Reasons Why the Travel Industry Needs to Work with Travel Bloggers
I’ve been publishing online travel content for almost two decades now, and believe it or not, I’ve witnessed the evolution of Online Publishing / Social Media and seen how integral it has become in promoting travel-related products. When I was first starting out as a Travel Blogger, I was rarely recognized and sometimes completely ignored during travel-related events. But now, that has all totally changed.
Since tourism-related events are now being covered by Travel Bloggers from across the globe, travel companies have caught on and have begun to offer us familiarization tours, invites to inaugural flights and hotel review offers. Now that Travel Bloggers are recognized as the new “Movers of Tourism”, it’s ever more important that the Travel Industry work closer with Travel Bloggers in order to reach new potential customers.
1. Blog Reviews and Features are trusted by consumers;
Gone are the days when you can just go to the library, borrow magazines and get brochures from travel establishments to get an idea about a specific establishment or travel destination. I noticed that most of the keywords used by my readers to reach my blog actually contain the word “blog” in them, for example, “Manila hotel blog reviews”, “AirAsia sale blogs”, “Jomalig Island blog post”. This points to an important increasing trend: that people prefer to read blogs when they need travel-related info.
2. Compared to traditional travel reviews, Blog Reviews are focused more on the travel bloggers’ personal experiences and how they can help their readers.
More and more blog readers agree that bloggers offer an authentic voice, which can be a deciding factor in tourism-related choices. What about sponsored trips? The good thing about blogs is that they are not regulated and bloggers are not really obligated to write good things about a specific travel related company even if they are sponsored. Unlike its traditional counterpart, travel blogs have less travel related advertorials and sponsored trips, and their content is mostly based on out of pocket trips.
3. Travel Bloggers are now influential movers of the Travel Industry.
I must admit, I’m a bit camera shy, so I rarely accept invitations to appear on TV to give talks about travel and tourism related topics. My shyness aside, what I’m really trying to point out here is the noticeable increase in travel bloggers’ appearances on travel-related shows or talk shows with travel-related topics or segments. This can only mean one thing: that Travel Bloggers are now influential movers of the industry and we are here to stay!
4. Getting Featured on Top Travel Blogs has long term benefits.
While travel magazines are still one of the best sources of travel-related content, the power of popular travel blogs cannot be underestimated. The number of Internet users worldwide is increasing daily, and being internet-based, Travel Blogs potentially have the widest reach in terms of circulation. In the Philippines alone, a lot of destinations have become popular because of travel blogs, Caramoan, Jomalig Island, Anawangin Cove, and Cagbalete Island to name a few. Because of their presence in travel blogs, these destinations are now popular among tourists, and a source of continued employment for locals.
5. Technorati’s Digital Influence Report states that blogs are among the top five sources of trustworthy information.
Though blogs and influencers don’t receive a large portion of brands’ digital budget, they rank high with consumers for trust, popularity and influence. When making overall purchase decisions, for consumers, blogs trail only behind retail and brand sites. Indeed, according to consumers, blogs are more influential in shaping opinions than Twitter, and when it comes to affecting purchase decisions, and more important than Facebook. – Technorati
6. Travel Bloggers can offer personal insights about a specific tourism related product.
Since each Travel Blog has its own set of readers and targets a specific niche, e.g., itineraries, travel tales, hotel reviews, backpacking tips and travel magazines. Although some travel blogs offer content for specific types of travelers, their travel tips, “how to” and “where to” guides are still based on personal experience. Based on my personal survey, a complete destination travel guide and travel itineraries are among the most well read topics in the local blogosphere. Aside from gaining the personal point of view of the blogger, blogs are also interactive through the presence of the comment section, and best of all, blog posts can easily go viral with the use of social media share buttons.
7. Consumers rarely read Corporate Blogs –
“We are not yet open to blog reviews because we have one of our own”. This was the worst answer I got from a Marketing Manager of a hotel after I sent them a blog review proposal. I rarely send hotel review proposals unless I plan to extend my stay in that destination, and want to maximize my experience by reviewing hotels in the area. So what’s the difference between a corporate blog and an independent travel blog? People will read corporate blogs for updates, promos and special announcements but not for recommendations. Before I book a hotel, I read blog posts about the hotel and Agoda hotel reviews, just like everyone else.
8. Influential Blogs can boost your brand via viral Word of Mouth Marketing
Which, with the evolution of Social Media, has become 1 million times faster than before. Well-trusted and well-read travel blogs have thousands of subscribers, Facebook fans, Twitter, Instagram followers and search engine traffic. In essence, getting featured in local and international travel blogs can help travel-related companies to get more, crucial, online exposure.
Published on: Feb 1, 2014
Updated: October 8, 2016