The Future of the Travel Blog

The Future of the Travel Blog

Here are some predictions for the future of the travel blog from October 2008.

Pam Mandel is a freelance writer and photographer. She’s written guidebooks for Thomas Cook and stories for National Public Radio’s WGBH Boston, MSN, World Hum, Scanorama (Scandanavian Air’s inflight mag), and posts about travel and travelblogging for BlogHer, the women’s blogging network. Her last big trip was to Cambodia and Vietnam, her last small trip was to a small organic farm in Fall City, Washington and her next trip? Maybe Panama, in December. She blogs at www.nerdseyeview.com.

Pam’s prediction - I have some sense of what this might be, but it’s just an idea…One is that the larger entities will see the value of adding active bloggers to their sites. Sites like Expedia and Travelocity offer comprehensive booking engines, but no more than marketing jargon about what those places are really like. Bloggers do a great job of making places real, and what better way to promote a destination? The other is that PR/marketing agencies will see that travelbloggers have the same value as traditional media journalists. There’s movement in this direction already – I think we’ll be seeing more of that. I hope we’ll continue to be surprised by the amazing writing happening by bloggers and that we’ll find more ways to recognize that.

Sam Daams is one of the sibling co-founders of Travellerspoint, an active online travel community started before social networking was considered so hip and cool. Raised in the Solomon Islands and with Dutch and American blood flowing through his veins it comes as no surprise that he is now living in Norway. When he is not trying to persuade his family to pack up and travel with him, he spends his days and nights dabbling in web development, design and running travel businesses. Travellerspoint hosts over 12500 travel blogs and is the only travel blog site that allows users to customize the look and feel of their travel blog, while tying in 3rd party features like Google Analytics and Twitter for users benefit.

Sam’s prediction – I predict we’re going to see a lot of travel blogs being closed down going forward. Both small travel blog sites run by one or two people in their spare time and big ‘aggregator type’ travel blog sites where everyone can start a blog. To be fair, this isn’t my prediction for just the travel industry, but the blogging industry as a whole. With some of the changes Google has pushed through it’s going to be harder and harder for small bloggers to make even a small amount of their blogs. The larger sites are going to have to adapt to a different financial reality for the next 2 to 3 years, which will mean both sites closing down and mergers leaving the strongest intact. Many will be hit with the same problem smaller bloggers face of advertising not generating what they had expected in advance to launching. Whereas small blogs with passionate, independent writers doing the work as part of a ‘labour of love’ have the benefit of not requiring a certain return to cover their time, bigger blog sites with investors do require a return and are likely to be closing down first.

Hi, I’m Sean O’Neill, senior editor of BudgetTravel.com, the website of Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine. We started our blog, This Just In , in April 2007, and our magazine’s editors and top freelancers regularly post newsy, practical tips, along with trip ideas.

Sean’s prediction – I think travel blogs will become even more niche and specialized by topic, with more video and audio and social media. WineLibraryTV.com is a model. I also expect that as travel magazines look to make their websites more dynamic, they’ll copy what nymag.com and theatlantic.com have done and make blogs more prominent on their homepages.

Marketing director Tamara Heber-Percy is co-founder of Mr & Mrs Smith, which specialises in boutique and luxury hotels. She graduated from Oxford with a degree in languages, then left the UK for a year in Brazil, where she launched a new energy drink. Since then, she has worked as a marketing consultant for international brands such as Ericsson, Honda, Unilever and Swissair in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She left the corporate world in 2002 to head up her own company The County Register – an exclusive introductions agency – and to launch Mr & Mrs Smith. Since then she has visited over 700 hotels around the world and written about her good-time hunting expeditions in the Smith Travel Blog.

Tara’s prediction - I believe that travel blogs will form an ever increasing part of the travel/holiday purchase cycle, from the very start of the research phase but also whilst on the holiday itself both finding out about the local area and reporting back to friends and family through your own blog.

My prediction – The Europe a la Carte Travel Blog will become the most popular travel blog in the world (only joking but we’ve all got to set goals).

The Future of the Travel Blog

26 thoughts on “The Future of the Travel Blog

  1. Andy Hayes

    Excellent – I am so excited, a star-studded lineup!

    Mrs and Mrs Smith is a fabulous site, I’ve made many a satisfactory booking with them and their content is soooo good. Looking to hear more from Tara.

  2. Karen Bryan

    Nancy – Current UK time is one hour in advance of Greenwich Mean Time.so I think that’s 12 noon in CA, all these time zones and daylight saving times are really confusing, hope you can make it.

