Marketing travel: travel blogger case studies

2010 February 2
by velvet

I wrote an article several months ago about the role travel bloggers can play in marketing travel. My fellow travel blogger, Andy Jarosz recently published an insightful post about travel bloggers promoting destinations. Since my first ‘Marketing Travel’ article, I’ve been on two blog (or ‘fam’) trips.

Travel bloggers in Barcelona

Travel bloggers in Barcelona

Travel Blogger trip to Catalonia

The first was to Catalonia, Spain, organised by the Tourism Department of Catalonia. Ten travel bloggers from Spain, the Netherlands (me), France, England and the USA were invited for a four-day all-expenses paid trip to Catalonia. The tweeting started in earnest in the run-up to the trip. A hashtag for tweets #catexp (for Catalunya Experience) was created, making it easy for everyone to follow the trip. The trip itinerary was diverse and action-packed, from a culinary course in Barcelona to hiking and quad-biking in the mountains to a Segway tour of Barcelona. The organisers did a brilliant job and the trip received tremendous exposure by means of thousands of tweets and retweets, and a broad array of blog posts (in English, Spanish and French), videos and photos. One of the participants, Rich Whitaker, compiled a list of the blog output generated by that trip. The amount (30 blog posts, 10 videos & 6 flickr photo sets) and quality of the content is truly staggering. Here are the stats of my three posts:

The Catalunya Experience travel blogger trip is a classic example of how tourism offices and tour operators can collaborate with travel bloggers to generate buzz for a certain destination. Using the boundless possibilities of social media (primarily blogs, twitter, facebook and flickr), travel bloggers are able to generate publicity for destinations that can reach thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of people. The best thing about a blog post or online video, as opposed to a newspaper or magazine article, is that it stays on the internet for as long as the blog exists. In addition, social media channels are interactive platforms which allow readers to ask questions and find out more, making it even more appealing as a means to convert initial interest into a booking.

Publicity for City Inn Birmingham, with their iMac-equipped rooms

Publicity for City Inn Birmingham, with their iMac-equipped rooms

Birmingham

My second fam trip was my recent weekend in Birmingham, England. The trip was sponsored by Visit Birmingham and bmibaby. Unlike the fam trip to Catalonia, I was on my own this time. I specifically asked for lots of free time so I could experience the city on my own. I tweeted as I explored the city, sending photos and links of places I visited to my Velvet Escape Twitter account. I also wrote two posts on my Velvet Escape blog covering the trip. To provide an idea of the kind of publicity that can be generated by a single blogger on a fam trip, I’ve listed below the stats of my Birmingham tweets and blog posts (all stats as at Feb. 2nd, 2010, though the numbers will rise after this post is published).

Posts

Tweets with links

  • 180 views; 11 retweets: And… it’s stopped raining! :-) #brumtwitrip Off for a pint now before dinner at Asha’s http://su.pr/1baAa5 :-)
  • 139 views; 1 retweet: City Inn has attentive service, good b’fast selection, iMacs/free wifi in evry rm. Bthrms a tad small tho! http://su.pr/2ScyIj #brumtwitrip
  • 228 views; 5 retweets: I really enjoyed my tour of the BBC. See my news broadcast :-) by entering code: 012478578 in BeOnTV http://su.pr/5L77Ec #brumtwitrip

Twitpics

A quick glance will tell you that thousands of views and hundreds of retweets were generated by this trip, and it doesn’t stop there. These numbers will only grow as time passes. Moreover, these numbers were generated by a single travel blogger. Imagine what a group of travel bloggers could do!

Velvet Escape (@velvetescape) offers travel writing and travel marketing services while Velvet Connect (@velvetconnect) offers social media advisory, community-building/management and networking services. In addition, I am well-placed to collaborate with tourism offices/travel companies and/or PR agencies to select the best travel bloggers for fam trips as well as to generate exciting ideas to facilitate a successful travel blogger fam trip.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010

    This is a nice post, velevet, thanks for sharing. You might be interested to know I got here from an RT by @visit_bham, so your theories on mutliple retweeting are being proved right now!

    Hope you keep tweeting whilst travelling as I’m following you now – and, as a recent mover to Birmingham, will check out your 10 places to visit!

  2. TravelDesigned permalink
    February 3, 2010

    Keith- GREAT post!

    I had similar results from my trips last year as well. One of my slideshows had over 1500 hits in just a few days. I find the numbers astonishing! The reviews and slideshows are still being used as effective sales tools for both me and my hosts.

    In my long career as a professional travel consultant, I have had the pleasure of experiencing many destinations through both group and independent fam trips. I know I sell more and recommend with enthusiasm from experiencing hotels and destinations.

    Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind from my experiences on these fam trips:

    Bloggers and Travel Professionals:

    These trips, though fun, are hard work and often long hours usually with little free time. It is not easy to tweet, post on facebook, photograph and travel all at once. This is not a vacation, it is work. Be gracious guests. You can have fun but remember to be courteous, professional, presentable (dress appropriately) and please be punctual. This is an wonderful opportunity for you- make the most of it for you, your clients and your host!

    Travel Industry Promoters:

    Please remember participants need accomodations with complimentary wi-fi to effectively promote while traveling and some free time to be able to do so.

    Most resorts require a minimum of 60-90 minutes(depending on size) to see various room categories, restaurants, bars, spas and all the features the property has to offer. Please do not rush through the site inspection-you are selling yourself, make a good impression. Participants are here to see why they should promote you, have your sales kits in hand and it would also be nice to offer a refreshment.

    Participants need to have hotel site inspections as well as nice dining and a variety of quality destination esperiences. This may mean building an additional day or two into the itinerary. If you want the most out of your participants it will be cost effective to not overschedule your guests as you will have much more positive results and exposure.

    Last but certainly not least, please don’t underestimate the power and potential of social media.

  3. velvet permalink*
    February 3, 2010

    Thank you Stephanie for your excellent comment and ditto tips. Really appreciate it!

    Cheers,
    Keith

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