Maximise Your Advertising Budget: It’s Time ...

Maximise Your Advertising Budget: It’s Time To Work With Travel Bloggers

Why do advertisers keep ignoring travel bloggers? I realised this when I am tapping hotels and restaurants for partnership. Most of them put my messages directly to ‘trash’ without even reading what I have to say. My colleagues in the travel blogging industry experience the same.

This happens because most companies think low of us. They don’t know what we can offer to the table. They don’t think we are really in the business. I worked with different brands who had their success through my help and I can speak for other travel bloggers who are also good at what they do. Mind you, they are really really really good. We are passionate about what we do and we don’t do this for the financial rewards. We really want to help you spread the word about your company.

TIPS TO COMPANIES: If you don’t like the proposal, have the decency to reply. We will understand if you are going to pass. Here’s a good example of a reply from a 5-star hotel in Costa Rica:

Dear Trisha,
Thank you for your interest in our property. I had the chance to briefly browse your blog and I really love what you are doing! However, we are currently on a low budget and could not give any complimentary stay at the moment. I look forward to working with you in the future!Sincerely,
Jane Doe
Marketing Manager, XXX Hotels

As soon as I received this message, I immediately know that ‘Jane Doe’ knows what she is doing — she was building a relationship with me. Although she did not have anything to offer, she was honest about it and did not ignore my request. What companies need to know is how to build a long-term relationship with bloggers. A “no” now doesn’t necessarily mean a “no” forever. She knew that at one point, she will be needing my help in her marketing endeavours.

Vicky of Vicky’s FlipFlop Travels is the first travel blogger who spoke about this situation. In her article, Blogging for Exposure vs What Magazines Get Paid For, she elaborated the reach of her blog vs the circulation of big publishers. Below are her findings:

Full page ad
Food and Travel
UK National Geographic
UK Conde Nast Traveller
Sunday Times Travel Magazine
Lonely Planet

Her blog has 59,269 monthly viewers and some companies expect for free advertisement. Is that fair to Vicky? Is that fair to many of us who are working out as* off everyday?


4 Reasons Why You Should Work With Travel Bloggers Now

1. Your budget will be maximised. In my recent press trip to Indonesia, I was very impressed how the Ministry of Tourism knew how to work with bloggers. A source said they have to pay millions just to put an ad for Wonderful Indonesia in a third party advertising. When they sponsored us for a free trip (40+ bloggers):

  • they did not spend that much money to accommodate us. But we still had a wonderful stay; and
  • their social media reach became wider as we were tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming real-time for the duration of the trip.

This is something we should all learn from the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia.

2. It’s 2015. Internet is the new trend and bloggers rule this department. Who else is reading magazines? Millenials have a very short attention span and they want something easy. As soon as they wake up, what’s the first thing they do? Check their phones for Instagram/Facebook notifications. After they get bored of being superficial, they will check the news feed and see the people they follow. Who do they follow? BLOGGERS.

3. Bloggers are real people. In relation to above, young people follow bloggers because they are real people. Sure, we are not celebrities but the majority of the internet audience wants something honest. They want to see the experiences real time because it makes them feel it is possible for them to do it too. While Lonely Planet is a good travel resource, they also get this from their writers which are who???? BLOGGERS. These experiences are not theirs.

4. Bloggers have more loyal following. Again, Lonely Planet can have millions of Facebook followers but which of them are loyal? Remember, loyal followers can be converted to consumers. When I started opening a travel course in the Philippines, I realised that all those who registered are regular readers of my blog. I was curious where the enrolees are coming from so I put “how did you find out about this course?” in the registration form. 95% answered “I am a blog reader!”

For example, I promoted a travel tote bag in one of my Instagram posts. If they bought my travel course for $58 USD (this is expensive in the Philippines), why won’t they buy the product I am promoting? On top of that, my readers know I will only promote a product I believe it because we’ve already established an online relationship.

However, I know your advertising fears. Yes, you, advertiser, I am talking to you. I know your doubts: “How will I know if this is the right blogger to work with?” “How far will my money go?” Not all travel bloggers know what they are doing but some of them are new — they will eventually get there.

Are you a Marketing Manager for a hotel/hostel, restaurant, travel agency, etc? Do you want to know how to maximise your advertising budget by working with travel bloggers? Leave your e-mail address below and you will hear from me soon!

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Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha also loves extremely spicy food, pineapples, plants and symmetry. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Follow her life adventures on Instagram: @psimonmyway

  1. Marie

    14 November

    I totally agree with you. Companies can have a wider advertisement if they have bloggers on their side. Social media is the fastest track where in people are up to date and follows. Aside from bloggers, I find it amusing that companies used celebrities too. They just give them free samples, have it advertised on IG, Twitter or FB, and boom, sales are coming up.

  2. Chris

    16 November

    Some good tips, however I’m not the biggest fan of people chasing free beds/flights/meals.

    I do believe that when this occurs, the reviews given are honest, however I am often skeptical that the experience is the same as any paying guest might enjoy (it makes good business sense to pamper the person who is going to review you, I don’t begrudge them that).

    My preference would be for relationships with companies to develop after the blogger has already tested the waters with their product or establishment in the same manner as anybody else in the general population…

    • Trisha Velarmino

      16 November

      True that, Chris! I don’t always give positive feedbacks and the companies know these. The agreement is to write a real review and it doesn’t matter if I liked the place or not. The point is being honest to the readers about the experience. When I disclose this to hotels, they still agree!

  3. Justine

    16 November

    I couldn’t agree more to this. I am saving it for future reference!

  4. Yes! This is perfect. Gonna share it on twitter. I think there’s still a lot of educating to be done, but traditional PR and marketing companies are starting to wake up to the value to be gained in working with bloggers. Can I link to this is a post I’m writing on the topic please?

  5. Cai Dominguez

    18 November

    Thank you trisha for this article. When I started blogging a year ago. I visualize that someday. All my hardworks will be paid off. That one day I will get that “perks” of being a travel blogger. Admittedly, its not easy as I thought it could be. I tried to pitch sometimes and didn’t get any reply. Made some follow up via email and phone call and yet I didn’t get anything. Then one time. There is this hotel that believes on me and believe on what I can do. I believe that us, bloggers needs to be patient too and should have a perfect timing whenever we ask for something. It’s truly a win-win for both the marketing team and for us bloggers in achieving our goals. Thank you for boosting my confidence trisha 🙂

  6. Bernard Tan

    2 April

    I love your blog! I would say that I am a bit luckier! I started my blog less than 2 months, and within the first month, I had received a product review and my first paid post! But I believe that my blog has great potential for exponential growth.

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