I repeatedly had the feeling of being a little fish outside in the big pond of travel journalism when speaking with hotel and tourist board representatives at the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow 2011 in San Francisco.
The most often asked questions I received from travel industry representatives over the past few days were “Who do you write for?” (Loyalty Traveler is my own business); “Where is your work published?” (Loyalty Traveler blog is online and hosted on the BoardingArea.com site of business traveler blogs.); and “How do you make any money?” (I get paid for freelance writing projects and I receive ad revenue share from BoardingArea.com).
I do not make much money at the present time compared to what I could make working a wage job (I still haven’t bought a new DSLR camera this year), but I make more money now than I did a year ago and I haven’t fired myself lately. Also, I think I have significantly more opportunity to increase my income ten-fold as a self-employed blogger and business owner than I had as a wage employee.
My favorite question during International Pow Wow had to be “Since it’s a blog, does it start with ‘www’ on the internet?”
The perception of bloggers is quite interesting to me in an analytics sense.
Take an online publication like HotelChatter.com, a Condé Nast-owned website for an analytics comparison. Compete.com numbers show 56,000 unique visitors for April 2011 while BoardingArea.com site is listed as 53,000 unique visitors.
Loyalty Traveler blog is a subdomain on BoardingArea.com and I don’t have comparable Compete.com numbers for Loyalty Traveler, but Google Analytics shows Loyalty Traveler blog had 35,705 unique visitors and 101,152 pageviews on April 20, 2011 and Loyalty Traveler blog posts are regularly fed into USA Today and Reuter’s news feeds.
Bloggers like Gary Leff with ‘View from the Wing’ and Ben Schlappig of ‘One Mile at a Time’ have significant influence in the sphere of frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs along with Brian Kelly, ‘The Points Guy’, who has made phenomenal growth in the past year with his blog that also focuses on how to use travel loyalty programs. Travelers seek travel value for their money and each of our blogs are focused on providing travelers good value tips.
Bloggers are the long-tail of travel influence. Ten influential online travel bloggers might even approach the influence of a major publication like Condé Nast Traveller. A blog post I came across today expresses my sentiment about the influence of bloggers compared to traditional media, even though I am not listed as one of the “Top 100 bloggers hotels and airlines should fly out first class”.
Yes, my blog does start with www.
Loyalty Traveler post: Aria Resort Las Vegas Sky Villa 19 (Dec 19, 2010)