    Andy- hope you can come along and contribute to the discussion. Yes, it’ s a great panel.

    Anna, you can read the transcript of the live blog from a link in that post after the blog, sorry you can’t make it and hope you’re on your way somewhere exciting.

  3. Anna Etmanska

    Hi Karen,
    I’ll be on my way to get me officially established in my “new” homeland. But in the evening I should be already in Gdansk, and if I can find an internet connection, I’ll be with you guys! I wouldn’t miss it for the world! :)

  4. Anna

    Hi Karen
    I am very new to the world of travel blogging and blogging in general actually. Have just discovered your blog and find it a very good & interesting read. I hope you don’t mind if I join you tonight?
    Thanks
    Anna

  5. Karen Bryan

    Of course you are welcome Anna, the live discussion is open to everyone interested in travel blogs, whether experienced or new bloggers and readers of travel blogs.

    You might like to join the travel bloggers forum at Nerds Eye View which has a section for newbie bloggers to ask questions.
    http://www.nerdseyeview.com/forum

  6. Anna

    Thanks, looking forward to it.
    The forum is extremely useful – there’s a lot to learn and it’s nice to find a place where I can ask all of my stupid questions!

  7. susan

    Looking forward to joining- what a great panel!

    Regarding timing, I have found that time and date.com is really useful. If you go to http://www.timeanddate.com/ you can click “convert” on the first page and it does the work for you. From here I found that it is 12:00PM PST and 3:00PM EST.

  8. Pingback: this week’s travel finds: the future of the travel blog « transient travels

  9. pam

    Karen, thanks again for hosting. So many interesting ideas and smart minds, so little time! It sure would be great to get in a room somewhere with all of those travel brainiacs and do this again, only in person.

  10. Karen Bryan

    Pam, a pleasure. I was having trouble keeping up with the discussion while moderating. I had a quick look through transcript this morning as I needed to correct my typing errors but plan to do more thorough analysis soon.

    Wouldn’t it be great to a day face to face brain storming?

  11. Tamara

    Karen
    Thanks for organising last night – was great to chat to people who have a passion for travel blogging. looking forward to your summary.

  12. Karen Bryan

    Tamara, thanks for being on the panel. It was a fitting way to celebrate the 2nd birthday of the Europe a la Carte Blog or “interactive online travel magazine” as you’ve always got to keep looking to the future.

  13. Sam

    Thanks for having me yesterday Karen! I know what you mean about keeping up with the discussion. I was often answering someone’s question/comment 10 ‘posts’ earlier, which I think led to some confusion. But very interesting to discuss with fellow travel site owners/managers!

  14. Anna

    Hi Karen
    just wanted to say thanks again for last nights discussion, was so useful. Such a lot to think about, am still digesting it all!
    I have signed up to the Travel Rants Blog Camp, so maybe see you there?
    Thanks again
    Anna

  15. Karen Bryan

    Sam – yes I’m trying to think of ways to overcome the confusion, I suppose a start would be for everyone to type in the name of the person who made comment/asked question to which they are referring at start of their reply?

    Anna – you will see me at Travel Rants Blog Camp as I’ll be one of the speakers there.

  16. Peter Scott

    Hello Karen,

    I though last night’s discussion was really useful. I will do my best to make the beginning of next time’s event! The panellists were extremely expert and charming!

    Peter

  17. Karen Bryan

    Peter glad you could make it, it’s really hard to find a time that suits everyone. Yes the panel were on the ball and very well behaved and polite, agreeing to differ. Would a bit of slanging match made for better “entertainment”, joking we don’t want that sort of thing on Europe a la Carte BUT then they do say no publicity is bad publicity?

  18. Miss Expatria

    I can’t believe I only found out about this now. This was a fascinating discussion, and I didn’t even know you could keep it like that for viewing later! I’m such a dilettante. Anyway, I disagree with SO MUCH that was said, and it gave me a great deal of food for thought and helped me to solidify my own opinions! Thanks!

  19. Happy Hotelier

    Karen

    Congrats with this result and with your 2 yr celebration of course.
    Unfortunately I was tied up in other matters. Will try to attend another live chat if possible.

    Cheers

    Guido

  20. Karen Bryan

    Thanks Guido, it’s a pity you couldn’t make it to live blog, hopefully next time.

    See you at Darren’s Travel Blog Camp in London on 11 November.

  21. Pingback: The Future of the Travel Blog Presentation, Travel Blog Camp, London 11 November 2008 « Europe a la Carte Blog

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