Last week, the Digital Tourism Think Tank went to Holland to participate in this years Travel Bloggers Unite conference in Rotterdam (TBURTM). The event and all the tweets, posts can be followed through #TBURTM. About 150 bloggers and the travel industry met from Thursday 16 May to Sunday 19 May with each day focusing on a different topic: Meet, Inspire, Learn and Network – all key parts of the conference, ensuring that there are plenty of opportunities for travel industry and bloggers to learn about blogging and meet and discuss about synergies (TBU).
DAY 1 KEYNOTES
The first day of the conference started with a keynote from Mark Richards from Best Dad I can Be (UK), a humorous speech about how he started the blog and his journey as a “daddy blogger” and published author. He also gave some recommendations and tips for bloggers for their journey. This first keynote was followed by Gary Bembridge’s talk on “Creating Content for Travellers”. This gave some very interesting insights into what bloggers think and do at the moment and what travellers think and want. In the following some of the points raised will be covered and more on this topic will be featured soon on the site.
RULES TO SUCCESS
It is very important for any organisation or bloggers in tourism, that they look at all content through the eyes of travellers and very often, this is not the case yet in tourism. Giving travellers what they want and need is absolutely crucial and according to Gar Bembridge one of the rules to success. When looking more closely at travellers, only 40% of them have read a travel blog which means therer is a lot of potential for blogs. So, what actual is content that is most helpful on blogs? Travellers are very much looking for real life, first hand advice and tips based on personal experiences. Bloggers on the other hand think stories and personal anecdotes are most important content for travellers.
CREATING CONTENT FOR TRAVELLERS
The blogging and tourism industry are both focusing on creating better content for travellers. As the travel habits influence the content needs, it is important to consider that 80% of travellers are travelling under 6 weeks per year and might only travel once or twice per year. Travellers are actually not travelling too much in comparison to bloggers, so for them it is all about risk reduction, as the one or two trips per year are the only opportunities to travel due to money or time constraints. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to ensure the holiday will not be a bad one. This is where blogs come in place as travellers can read up on where to go in a destination, where not to go, where to eat and how they can also have some unique and very personalised experiences in a destination.
REASONS FOR TRAVELLERS TO READ A BLOG
58% of travellers want to read about opinions of others and find that bloggers are mostly unbiased and honest. They are interested in real life experiences and want to be inspired. Through reading blogs and about bloggers’ experiences around the world, most travellers reinforced or confirmed their decision, and sometimes it drives specific travel choices. Some travellers however, read blogs mainly for entertainment. Bloggers are non-commercially driven which gives them a similar sense of trust as family and friends as they would not want to risk their credibility amongst their readers.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT?
Both the travel industry and the bloggers need to know exactly what travellers want and need in terms of content. This has to be one of the key priorities for both. Gary Bembridge summarised this well by saying “Understand what your audience needs, give them content they want and be like a trusted friend”. If these simple rules are followed, success will follow as content is still king and can really make a difference!
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