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Does travel blogging have a future?

A discussion about travel content
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Travel Blogger / Youtuber, Mochileros.org

Over the past year, the global travel industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with widespread travel restrictions and a decrease in consumer demand leading to a significant drop in tourism. This has also had a major impact on the world of travel blogging, with many bloggers finding it difficult to continue their travels and document their experiences for their followers.

Before the pandemic, travel blogging was a popular and lucrative activity for many people. Bloggers would travel to different destinations, document their experiences through writing, photography, and video, and share their content on social media and their own websites. Some bloggers even turned their passion for travel into a full-time career, working with travel brands and creating sponsored content.

However, with the onset of the pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions, many bloggers found themselves unable to continue their travels as they had before. Many were forced to cancel their plans and stay at home, leading to a decrease in content and engagement on their blogs and social media channels.

In response to this, some travel bloggers pivoted to creating content about their local area or sharing travel content from their past trips. Others turned to virtual travel, using technology such as virtual reality to allow their followers to experience different destinations from the comfort of their own homes.

As the pandemic has dragged on, social media platforms have continued to evolve and change, and this has had an impact on the world of travel blogging as well. In particular, the short-form video app TikTok has exploded in popularity, with many users turning to the platform to share their travel experiences and inspire others to travel.

On TikTok, users can create short, catchy videos set to music that showcase their travels and offer travel tips and inspiration. These videos have proven to be incredibly popular, with many TikTok users amassing large followings and even turning their TikTok fame into a full-time career.

While the pandemic has certainly presented challenges for the world of travel blogging, it has also led to some creative and innovative solutions. Many bloggers have embraced new technology and platforms to continue sharing their travel experiences and inspiring others to travel, even in the midst of the pandemic.

It remains to be seen how the travel industry and travel blogging will continue to evolve in the post-pandemic world, but one thing is certain: the desire to explore and discover new places is not going away anytime soon. Even in the face of challenges and obstacles, travel bloggers and their followers will continue to find ways to fulfill their wanderlust and share their adventures with the world.

What do you think?

8 months ago (edited)
Design Lead, Travel UX Innovator, Entrepreneur, Memopin, Inc.

It's true that GenZ tends to consume content differently than previous generations. They are heavily influenced by social media platforms and tend to prefer video content over written content.

But IMHO blogging is not going anywhere! Even though traditional blogging may not be as popular with younger users, it's still a great way to share in-depth information and build a community around a particular niche or interest. Blogging allows for a more detailed exploration of a topic and it's a valuable tool to reach a specific audience.

Bloggers should try new things and experiment with different forms of content. Creating more visual and interactive content such as videos, infographics, and podcasts, will help you engage and retain your audience. Also, not everyone prefers videos over reading, some people still prefer text-based content as it allows them to consume information in a more focused and uninterrupted way.

At the end of the day, the key is to create high-quality, engaging, and informative content that will inspire and inform followers. Keep experimenting and have fun :)

8 months ago
Travel Blogger

I think travel blogging still has a future. But for generation Z, I am in doubt. Travel vlogging is emerging like a flying eagle. To get exact answer, we have to wait for few more years.

8 months ago
Freelance tour guide and travel consultant and travel blogger.

As a person who makes the majority of my income from tour guiding and also have a decent little side income from travel blogging, I can only say that I am doing quite well. In regards to tour guiding, 2022 was actually been my busiest year ever. Considerably better than pre Covid. And I have actually been earning good money taking hiking groups around the world since September 2021. Covid only has an effect in the way that there are still some countries that people do not want to visit, because of lockdowns and/or restrictions. But I do not hear any worries about Covid from my clients any longer. In regards to my blogging, then it has been slower to re start. But it has really picked up since the beginning of the new year. I find that my audience is growing a lot now. But that is specifically with middle aged an older people. The young crowd seem to be mostly on Instagram and TikTok, where I am personally too bored. But I am fine about getting older clients, as they stay longer on my sites, where my income comes from advertising. My plan is to keep going with tour guiding being my main source of income, as I am very established in that field. But I am really getting back in to blogging again, with the increased traffic that I have seen in recent weeks.

