You can read the transcript of the live online discussion, “The Future of the Travel Blog” below.
Here are the panelists bios and their predictions for the future of the travel blog emailed to me before the live blog took place. A big thank you to the panelists and guests for their contribution to the discussion.
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 started the Travelblogger’s Forum about two months ago and 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.
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 online travel magazine will become the most popular travel blog in the world (only joking but we’ve all got to set goals).