Thinking about hosting a Blogtrip? According to Arantxa Ros, an online travel marketer who has managed five international blogtrips from beginning to end, it’s all about the people.
Over the past few years, blogtrips have become an increasingly popular and attractive option for PR companies and Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) looking to increase the visibility of their product or destination on the Internet. Committing to hosting a blogtrip from beginning to end, however, is no small endeavor and requires quite a bit of synergy.
In what is essentially a live broadcast event that can last as long as a week or so, a blogtrip can be tricky business. It can take months of planning and establishing relationships to confirm hotels, restaurants and activities that travel bloggers and their readers will find engaging.
A few days ago, I had a chat with my good friend @ArantxaR in an effort to gain a better understanding of what goes into planning a successful blogtrip from start to finish. Here are the results:
[Rich] You’ve now managed 5 international blogtrips from start to finish. What would you consider to be the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
[Arantxa] Picking the wrong person.
What do you look for when selecting travel bloggers to participate in one of your blogtrips?
It depends on the goals for the trip which are never the same. I need unique bloggers in different aspects. Abi (@AbigailKing) is unique. She has a very special way for mature, intelligent, independent, high quality travelers.
I need professional behavior: travel bloggers that I never have to ask, remind, beg, insist. You have to be both fun and professional.
So it’s about the people?
Especially when each one may be a writer, editor, commercial or a designer. I always have my ear to the ground to catch likes, dislikes, dreams, hopes, needs. I may seem silent, but I’m there watching. I watch their personal matters and professional. I see who is controversial and if the controversy generates a great debate or a poor one full of insults. Manners matter!
You mean you are looking at them them before a trip or during the trip?
Both, but I look first online to see how social they are. I don’t care if you have a million Twitter followers, it’s how you talk to them. I need to see if you are really a social person because everyone has to live together on a blogtrip for seven days.
What about from the hosting side? Do personalities matter from a planning point of view?
Sometimes. But it can be more about who the personalities are. In Girona the guys on the tourist board who were behind the trip are hoteliers and restaurants. So we visited many of their places and met with the chefs and so on. In other places, not so much. I’ve requested to meet with representatives of hotels or restaurants in some places and no one replies. Not a chef or hotel manager. But sometimes they get it. In Girona they love it.
Girona is a shining example, isn’t it, of how the people involved in the blogtrip can be fully committed in every way?
It’s an example in a thousand aspects. First, Jaume [@JaumeMarin – Marketing Director at Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board] is a great team leader and an expert in communication. Don’t forget that he was in charge of communication during the Barcelona Olympic Games. He asks for my opinion and advice, even when the last word is his. I debate and share my views with Jaume, but he takes action. And there’s always an action.
How long does it take to plan a trip?
Rich, #inCostaBrava took 6 months. While #BlogTripF1 in Valencia is last minute. Goals are different. Budgets are different. But it mostly depends on the DMO and the person I have to work with and their team.
So again we’re back to people…
Yes. People. Persona factor. Team work.
There’s a lot of planning involved, from hotels to restaurants to activities and even transportation. How do you do it?
I have good personal connections and I look for brands with an open mind to be involved in new ways of promotion and communication. I have had people offer things that aren’t the right fit and have said no.
Do you want to share any information about any upcoming blogtrips that you’re working on now?
It’s pending. There’s xxxxx xxxxx xxxx and one in xxxxxxx, but don’t say a word!
Okay. So if there’s a theme here, it’s people from the inside out?
If you do not captivate the people, if you do not know the people, you can’t plan an itinerary to captivate, so bloggers won’t captivate their audience. If you do things well, you get reactions. The reception from things like Nellie’s (@WildJunket) highly read post about skydiving. It is beneficial if a person is able to publish posts on any other sites or in the traditional media.
So a travel bloggers total reach is important to you?
Yes, but also, you really need to care about people, personally and professionally. You can get even more.
You’re still going strong planning new blogtrips. What do you like most about your job?
Doing my job with the hand of top bloggers is a privilege. To meet the top ones and have them share their own opinions. I love it. Planning a blogtrip is a huge, complicated puzzle connecting the destination and the right brands with the right people. I feel I’m a link, a connector, among all of them because I know them all. It’s certainly complicated, but I love it
Oh, and manners matter. A lot!