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

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, 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. is a model. I also expect that as travel magazines look to make their websites more dynamic, they’ll copy what and 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).