SO, the final countdown to the BritMums blog conference is on and I am making a last ditch attempt to explain why my blog is in the list of finalists for a Brilliance in Blogging Travel award.
Everyone is still a little unclear about how best to use social media to their advantage and whether you are publishing a book, selling a product or promoting a holiday destination, reaching your target audience is key. With the rise of social media in general – blogging, Facebook, tweeting et al what has become increasingly important is the idea of the “I’ll Have What She’s Having” social behaviour – in other words, the “trusted voice”.
There are more than 200 million travel related blogs and counting. Our brave new cyberworld has given everyone a voice which has created a brilliant online “citizen” community. However, the disadvantage of this natural broadcast medium where everyone can shout as loud as they want, is that the noise can be deafening. So where does one turn when you require a more dense signal through the fray? How do we aim to separate signal from noise? Who do we truly listen to and who influences our behaviour from consideration to point of action?
A journalist, who writes for the Telegraph says “personally I think travel will go online (as everything is) and will probably split into “trusted friend” (i.e. blogger) and “expert” (i.e. the sort of guides which The Telegraph is now running). People will of course always want good travel advice but are becoming loathe to pay for it”.
I suspect that the areas that will do well in the future are those that can be trusted to give honest advice but can also add or offer value on a consistent basis. The travel industry, like the publishing and music industry is having to rapidly change and evolve to keep up with the times.
Amanda Balfour from Quo Hills Balfour, one of the UK’s leading travel PR agency says:-
“Social media is fundamentally changing the way travellers and tourists search, find, read and trust, While the web used to be the place to research holidays now it’s also the place to book, with a massive move towards online travel bookings all a result of an increase an in the independent travel voice. This makes the approach far more spontaneous and individual. It has become all about people travelling on the advice of like-minded people -to places which best fit their own profile – social media gives you that toned down experience to focus on exactly what you want, and that is why bloggers are becoming ever more important in the travel space. More and more people want personal advice, whether it be on a specific destination, hotel, a relevant restaurant, a favourite beach, festival, club or even cupcake shop. We are constantly searching for the trusted voice. We have gone back to being in a community only this time it is on a global scale”.
So. The answer is becoming increasingly clear.
Specialist boutique travel PR consultancy Hill & Dean says:
“We think there is definitely room for more good insightful travel blogs in the UK. The key is how they differentiate themselves from magazine websites and become a credible source of reference for consumers.”
So perhaps my niche market is going to be providing information on experiential, getting under the skin, access all areas, unusual adventures and cultural trips for people in my age bracket (25 – 93). In other words, the grown up Gap year (children welcome). Possibly including the sort of things my son has just done (see previous two posts) but maybe without a night in a holding cell and too many buckets. We definitely have to go tubing in Laos though and a boat trip round Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and shopping in Hong Kong and The Great Wall of China walk and, and, and….Perhaps we should kick off in South East Asia and then head over to South America in 2014 – ending in Brazil for the World Cup.
What do you think?
In addition of course there is the travel element of the future for our children and as a parent blogger it would be very remiss of me not to include them.
Thankfully the wonderful David Kean, CEO of QUO Global spells it out far more eloquently than I ever could:-
“I believe that if we teach our children to travel as much as they ever can, we will show them the glory of the unexpected; and the wonder of culture.
I think like many revolutions, the on-line, social media revolution has its value and has a place in the future of all travel. There is no doubt that travel is at the forefront of the digital age and will remain so. Will our children know their travel agent or an avatar that is the reincarnation of that being? Young children will look at a paper ticket (and very likely paper money) as archaic as a horse and carriage. Yet I believe with all this knowledge, man’s thirst for his own point of view will balance out this unnatural craving for everyone else’s opinions”.