Friday, October 31, 2014

Travel Bloggers: New Media Strikes Again!

We all know the world is changing. Newspapers get thinner and thinner. Magazines disappear entirely. Five years ago the smartphone appeared. Three years ago, the tablets arrived and took over.  Most industries, except for education, the one that I'm in, get rapidly reinvented.   Through a persona connection, I just got a close-up view at another industry being turned on its head.  Travel.

Back in the day, the focal point of much travel industry marketing were travel agents and travel writers for magazines and newspapers and the travel guidebooks The resorts, hotels, cruise lines, restaurants, and travel promotion groups all had programs for hosting and encouraging this industry to pay attention to them and direct some travel and attention their way.

The wave of the future turns out to include Travel Bloggers. Hundreds, even thousands, of individuals have taken to the web to document their voyages and it turns out, this is now a key part of the marketing strategy for many companies.  And for travelers, having a widely read and followed blog and smart marketing are the key to many subsidized trips and meals.

Why do I know this? I know this because my wife is a travel blogger. Here's a few of her posts:

Hotel Danieli - Best Breakfasts Ever

Arriving in Europe at the Crack of Dawn

I went with her recently to a Travel Blogging  Conference  called TBEX in Athens Greece. It had about a thousand attendees. On one side, they had brands who were looking for exposure to the travelling public. The big areas were Greece, Cancun, and Thailand, areas that had hosted or will host a TBEX conference soon. 

On the other side, there were the travel bloggers who were looking for some help with their traveling lifestyle in exchange for attention.  Of course, many bloggers are like journalist so asking for a review is always a little risky.  Careful what you ask for!

The conference itself dealt with facilitating this marketplace. They had a blogger bridge which set up a set of speed-dating meetings between bloggers and destinations.  They had sessions for bloggers teaching them to promote their blogs and develop larger audiences. These focused on the mechanics of social media, on developing each blogger's brand, and on picking a positioning.  I didn't see any sessions on writing in ways that would both entertain and educate their audience but then, I only attended a fraction of the sessions.  Click her for more info on the  TBEX Travel Bloggers Conference.

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