Travel Bloggers Get Paid For Selling Dreams
We have been working for a hostel to update their website and help to develop their social media marketing. As part of the process, we reviewed their competition and other travel websites. We were surprised by our findings. When we started full-time travel and travel blogging in 2004, there were hardly any bloggers around. Now Internet is full of glittering travel blogs selling dreams to their readers.
Competition demands that travel bloggers offer all the time fresh content, make practical lists, and visit fancy places. This is the way to attract readers and make them return. To finance their travels, bloggers accept freebies from tourism boards, hotels, tour organisers, and sights. As a result, most blogs are paid advertisements that offer praising reviews of the visited destinations and services used.
A few leading travel blog sites acknowledge the corruption, but like always, making money justifies the means. Travel blogging and tourism industry do not tolerate balanced travel writing; they want value for money. Criticism is not fit for this purpose. Tourism is a positivist practise which is interested in numbers. It is OK for example to abuse animals if companies can make more profit that way.
The new elite of travellers
The travel budgets of those travel bloggers who have revealed their income are lavish. They spend more than their readers. Travel bloggers are jetsetters with a backpack and tourism sales reps in T-shirts and shorts.
Travel dreams become nightmares if ecological footprints are considered. Promoting luxury sights and hotels, fastest means of travelling, highest classes and the most faraway places not only messes up local economies but also generates a lot more waste and pollution compared to slow travel: taking time, living with locals. But travel bloggers can’t afford to mind on their footprints. Without the most exotic stories there are not enough readers meaning no more freebies and paid advertisers.
We are grateful that we can stay away from that scene. The websites and other works we have made for hostels have been in exchange of accommodation and food, not for pushing products to our readers and friends. Our modest income comes from our published books and for that we owe thanks to our publishers and readers.
See also: Generic travel blog generator.