Condé Nast Traveler has introduced a new editorial initiative called “The New Standard,” recognizing travel brands and providers that meet a criteria of excellence during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The New Standard will live on a digital hub on the Condé Nast Traveler site, as well as in an editorial package in the October issue, which hit newsstands today.
Coverage will shine a spotlight on brands, destinations and travel providers who meet the New Standard, which are five key principles determined by Condé Nast Traveler editors to be important to travelers as they begin to embark on trips again.
It acts as a service for readers looking to go safely on their next trip, and as a guideline for travel providers on what travelers need when booking.
More than 90% of travelers say they would feel more comfortable visiting a destination they know is taking extra precautions to address safety concerns, according to Condé Nast Traveler consumer research conducted this spring.
“We want to cut through the noise and give our audience clarity on how to make travel decisions that they feel good about," Jesse Ashlock, U.S. editor at Condé Nast Traveler, told Publishers Daily.
Articles on the New Standard hub include “How Singapore’s Restaurants Are Adapting to a New World,” “How Delta Set the Standard for the Airline Industry” and “Virgin Voyages to Set Sail with Contactless Food Delivery, Upgraded Air Filtration,” for example.
“Now that we’ve been living with COVID-19 for a while, the transformation of travel is coming into focus,” Ashlock stated. “Travelers’ desires and expectations have shifted, and hotels, airlines, cruise companies, and destinations have all shifted how they operate in return. The New Standard is all about celebrating innovation in the industry in response to the pandemic.”
The five principles of the New Standard were determined based on a mix of the concerns and factors Condé Nast Traveler editors were hearing from readers, as well as what travel providers are doing to address these issues.
The five pillars were: Health & Safety; Communication & Transparency; Flexibility; Innovation and Civics.
“Crises have a way of resetting expectations,” Ashlock said. “These pillars will be important for travel providers… long into the future.”
Ad partners in the travel sector can also align themselves with these guidelines.
Singapore Tourism Board is the launch sponsor of the New Standard.
Ashlock stressed the importance of these principles to travelers, even in a post-COVID-19 world. "We fully expect the New Standard to outlive this pandemic," he stated. “It will be woven into the fabric of the brand going forward.”
The Civics pillar, for example, was borne out of Condé Nast Traveler research data on how important it is to travelers that their money goes toward “benefiting communities in a tangible way” and to “help support people in need,” Ashlock said.
This principle will be the backbone of another editorial initiative from Condé Nast Traveler coming in the future “about people and community,” he added.