heart of Perth city, COMO The Treasury is a contemporary luxury hotel designed by Australian architect Kerry Hill. After spending the day exploring the city, guests can unwind with a classic afternoon tea at the Treasury Lounge and Bar or spoil themselves with the hotel’s varying list of wellness sessions and treatments ranging from facials, massage therapy, yoga and personal training.
The Colony at Mandoon Estate is perfect for those who would like to escape the hustle and bustle of the city in preference for exploring quaint historic towns, and investigating Perth’s best food and wine trails. Overlooking the banks of the Swan River and Mandoon Estate’s sprawling vineyards, this five-star accommodation provides an unparalleled sense of peace and is conveniently located near some of the Swan Valley region’s top attractions and trails.