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Dear Reader,

On Thursday, freelance travel writer and past attendee Sandra Kennedy gave us some tips for getting in an editor’s good graces with a sharp query letter.  Another must if you want to get published is keeping up with current travel trends. Here’s an article from humorist and travel writer, Stan Sinberg, on how to predict the newest hot travel destination.

Have a great weekend!

— Lori
Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

The Intangibles of a Hot Travel Destination

Sometimes the factors that determine whether a given travel destination suddenly becomes “hot” are measurable: affordability, a more friendly government, an historic anniversary, and the like.  Travel writers should always keep their eyes and ears open for news of this sort, as a way to pitch timely ideas about a hot travel destination ahead of the travel-writing throng.

But other times, the “hot” factor is totally unpredictable, and ironically, may not have much to do with the location itself.  Which brings me to New Orleans and The Super Bowl.

The New Orleans Saints upset the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Superbowl, and suddenly the word is that New Orleans is “back.” Never mind that it’s been steadily rebuilding ever since Hurricane Katrina, and that it’s a work in progress, or that it’s still home to the best jazz on the planet.  It took a Super Bowl triumph for The Big Easy to be recognized again as a cool place to go.

I love New Orleans. I’m happy for New Orleans. I was rooting for the Saints to win it all because I knew that’s what the effect would be.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s weird.

I mean, it’s not like most of the players live there during the off-season, or the Saints players are a bunch of saxophone-playing jazz musicians in their spare time. Nor that the masses of folks whose homes were wiped out during Katrina suddenly have an extra dime in their pockets because the 50 or so Saints’ players made a caboodle of money Super Sunday. The average person’s well-being, and the New Orleans quality of life didn’t really change because of the Saints’ victory, especially once the buzz wore off.

But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is New Orleans is perceived as a hot travel destination again.  

There are other intangible things that can make a destination hot: a hit movie, or even a music video, can produce an uptake in tourism. Not many viewers saw Showtimes’ “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” on HBO, but I did, and it made me put visiting Botswana high on my list.  You can also bet that since Susan Doyle became a sensation on Britain’s version of America’s Got Talent, tourism to her little village has swelled.  Why? I don’t know. I’m not one of those people who make my travel decisions based on good singers.  But many people make travel decisions based on what’s in the news, and being in tune with things like Doyle’s success can get you good stories.

It’s not easy to predict the essentially unpredictable. But you can increase your odds by reading trade journals about upcoming “blockbuster” movies (and their locations), following the standings in various sports, or being on the lookout for the next TV celebrity chef — which will make his or her hometown a good pitch for a travel/food piece.

And if you have an “in” on who’s going to win next year’s Super Bowl, that’s a sure bet for a destination piece.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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