5 years ago

Win a job! Go on a trip of a lifetime (unless you are a travel blogger)

Are you bored in your job? Looking for a new challenge!? How about come and work for us for a few months, probably unpaid, but will send you on a trip of a lifetime.

Or so the marketing spiel says…

More and more travel brands and DMOs are running competitions to win a dream job. Here is a recent selection:

Active now:

Viatorglobal tours and activities OTA

  • “Your dream travel job”
  • Looking for four people to shoot video in top cities across Europe and North America
  • Videographers will travel in teams of two. Each team will visit roughly 20 cities in 60 days
  • Winners will be provided with equipment, the cost of travel to/from the destination and upto 15,000 USD travel expenses.
  • Videos will be uploaded (to Viator’s Facebook page) and users will vote. Winning team (pair) will win 10,000 USD.
  • Full information

2. EnjoyEngland national DMO

  • “Fan in a van”
  • 70 day all expenses paid trip, in a camper van, around England
  • Full information
3. TourismRichmond – regional DMO
  • “365 days of dining”
  • Food blogger has to embark on a 365 days of dining at 365 different restaurants (from a choice of 800)
  • One year contract – salary $50,000, apartment and living compensation
  • IMPORTANTLY – job also includes one year membership to a local fitness centre
  • Facebook page and announcement release

4. Urban Adventures – day tour operator

  • “London Gold”
  • Run their London day tour operation for the rest of 2012 and keep the profits you earn (!)
  • You will be managing tour guides, running tours, co-ordinating the business side of things, managing the schedule and running your own tour
  • Full information
But what probably sparked this meme was the Tourism Queensland “Best job in the world” campaign won by UK’s Ben Southall. Tnooz coverage.

Are there alternatives for brands to consider?

What about employing the services of a travel blogger – these are people who have an audience, have technical skills (audience engagement, photography, video, seo optimisation*).

Travel bloggers are crying out for opportunities to travel, write and engage on someone else’s dime. This should be right up their street so why are brands going for regular folk over travel bloggers?

Perhaps it comes down to ownership of IP – for example Viator states in its competition terms:

“Viator will own all intellectual property in reports, diaries, blogs, photos, videos and other material created, produced or authored by you during the course of the Travel Stage.”

Maybe existing travel bloggers can’t stomach that particular condition and regular folk can.

[NB: * Don’t mention to travel bloggers that you hope their work will improve your SEO rankings – that is Omerta].

Or what about travel writers?

In 2010 travel writer Lara Dunston and partner Terence Carter worked with HomeAwayUK for a grand tour of the world, under the brand GranTourismo.

One objective was to promote holiday rentals as an alternative to hotels. They stayed in 36 holiday rentals over the course of the year. Lara wrote about her experiences with this new model for Tnooz.

Will we see more “win a job” competitions or will employing travel bloggers become the dominant solution for low cost, social media friendly, coverage and media production?

Or will quality count – and travel writers make a come back?

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Alex Bainbridge

About the Writer :: Alex Bainbridge

Alex is a contributor to tnooz and writes about travel technology, travel startups, in destination guides and the tours & activities sector.

His most recent business TourCMS (sold October 2015) was the original leader in tours & activities distribution, connecting up hundreds of local tour suppliers with leading online travel agents. The industry architecture he put in place during that period is now the regular approach adopted globally by the entire local tour industry.

He is now CEO of a new in destination project coming soon.

Alex has a computing degree, is passionate about usability, speaks French and still writes and reviews code. Follow him on twitter @alexbainbridge



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  3. getpalmd

    If you want to fill up the list with a few more similar “win a job” opportunities currently active, you might find a few interesting here:


    Interesting post you had here however – and interesting comments as well. I see these kind of opportunities as a way for companies to get relevant quality content for their online channels, while the traveler in return gets great experiences. I assume very few applicants do it with money in mind, some opportunities include salaries yes, but basically it’s the free trip and the exposure most are interested in, right? If you get to work with a well-known brand that has a big follower network that is a) valuable info in your CV if you work with social media and also want to work with similar things in future and b) an opportunity for you to get more followers for your personal accounts.

