How to Choose the Best Travel Writers
Hilary Lewkowitz | March 26, 2019
Travel writers play a critical role in any travel brand’s earned media campaigns. By working with a talented and connected writer, travel brands can cost effectively reach a target audience. However, not all writers are created equal. Since a writer is your marketing megaphone, it is important to work with someone that is invested in a destination’s long-term sustainability. Here’s a checklist to determine if a travel writer has your travel brand’s best interests in mind:
say “no” to top 10 lists
It’s tempting to want a trek or beach to hit a “top 10” global list. However, this recognition can quickly lead to places being overrun with tourists, which can cause irreversible ecological damage. Maya Bay, Thailand showed up on Top Beach lists up until early 2018. Nine months later, Maya Bay closed indefinitely due to marine ecosystem damage caused primarily by travelers. Top travel lists can incite the same type of issues as social media geo-tagging, which pinpoints a specific place as a “must see” destination.
say “yes“ to authentic and diverse experiences
Work with travel writers who focus on authentic experiences that can take place in a diverse range of locations. By marketing a wide array of travel opportunities, you are more likely to disperse travelers throughout a destination. Traveler disbursement means more communities will benefit from the economic opportunities of tourism and specific areas will more likely stay within their tourism carrying capacity.
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personal connection to an experience or place
If a writer has a personal connection to an experience or destination, then that writer will be more likely to take the extra step to ensure it’s being correctly represented. Ask your potential writer if they have a connection to an experience or destination through family heritage, a prior life-changing trip or long-time dream of visiting. The travel industry is seeing this trend in social media with the rise of micro and nano influencers. We reached out to Mindy Poder of TravelAge West, an experienced and well-respected travel writer. Here’s what she had to say:
aligned with brand values and vision
Globally, the travel industry recognizes the importance of a cohesive brand in order to manage a successful tourism marketing campaign. Whatever is decided internally for a brand identity and vision, these same elements should come out in a travel writer’s article. The story the writer is telling must align with the direction and vision of your brand.
don’t forget to do your homework
A travel writer should have your destination or company’s best interest in mind. Not sure? Check their writing. You can ask for a list of the writer’s publications and do an online search of their digital content. It’s critical that all external communication, including earned media, is an authentic and accurate representation of your traveler experiences and places. As we’ve entered an age of overtourism, the travel industry needs to embrace strategic marketing focused on the sustainability of tourism destinations.