Expedia has long been rather reluctant to jump into the social media sphere and have only recently started to actively move forward into social media. However, as many companies starting with social media, Expedia has now executed quite a big development in social by signing a dozen well-known travel bloggers from all over the world. These chosen bloggers will contribute to the Expedia Viewfinder blog which is a brand new intervention in which different bloggers are chosen and asked to serve as brand ambassadors for Expedia in both social media and advertising campaigns. This will not only happen on Expedia’s viewfinder blog but also on the individual blogs of the bloggers spreading the ambassador word for Expedia (Skift 2014).
WHY WORKING WITH BLOGGERS?
To be honest, this is a question, that nobody really asks, as for most, if not all tourism destinations and businesses it is clear that bloggers have a unique reach and are becoming the most powerful voices in social media especially with regards to travel. Therefore, the why working with bloggers is an easy question to answer. For Expedia, the collaboration with bloggers and building long-lasting relationships with them means that readers from a variety of backgrounds and interests can be attracted to read the Expedia viewfinder blog but also what is happening on social media. Most importantly, it also means that special interest groups such as honeymooners, single parents travelling or adventure seekers can all benefit from reading great content produced by bloggers. Expedia did manage to publish quality content that can be considered to answer a niche in content that travellers need information for.
Interestingly, the chosen bloggers contributing to the Expedia Viewfinder Bog are also promoting the brand on their own blogs by linking back to Expedia and mentioning the brand throughout their blogs. Although it is not something unusual, as Expedia is working closely with these bloggers, in many blogs, brand links are kept quite subtle to nor overwhelm users and readers as commercial articles can be off-putting and are sometimes even seen as contra productive in a way, as the individual blogger might be biased when writing a piece and recommendations given might not be 100% truthful and expressed freely. However, this of course depends on the reader and also the blogger with regards to how brands are included into blog posts and how readers react to that. The Expedia bloggers are all compensated either monetarily or through trips but this does depend on the blogger itself. For Expedia however, it is important that for the work the bloggers put into, a renumeration in different forms is given.
The #Expediachat is a weekly 90 minute session on Twitter in which Tweeters with fairly large followings engage with Expedia as a brand. Different questions will be asked during the 90 minutes for example about the best destination to go to when going away for spring break. The idea is to get a very engaging time, lots of tweets and people also get the change to win prizes. It will be interesting to monitor Expedia’s involvement with bloggers in the long-term and how collaborations between Expedia as a brand and the blogger community are evolving over time.
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