    However of course things like “Viator will own all intellectual property in reports, diaries, blogs, photos, videos and other material created, produced or authored by you during the course of the Travel Stage.” are a turn off for any writer or photographer out there. I would be happy to provide material to any company I work with and they would be free to use it in their marketing (if they give credit to me as the photographer, obviously), but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want to publish other material from that trip in my personal online channels as well (for SEO purpose of course not exactly the same articles published in two different places, but if you do unique content for different websites). Wouldn’t it be good to promote the content and trip on as many sites as possible, after all? If I write one thing in my personal blog, and link to the company blog with the words “I wrote an article here about that” and vice versa, this should mean increased traffic for both parts. Win win?

  4. Gary Arndt

    I have a pretty firm policy of never entering contests like these. If someone wants to work with me, they can contact me. I’m not going to jump through hoops to get a chance at something.

    I think any blogger worth their salt would avoid these contests for reasons of professionalism. They are orientated towards amateurs and consumers. Entering crap shoots like these is not professional.

  5. Tony Carne

    Hi Alex,

    Interesting article and thanks for the mention of the Urban Adventures campaign. From our end, our London campaign was about finding a solution for our London business. Until now we had kept the London business within our group and run ourselves to keep a real perspective on the way the business operates at the ground level and to refine best practice methods to seed throughout the rest of the network.

    We could have run an expression of interest campaign as we normally do in new destinations but as an existing business with strong distribution, in an Olympic City and Jubilee year we felt we had a compelling offer for someone looking to take the next step in their travel career. If we can also get some nice linking, PR and social buzz happening then that is a good bonus to have as well.

    We certainly weren’t against bloggers applying. The opposite in fact. We work with a large number of bloggers through this program: http://indietravelmedia.com/advertising-opportunity/urban-adventures-affiliate-program/ and we made sure we got the word out to them to apply if they had intentions of being in London this summer (and preferably beyond).

    Most bloggers want to find a way to make a living out of travel without being tied to a desk. We felt our opportunity offered that albeit in a different format to what most bloggers would have at the forefront of their mind. If they were passionate about travel and knowledgeable about London, they were in with a shot.

    We were happy with the execution of our campaign and ended up with 3 cracking individuals to choose between for the business (including one blogger). We have just confirmed a Blue Badge guide Paul Fitzjohn will be heading up the business in 2012. As promised Paul will receive a wage for his guiding and management work and keep all the profits generated through direct local sales and via http://www.londonurbanadventures.com (!)

    We are really happy to have achieved all our aims with this campaign.

  6. Eileen Ludwig

    I believe a lot of people like Interns for the Cheap pay – even Disney has used them for decades instead of paying normal pay and benefits – Travel Writers and bloggers are less likely to turn over the copywrite of their work and photos – so they are a work for hire type deal where they own you because they give you a small stipend. It it works for people – go for it.

    There are plenty of legit opportunities for Travel writers / bloggers to pursue instead

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  8. Dave

    I can’t help but strain to recall some random tourism promotions in the past and how they targeted the general public and not “travel industry” people, or in the case of this article travel bloggers.

    While one can argue that a slew of travel blogger readerships has the potential to reach many. I’m inclined to think a viral public campaign would slaughter them in terms of actual ROI.

    In terms of your Omerta that’s spot on. The value of SEO titles re a circle of travel bloggers blasting out content between themselves and socially is value in itself.

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  10. Scott McNeely

    I want to comment on the motivations of a company like Viator (full disclosure: I’m the VP Product at Viator and my team is managing the “Dream Travel Job” contest mentioned above – http://www.facebook.com/ViatorTours/app_231648603585155 and http://winyourdreamtraveljob.com/).

