The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Word Gets Around: Travel blogs & social media, Part 1

Great travel tips often come from travel blogs. They just don’t always come from the ones you’d expect. While planning a long weekend in Chicago, I ran across a travel blog with a hot tip. As luck would have it, a flea market called Vintage Garage was opening the same weekend.

I found this tidbit in the Thompson Hotels travel blog, Upper Stories. (Apparently, I started subscribing after we stayed in a Thompson in New York City.) The headline, “Secondhand Chic,” pulled me in. So I read on and promptly added the event to our itinerary. The irony: We weren’t staying at a Thompson in Chicago. The NYC stay had been a one-time splurge. The insider benefits, however, live on in the blogosphere.

The Social Media Circuit

Hence, the magic of using social media to plan trips. Thompson’s blog led me to the Vintage Garage website. And that, in turn, led me to Facebook, then Twitter and then Instagram. While the event was promoted differently on each channel, the whole campaign hung together nicely. And as a result, word got around, as indicated by the social media buzz — and the line for tickets.

Activity on the Vintage Garage Twitter and Instagram pages shows people using social media to plan trips to Chicago for the April 2017 opening weekend.Activity on the Vintage Garage Facebook page shows people using social media to plan trips to Chicago for the April 2017 opening weekend.

So if you love to travel and enjoy writing about the places you explore, why not consider a career as a travel blogger. Known today as “destination marketing,” the field offers an exciting array of opportunities. For instance, you can write blurbs about budget family travel for state tourism sites. Or, if you prefer longer content, there’s steady demand there, too. Another option is blogging for a high-end hotel chain. Or maybe consider doing social media for a cruise line.

Either way, your stories can take many forms: Daily tweets. Weekly paid ads. Monthly blog posts. All you need is a passion for travel and a little time and effort to master the basic tools and techniques. After that, you can literally take this skill wherever you want to go.

The Power of Travel Blogs

Travel blogs have become powerful tools for destination marketers. They provide a forum for telling stories and building relationships with prospects. As “sharing and networking” platforms, they let readers interact with and share content. Most of all, they’re fun to write and read. Especially relevant for bloggers or destination marketers are these three fundamental aspects of the discipline:

  1. Your role as a travel blogger is to foster positive dialogue.
  2. The Internet provides an ideal environment for influencing people.
  3. Travel captures the imagination and lends itself to online marketing.

Because videos are often used in conjunction with travel blogs, they’re another important tool in the destination marketer’s arsenal. According to a recent Google study, 2/3 of consumers turn to travel videos when using social media to plan trips. Travel vlogs are even more popular. They enjoy an estimated four times more social engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc.). That’s more than any other form of YouTube travel content.

Travel blogs are a great way to showcase photos like this one taken in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Pictures, Stickers & Filters

Finally, let’s not forget the instant gratification of Instagram and SnapChat. Both platforms rely on killer photography to hook viewers. Check out these 25 travel bloggers killing it on Instagram, according to Instagram staffer and travel blogger Janet Newenham. Similar examples abound on Snapchat, as you can see from this list of the 15 ultimate travel accounts to follow on SnapChat.

Last December, Instagram Stories launched a Stickers feature similar to SnapChat’s Geofilters. Stickers let you display basic location names, time, weather and emojis. Consequently, they also make your destination marketing more targeted. Also, maximizing these features for travel blogging is, well, a snap. As a starting point, check out BufferSocial’s tips on using SnapChat Geofilters. In addition to great case studies, you’ll find a quick tutorial on how to create your own custom geofilters.

Gone anywhere you want to blog, vlog, tweet, post, gram or snap about?

Got any favorite travel bloggers, Instagrammers or SnapChatters? Do tell! Most of all, please come back in two weeks for Part 2 of “Word Gets Around.” We’ll be looking at social media metrics and how to measure your destination marketing efforts. Plus, we’ll show you how to use hashtags and SEO for maximum impact.

Category: Blogging, Social Media Marketing 201