As no surprise to us, travel has become one of the most popular blog topics. So what is it about travel blogs that make them such a popular platform for travelers looking to research various destinations around the world? Just ask Freelance Travel Writer Spencer Spellman (seen in the picture to the left).
Spencer has traveled to some of the world’s most exotic places—including South Africa, Costa Rica, and Ireland—and documents all of his travels so that other travelers may benefit from his tips and past experiences. In addition, Spencer manages and produces blog and social media content for Sumèr’s elite travel clients.
We interviewed Spencer on the power of travel blogs and how travel professionals can fit them into their online marketing strategy.
See below for the interview.
1. Where do travel blogs fit into travel research? Specifically, who visits travel blogs and what are they looking for that they can’t find in magazines or other travel publications?
Travel blogs are only part of the travel planning research. Travel bloggers are often transparent and very savvy, so travelers can get a certain experience from them that they won’t find on other websites. I think that many people don’t quite trust guidebooks, magazines, and large travel websites like they once did. They want to find travel blogs that match their style of travel.
2. How do you use social media and blogging hand in hand to increase exposure and facilitate conversation among the travel community?
Travel blogging and social media have made travel planning so immediate. In the past, travelers who had a question about travel planning may have emailed someone, called, or asked on a forum, and it could be hours or even days until they got an answer. Now, travelers can get their answers within seconds.
I’ve used social media and blogging to establish myself as an authority. Even if I can’t point someone to a post I’ve written to answer their question, at least I can point them to the right authority. Then the next time they have a question, they’ll come straight back to me.
3. How do you come up with your blog topic ideas and constantly generate fresh topics?
It’s about new experiences and not doing the same things over and over. Not to mention, travel has become more than just sightseeing. While people want to know about where to eat and what they should do, they want to have an experience or conversation that makes their trip different from the next person who goes to the same place. I like writing about those experiences and the change that often takes place as a result of travel.
4. In your opinion, how has travel blogging evolved over the past few years?
Anyone can be a travel blogger. In an hour, someone can have their own travel blog up and running and their first post written with some photos. Traveling and then writing about your travel experiences is the dream thing to do. So there’s been somewhat of a rat race to get a piece of the cake.
5. What one tip would you give travel providers who are currently blogging and involved in social media?
Make it personal. That’s why so many travelers are using blogging and social media, and not websites, magazines, and guidebooks like they used to. Connect with other travelers and be transparent. This means snapping and publishing photos and videos, talking about your travel gaffes, and answering people’s questions. It puts a person behind the brand. People want that human connection.
What’s your favorite travel blog and why?