    First off, why are we hosting this contest? Easy answer – we want to build our library of high-quality video content. For the past 10 months we’ve been creating videos (over 200 of them, generating 1+ million views on our YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/viatortravel). But it’s been ad hoc, using freelancers and staff and friends and bloggers — very successful, but as you might imagine, the quality is uneven and the production schedule has been difficult to predict.

    So we decided that finding experienced videographers makes more sense. Sure, we could simply hire a few teams and send them around the world. But we opted to go the contest route. It’s more fun, more interesting, more newsworthy — and it given us an amazing collection of videographers to chose from. Have a look at some of the videos submitted — we’ve been overwhelmed by the quality, passion and enthusiasm of our aspiring videographers. These are people who love travel, love videography, and see our contest as an amazing career opportunity. Cynics need not apply.

    We’re covering up to US$15,000 in expenses for the 2 months of travel, as well as providing video gear, roundtrip airfares and major intra-region travel. This means our video project is not inexpensive. But we’re looking for high-quality video from groups of committed, excited and dependable people. We don’t want to be penny-wise and pound foolish.

    There’s nothing cynical about this. Just the opposite — this is the sort of contest I wish existed when I was in my 20s and traveling the world with a backpack!

    And that’s really my over-arching point here: you can’t go wrong creating a contest that your younger, wanderlusting self would have been excited about. That’s what we’ve done at Viator and so far the positive response has far exceeded our expectations.

    -Scott McNeely

    • Alex Bainbridge

      Thanks Scott for your reply and extra detail

      “this is the sort of contest I wish existed when I was in my 20s and traveling the world with a backpack” << YES!

      Although of course when I went travelling I wrote a travel journal (offline) – and 100% own the IP to that….. if I did the same thing on this trip, you would own the rights to my offline journal…… due to the IP T&Cs you have implemented.

      As you really just wanted the video (I think) why didn't you restrict it so that only video content produced by travellers during the trip was going to, by default, be owned by Viator….

      Perhaps its just me who reads T&Cs though 😉

      • Scott McNeely

        Hi Alex.

        To your question “As you really just wanted the video (I think) why didn’t you restrict it so that only video content produced by travellers during the trip was going to, by default, be owned by Viator….”

        Yes for sure, we want video.

        In an industry – and world – increasingly influenced by social media, we also plan to publish ‘on the road’ and ‘behind the scenes’ posts from our videographers across a range of media (video, blog, photos, etc). So we incorporate all media types into our contest rules.

        I, too, encourage people to read T&Cs, and I recommend starting with Facebook… (“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook…”)

        In other words, an entire generation a digital-savvy travelers has come of age knowing they give up some control when posting via their social networks. Some of us old enough to remember the world pre-Facebook may wish it were otherwise, but the reality is that Facebook (and social media in general) has changed the expectations of what people own and share. I’d argue this is the new “default” and simply the price of admission to any contest or activity that lives in the social sphere.

        That said, we’d happily exclude somebody’s personal paper-bound diary from our contest rules. If that’s all stopping you from applying to our contest, Alex, just let me know – we’ll make an exception in your case. 🙂


        • Alex Bainbridge

          Hi Scott

          Yeah – there are some funny IP clauses like you mention from Facebook……. although the objective of those clauses is so that Facebook can use 3rd party content delivery networks, caching services and other tools necessary to create a worldwide scalable service…… so by taking NON EXCLUSIVE IP rights, they can they move those images / videos around to services of their choice – without fear that an end user who uploaded the image to Facebook says – OI – why is my image doing hosted over there?

          Not sure its because they want to actually OWN the images !!

          OK – right, let me see when I can take 3 months off….. ha! Chance would be a fine thing!!!

          Do come back at the end of the year and I am sure we on Tnooz will love to write up how the campaign went…..


  11. Troy Thompson

    Hey Alex,

    Good read. I think you are on the right track when it comes to answering the question of why more travel bloggers don’t get this work.

    I would also add that for most DMOs…speaking from experience…these contests help do two things: 1. Build up their email database (via contest entries) and 2. Provide ‘social’ content.

