When you think back to the height of the pandemic, what are some of the things you remember missing most?
I'll give you a second.
If I had to guess, seeing loved ones in person and traveling were at the top of your list. Was I right? If so, you're not alone and there's actually science behind why you missed traveling so much.
Because although everyone in your life is just a video call away, we can all agree that nothing quite compares to in person meetups. And when it comes to travel, it's usually better when someone is with you to share the experience.
So when travel restrictions began to lift, Travel + Leisure saw a unique opportunity to combine those two things by helping people reunite with each other while exploring a new destination somewhere in the middle from where they both live. Using Travel + Leisure's expertise and access, we wanted to team up with local tour guides, chefs, mixologists, and other experts on the ground to curate the most authentic, adventurous, all-inclusive VIP experience at each destination for our lucky, deserving travelers. Simultaneously, Travel + Lesiure wanted to inform and inspire an audience of passionate travelers through the stories and experiences of the real-life people and places in the series.
Our Strategy was straight-foward, yet not easy to pull off:
- Blast out a national casting call seeking people (friends, family, significant others) with inspiring stories who haven't seen each other since before the pandemic or longer. We received over 500 submission tapes before deciding on our 4 "pairs".
- Choose an exciting destination that is geographically in the middle from where they both live and have not visited before.
- Curate custom, surprise itineraries that will lead to unforgettable memories with the help of Travel + Leisure's trusted network of locals on the ground.
- Capture their emotional first embrace on camera and film their adventure as they enjoy and indulge in all the destination has to offer, never knowing exactly what excitement awaits them until they arrive at each location.
- Edit together all footage into (4) compelling 15-20 minute episodes that not only entertains, but also inspires our audience to travel and meet up with their loved one(s)
- Drive viewership through Travel + Leisure's Youtube channel, social channels, and O+O.
As for the cast and destinations:
- While our series aimed to reunite people, we came across a story that we couldn't ignore about two siblings wanting to unite in person for the first time! Amanda and Roger were both born in Korea and adopted at birth -- Amanda lives in NY but was adopted by a family in Texas, and Roger was adopted by a family in Hawaii. Fast forward 30+ years and they discovered each other through a DNA test just a few months before they saw our casting call! We curated an action packed trip for them to meet in scenic Sedona, Arizona.
- Two great friends/former co-workers Lemar and Tia who, at the time, hadn't seen each other in over 4 years since the company they were working for in Florida went bankrupt which forced Tia move to LA. We curated a fun, artsy, and tasty trip to Kansas City for these partners in crime so they can reminisce and have a new, wild adventure together.
- Missy and Kristina are sister-in-laws who, at the time, hadn't seen each other in a year and a half. Kristina is a military spouse with two kids, living in Lancaster, CA, and Missy is a nurse and single mom of two, living in Portland, OR. The past year has been exhausting for both, so we were thrilled to give them a very much needed mom's getaway in Napa Valley, CA filled with exploration, pampering, and a few glasses of wine of course!
- Ruta and Jason have been dating for two years, but almost half of that time was spent long distance since Ruta moved from LA to Atlanta to pursue her masters degree in epidemiology. Visiting each other had become increasingly difficult, as they've only seen each other twice in person throughout the pandemic. So with their 2 year anniversary approaching, we were pleased to help these two love birds reunite and celebrate over a beautiful weekend in Austin, TX.
Meet Me In The Middle was not only a huge success in the eyes of the viewers, but also for our cast. We promised to curate a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we delivered! We couldn't have been luckier with the couples we found for this series, and it was a true honor to not only reconnect them in person, but to tell their story.
SPOILER ALERT: We could have never predicted or planned this, but at the end of the first shoot, Amanda decided to change her return flight back to NY and fly to Hawaii instead with Roger to meet her sister-in-law and nephews. This brought tears to our eyes!
As for the viewers at home who vicariously enjoyed the places and cities our cast visited, they connected with the content very much!
Video for Meet Me In The Middle
- 110k views
- 222% more total views than average performance on Travel & Leisure’s Youtube channel
- 1,500 total watch hours