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:
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:
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!