Interview With Blogtrip Organizer Arantxa Ros On Creating The Best Trip

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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.

What else?

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!

Photo: Rich

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23 Responses to “Interview With Blogtrip Organizer Arantxa Ros On Creating The Best Trip”

  1. Kelley September 12, 2011 3:35 pm
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    I definitely agree with your blogtrip priorities. Also, I’ve been on blogtrips as the only vlogger, and often, video brings a unique perspective as well. Vloggers need some more time at destinations so it helps if there’s some flexibility with scheduling, but I found writers and filmmakers learn a lot from each other and it makes the content produced even better.

  2. Arantxa Ros September 12, 2011 4:29 pm
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    Firstly , Congratulations for your brand new site. I wish you all the best, but as have been the one off putting a few of you together, I believe in your profesionalism ,, talent and skills so I have no doubt you’ll succeed in this project.

    Thank you so much for including me in your site with this chat-interview.
    I hope you don’t mind if I add that also I request and deal with large numbers and stats to help making decisions, of course, data and stats matter a lot, in a different way but highly important. No data = no decision .

    Love you all in the team, but you already knew, didn’t you?

  3. Arantxa Ros September 12, 2011 5:13 pm
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    I understand and agree with your point. Itinerary has to be flexible enough so everybody can work in the right way, so one of the things I insist is in the fact that nobody is forced to do everything as shown in the itinerary, they are all free to do their job the way they want.
    Sharing tips, tricks and advices is one of the magical things that happen putting together a group of professionals that are not competitors at all

  4. Mark Vogler September 12, 2011 5:31 pm
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    I’m a social media maniac and online marketer who’s fanatical about travel having been to all 7 continents. I just left a position managing online marketing and social media for one of the worlds largest wine companies, Australian owned Treasury Wine Estates. I would like to move into social and online marketing in the travel space. How would I participate in a blog trip?

    My resume is at http://www.markjvogler.blogspot.com

  5. Alastair McKenzie September 12, 2011 5:42 pm
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    Yeah, we know 🙂

    But thanks for the sentiments, and yes, if it hadn’t been for you threading your way around a crowded traveltweetup bar in 2009 and meeting some us then, you wouldn’t have created the first Valencia blogtrips, we would never have met…. and I wouldn’t be writing this! Spooky!

  6. Anna September 12, 2011 8:49 pm
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    These are great notes. I find myself on a lot of trips with journalists from Big Media, rather than bloggers, and can be shocked when I see how professional they behave as opposed to a blogger trip. I think the ‘professionalism’ point is a big one. You aren’t just representing yourself, you’re representing your industry.

  7. Nancy D. Brown September 13, 2011 1:38 am
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    This was a very helpful post to read. I enjoyed learning about what goes on inside an online travel marketers head before, during and after a blog trip.

    I look forward to reading more thought-provoking posts like this.

  8. Sophie September 13, 2011 9:33 am
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    Useful post, thanks! Good start, travelllll 🙂

  9. Rich Whitaker September 13, 2011 10:27 am
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    thanks.

  10. Rich Whitaker September 13, 2011 10:30 am
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    social media maniac… wow!

  11. Rich Whitaker September 13, 2011 10:31 am
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    thank you nancy-

  12. Rich Whitaker September 13, 2011 10:32 am
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    thanks for the comment sophie… we’re all having fun-

  13. Arantxa Ros September 13, 2011 10:53 am
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    Mark, you are certainly someone to keep an eye on!

  14. Arantxa Ros September 13, 2011 10:54 am
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    Nancy, to be honest, you just saw a bit of what is in my head. My views might not be the same than others’ and we are all learning.

  15. Amanda September 13, 2011 3:24 pm
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    As a blogger who hasn’t quite broken into that “inner circle” of bloggers who usually get invited on blogtrips and the like, this was really useful to read. Hearing that the selection process is mostly based on personality (along with all the other quantifiable factors) is good to know. Thanks for this!

  16. James Clark September 13, 2011 3:35 pm
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    Excellent first interview, Rich. This site is off to a great start!

  17. Rich Whitaker September 13, 2011 3:49 pm
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    you bet-

  18. Rich Whitaker September 13, 2011 3:51 pm
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    Thank you very much James…

  19. jade September 15, 2011 8:06 am
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    We are just starting to get invited to meet with PR companies and Tourism Boards and found this really interesting. I always feel like engaging with them online several times before meeting them IRL helps set us apart from other bloggers. On our last trip, I felt like there was such a great connection with all the media/bloggers and PR folks. It really helped in allowing us to create better content.

  20. Arantxa Ros September 16, 2011 6:07 pm
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    that’s great Jade!

  21. Dave and Deb October 16, 2011 10:35 pm
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    Great interview Rich. It is always nice to see Blog Trips from the other side of the coin. Arantxa’s quote “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.” really sums it all up. Without interesting content, personality, dedication and commitment to your readership you will never flourish in the blogging world. So if a blog trip cannot provide you the opportunity to fulfill this then is it really worth it?
    It is so refreshing to see someone who gets it.
    Thanks for a great interview.

  22. Cole @ FourJandals November 29, 2011 1:27 pm
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    It was great hearing Arantxa speak in person at WTM about choosing the right bloggers as well. Would love for every PR agency and tourism board to follow her awesome lead.

    Finger crossed for the rest of us.

  23. Vero4travel October 26, 2012 9:20 am
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    Very intreresting this interview. I’m thinking to create a blogtrip and this kind of tips will help me. But nowadays Im just a writter about travel, but we will see in future what it’s going to happend.

    Thank you to post the twitter links, now Im following this persons.

    Jesús Martínez
    Vero4travel

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