One travel address

Three questions travel bloggers must address right now

NB: This is a guest article by Matthew Barker, managing partner at .

The annual networking shindig is over and several hundred hopeful travel blogtrepreneurs (*) are heading back down from the rarefied air of Keystone, Colorado.

Their notebooks will be stuffed with motivational ideas on converting their travel sites into publishing powerhouses, advertising platforms and profitable online businesses.

The travel blogosphere is a huge and diverse place, but TBEX is quite consciously aimed at a specific segment: people who want to go pro and make their living from blogging.

For those of us on the other side of the industry fence, PR people, advertisers and web marketers, this is a hugely important audience.

The role of bloggers in the travel marketing ecosystem has long been established and will only increase in importance as content creators, audiences and platforms all diversify and become ever more embedded in the principles of effective web marketing.

But given that most doubts about the role of bloggers have long since evaporated, it appeared to me as a first-time TBEX attendee that the blog world’s leadership is failing to help bloggers adapt, evolve and, dare I say it, mature to fulfil their rightful place at the top table of the travel marketing mix.

This is not to criticise the event organisation in any way. Aside from a few lengthy lunch queues and the absence of any free coffee this was one of the best and most professionally organised conferences I’ve ever attended, and I’ve been to more than my fair share.

What I’m griping at is less the quality of the event, and more the substance of what was actually being said on the stages and podiums themselves.

So in the spirit of constructive criticism, here are three questions that I would want to see addressed at the next TBEX conference and other travel blogger-focused events.

1. How do we improve the quality of output?

The most surprising feature of the two-day program was the near absolute absence of anything concerning the quality of output, or journalistic skill in general. Out of several dozen sessions, just one addressed the question of how to be better at travel writing.

This is important to me as a content commissioner because bloggers tend to produce travel writing that is more amateurish than their traditional travel writing counterparts (**)

Writers who have cut their teeth on professional magazines and newspapers are generally more likely to produce journalism that is well researched, detail focused and engaging to the reader than writers who write mostly for their own blogs.

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