Published on : Thursday, February 14, 2013
The growing importance of travel bloggers as “valuable independent voices” writing about destinations and other tourism topics cannot be ignored, said Debbie Hindle, managing director of London-based agency Four bgb, at the Pisa forum.
One of the world’s leading travel bloggers, Keith Jenkins, founder of Velvet Escape, which is read in more than 150 countries every month, explained to forum participants that travel bloggers should be seen as ‘entrepreneurs’ taking advantage of information technology to create a career that is based on their interests in travel, writing and/or video and photography.
These 21st century travel writers are online personalities with multiple skills who are often specialists or experts in niche topics, he pointed out. “This is a new world that is growing very rapidly,” he declared.
The travel industry could work with bloggers to generate publicity and benefit from very detailed multimedia content that “has a long shelf-life and is searchable due to its online character”, Jenkins commented.
In particular, bloggers cultivate trust by interacting with their readers/followers via social media, making recommendations, based on their personal experiences and views. “Bloggers influence travellers’ decision-making with opinions, facts and pictures,” he emphasised.
Jenkins admitted there was a debate over the independence of bloggers but stressed they had very diverse views, including very critical and honest opinions. His company has just developed an ‘Online ROI Calculator’ enabling companies and organisations to calculate their return on investment from online articles, tweets on Twitter and other social media content.