    Now, whether or not DMOs are actually adept at utilizing these benefits is another question.

    But, it makes that regular ole’ contest seem a bit more ‘social’. And everyone likes that, right?

    Except travel bloggers.

    – Troy

  12. Cris

    “probably unpaid”. You guys must be kidding… it looks like a very nice way to take advantage of some dumb people.

  13. Stuart Lodge

    Hmmm that last paragraph might get a few comments. Easter & rainy weather…. I’m thinking 47…

    Chatted to a blogger recently asking why she had applied for the Easyjet Southend to Barca competition. She told me that it seemed a fair swap ie a flight for a few posts and would inprove her photographic skills. Not sure I agree but see that when you’re starting out you take all the breaks you can get.

    Personally I like this competition from World Nomads, Travelfish, and Rough Guides. Basically it’s not link-bait, not a con, and has some good people who care about travel, and especially Asia, behind it. And it’s a pretty good prize.


    May your Easter Eggs be plentiful

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @stuart – yes, like the World Nomads idea a lot – the way it has approached a number of projects, in fact, such as its charitable efforts, seem a lot more robust than some other initiatives…

  14. Valyn Perini

    Call me cynical, but this just seems like a play on the part of travel companies looking for good content on the cheap, although the Tourism Richmond job is a bit of an outlier. But Alicia might be right – perhaps these contests aren’t about content but about traffic. Whichever, travel writers and travel bloggers should be wary.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @valyn – i don’t think suddenly working with a load of bloggers is going to get brands a heap of traffic either. It’s just links, as Alex hinted at above.

  15. Matthew Barker

    An interesting article. The wider trend I think is that travel businesses are waking up to the value of “content generation” as a major element of their online marketing strategy, which suddenly makes professional travel writers of all shapes and sizes important players. Content has long been the poor cousin of online marketing when compared to PPC, SEO and other big money channels, but I think that will change very quickly when people realise the important of quality content in making things like social media and personalised search work effectively.

  16. Alicia

    Interesting points. I do believe however that marketers are targeting ‘non-travel bloggers’ simply for the fact that they will get more entries (and data). Most Marketers run contests to grow their database in hopes that they gain new fans, e-newsletter opt-ins, etc no?

    The smarter companies are hiring travel bloggers to assist with other assets (launching blogs, promoting contests, events etc). I’m a big advocate of paying travel bloggers for their skills (and not just their reach) as some of them are gifted in being able to tell a story in different mediums and are some of the best people to engage an audience.

    I’ve recently discovered a PR type agency here in Canada called Think! Social Media which works closely with travel brands and bloggers. I’m hoping to see more of this going forward to help bridge the disconnect.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @alicia – yes, Think! Social Media is an interesting agency.

      We wrote about its project for the Super Bowl (https://www.tnooz.com/2011/02/06/news/how-a-tourism-board-made-a-social-media-hit-out-of-the-super-bowl/) and a guest post from one of its staffers, william Bakker (https://www.tnooz.com/2012/01/12/news/why-travel-brands-should-ignore-the-haters-and-move-the-mehs-to-love-its/).

      it has a refreshing approach to outreach in many areas, not just bloggers, etc.

      To your other point, I’m not at all convinced about the supposed “reach” of bloggers. Far too much noise is placed on Twitter numbers and also those silly tweetchat things :).

    • James Capon

      You’re quite right Alicia;
      At Gap Daemon, we run contests to create awareness of our (relatively) new site and extend our database.
      But we recently ran a Travelling Interns programme where we supplemented the spending money of independent travellers and gap year students to the tune of £1,000 over 100 days. We got great content from them – photos, written material etc. and as our site is not set up for die-hard travel bloggers, we were very happy with the quality of that work.
      Having said that, we are missing a trick in not doing more to attract and pay for content from bloggers. We’ve used some contributions and I know how good their material can be – my post-Easter resolution!


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