Trying to move beyond the divas, rookies and misconceptions of travel blogging

It’s reasonably fair to say that the industry has always had mixed emotions when it comes to the world of travel blogging.

Some brands have seen good results from working with individuals or groups of bloggers, whilst others have questioned whether their investment would simply be better off ploughed back into instantly measurable digital marketing.

But travel blogging has evolved as a discipline in recent years – indeed, many like to call themselves “influencers” nowadays, a term that perhaps better encapsulates what they’re trying to do: influence pockets of travellers (it’s no longer a scale game) to visit a destination, stay in a hotel or take part in a particular activity.

To try and understand how the industry feels about these influencers and how effective they may (or may not) be, blogger network Green Travel Media spoke to a string of brands covering the hotel, airline, tourism organisation and tour sectors in the industry, as well as PR agencies.

The results are listed below:

In the past 12 months, how often have you worked with bloggers?

travel blogging 1

Do you anticipate that you’ll work with bloggers more frequently in the coming year?

travel blogging 2

How do you find bloggers to work with on a given campaign?

travel blogging 3

On a scale of 1-10, how important are these statistics when choosing bloggers to work with?

travel blogging 4

On a scale of 1-10, how important are these intangible elements when choosing bloggers?

travel blogging 5

Which of the following services have you paid bloggers for in the last year?

travel blogging 6

What percentage of your marketing budget is earmarked for working with bloggers?

travel blogging 7

Bret Love of Green Travel Media says there are some trends can be taken from the results when analysing how the industry felt three years ago.

For example, there is generally more activity and most brands expect that to continue and increase going forward.

More companies willing to get involved but budget constraints are a problem, Love says.

But a significant shift is how “authenticity, authority and professionalism” are now considered to be “just as important as traffic”.

Presumably, the grey area of social media reach is no longer a key metric from which to create a blogger relationship.

Love concludes:

“The problem for bloggers is that, with thousands of new people entering the field each year, there’s ever-increasing competition for a relatively small pool of paid projects.

“The question is, why isn’t the $7.6 trillion a year travel industry investing more in influencers?”

NB: More on Green Travel Media.

NB2: Travel blogging image via BigStock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.

 

Comments

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  1. Alex Horoshkevich

    I think for now blogging market over saturated. Case study:
    A few months ago, while working in small guest house in Maldives and got request from blogger. He wanted to stay free and etc. for exchange he post a review about island including our guest house. He did it in very good way. But what next? Have we got a lot of new bookings? Absolutely not! Average number of bookings didn’t change at all. Maybe its just one case and don’t represent whole situation.

     
  2. Dror Tirosh

    We have been using social media influencers/bloggers for the last few years to different degrees of success.
    We usually look for ones who can create the type of content we cannot create in-house, that have a lot of followers and good quality of previous works, the ones that approach us with fewer followers than our brand has do not usually interest us (being a hostel brand we get approached by travellers, with very little experience and only a few 100s to 1000s of followers).

    I want to pose a question to brands who use social media influencers, do you have a team for creating social media that work throughout the year for your brand? or is it just a mix of one-offs from bloggers?

     
  3. Mo Bookings

    Saying “More companies willing to get involved but budget constraints are a problem,” means these companies’ problem is entirely different from what they’re saying. Their real problem is they can’t measure or see the ROI on bloggers. If they knew $1 spent would bring $2 in, they wouldn’t be saying this. That’s the travel bloggers’ challenge to address, and honestly most of them (not all!) can’t because they don’t deliver.

     
  4. Jared Alster

    I’ve worked with numerous travel bloggers over the past 7 years or so and almost always had positive results. I consider some top travel bloggers personal friends. But this is troublesome data in my opinion. The fact that ‘social media followers’ is the 2nd most important benchmark when choosing who to work with means brands are barely scratching the surface. And references from other brands matter the least? Almost anyone can build up social media ‘followers’ these days but engagement is another thing entirely. Marketing staff at travel companies need to look below the surface of the media kit to dig into the metrics that matter – engagement, reputation, and demographic fit. This benefits both parties – brand and blogger. Too many people think they can just start a travel blog, get a decent social following and make a living. As most bloggers will tell you, that’s a bunch of BS and it takes years of hard work to retain a truly engaged audience. The better brands get at selecting what bloggers to work with, the more quality partnerships will be developed between brand and blogger.

     
  5. Mike (NomadicTexan) Hinshaw

    Kevin,
    What a great article. As one of the older bloggers (age wise) in the industry, I am tickled to see such a positive position taken by the various sectors of the industry. When I started, you could count the highly compensated bloggers /influencers on one hand almost. That number has significantly increased, I’m happy to say. Kudos to Bret for gathering these results and performing the legwork. I came from a billion dollar retail company and it was a dog eat dog world. Thankfully in my mature years I am in a more friendly industry willing to share and help each other out, most of the time. I only wish I had recognized the potential at an earlier age. Thank you kindly young man for publishing this valuable data.

     
  6. Ryan Biddulph

    Seems like more travel bloggers are diving into the niche for the right reasons Kevin, sharing value and making friends. This helps us land more paid jobs 😉

    Ryan

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @ryan – no worried about how many friends you make 😉 , but sharing value about a travel destination or product can only be a good thing.

       
 
 

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