‘The White Lotus’ Effect: More People Are Basing Travel Plans on TV
If you spent the entirety of “The White Lotus” Season 2 thinking about how beautiful Sicily is, you’re apparently not alone. More and more people are using their favorite shows as their personal travel agents, according to new data from a report by American Express.
According to the American Express Global Travel Trends Report, 64 percent of travelers said they made travel plans or were inspired to visit a specific country or destination after it was featured on a TV show, news source, or a film. The same percentage claimed they used travel television shows for inspiration for activities at their destination, and 61 percent of respondents said shows and films have inspired them to visit specific stores or restaurants featured. That said, more respondents (75 percent) said they used social media as an inspiration for bookings, so Facebook and Instagram remain a more dominant vacation planner.
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These trends are even more significant and visible among Generation Z and Millennial respondents, which were defined by the survey as those born between 1981 and 2012. 70 percent of respondents in those age brackets said they were inspired to visit a location after seeing it in a television show or movie. This is noticeably more than the percentage of respondents who said they were inspired to visit a location based on Instagram (46 percent) and TikTok (29 percent), two of the most popular social media apps among the tracked age group.
American Express didn’t track any specific information about what shows inspired the most travel plans. However, according to a report from Bloomberg, some of the most notable examples are on-location shows that premiered during the pandemic, including HBO’s “White Lotus” and Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.”
Season 1 of “The White Lotus,” which was filmed at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea in Hawaii, caused a 425 percent year-over-year web traffic increase for the property. The Four Seasons San Domenico Palace in Sicily, where Season 2 was filmed, also received a spike in bookings according to Four Seasons, and other luxury resorts in Sicily have seen similar rises in demand, according to luxury travel company Little Emperors. So wherever the HBO show sets up for Season 3 should prepare itself for a surge in bookings.
The American Express report was based on data obtained by an online poll conducted by business intelligence company Morning Consult from February 3 to February 11. 2,000 travelers from the United States were surveyed, along with 1,000 travelers from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Respondents had a minimum household income of $70,000, and reported that they travel by air at least once per year. Results from the survey have an error margin of plus or minus three percent.
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