8 months ago
Ian
Founder, Travel Massive

Travel blogging has a future, but like all content mediums there’s ever growing competition from more channels.

I’m still a believer in the web (which is why Travel Massive is a website, not an app) and the power of the open internet. Apps like TikTok and Instagram will come and go, but the web has permanence. This means you can still visit a blog article that is 10+ years old and get valuable information from it. Good luck finding something from last week on TikTok!

The challenge for most new bloggers is staying in the game long enough to monetize their content. Although even 10 years ago, ranking for popular search terms wasn’t easy. So this isn’t the cause.

Probably the biggest threat to ALL travel content is AI generated content. We’ve seen Google try to reduce friction for their users with “rich snippets” which deliver answers without needing to visit the content source. Well guess what? AI might start serving answers directly in the search results, and users will click through to less web pages. In short: AI search results will deprive content owners of traffic.

I don’t know what the strategy will be for travel bloggers to combat AI yet. Perhaps since AI is trained on older data (chatgpt is circa 2021), bloggers can stay ahead with really updated content.

All this said, there’s over 6,000 WordPress blog owners here in the Travel Massive community, with combined monthly traffic of at least 100M. So I’d say blogging is here to stay, despite the challenges ahead!

8 months ago
Travel writer and publisher of PubClub.com, PubClub.com

Great points. I needed a little reinforcement boost on the future of websites after what my friend told me the other day (see my comment). Thanks!

8 months ago
Head Chef, Travelfish Pty Ltd

Talking about those 6,000 Wordpress blogs, I ended up on one today, the page weighed 3.5 meg and required 900 requests to load or which (at a glance) 400+ were adserving and tracking related. Yay user privacy. This on page one of Google. So while TikTok and Instagram maybe sucking stuff off, the typical travel blog reading experience, particularly if you are on a phone without an adblocker, is horrific—is like recipe sites on steroids.

ChatGPT’s 2021 benchmark supposed to be updated later this year, eventually it will be 100% live. Think AI is a huge threat, particularly for service writing (like mine ha ha, and which many travel blogs veered into chasing affiliate income over the last ten years, sadly leaving behind quite a bit of their independent voice which is what AI will struggle with the most), but has a ways to go yet. I don’t think it will match good quality writing, real voice, for years, but it will get good enough to make search even more useless than it already is, and that will be a major problem.

Wrote about it the other day here: couchfish.substack.com/p/couchfish-the-stochastic-parrot-guide Got ChatGPT to write me a guide to Luang Prabang, it is pretty crappy, but it took me all of ten minutes. Some are baking this stuff right into their content, which strikes me as bonkers.

Fun times!

7 months ago

Ian is right on the money here with several points imo.

First of all the only things you really own in the digital world are your website / blog and your email list. You do not own TikTok, Twitter, Instagram etc. Those rules can change at any moment along with your business model.

Invest in yourself and the content you own and have control of. Use all social platforms to drive content to your website / blog. Social platforms are the ocean, your site is your boat. Your job is to get the fish aka your audience out of the ocean and in your boat.

AI is the single biggest threat to hurt creators and the single biggest tool that can help creators. If you are serious about creating content for the next five to ten years you need to be learning all you can about AI and putting it to work for you right now.

This is a revolution at least as big as blogging as social media.

6 months ago
Travel - Lifestyle Blogger,and voice actor, BoominginLA.com

I started a local travel blog a little over a year ago for Los Angeles geared toward an older crowd. Also a YouTube channel. I'm just making pennies on my ad network and a little from TripAdvisor so far. I'm a big fan of blogging because social networks can disappear but your website is your own.

8 months ago
Chief Travel Officer, Co-Founder of Jetzy

I think the better question is does Travel Writing and Travel Content have a future, and what does that look like? The one adage about the world of any business that remains true is: change or die. I spent the first half of my career in travel publishing as an Editorial Director of a group of travel magazines, a writer, and a photographer, and won many awards. I believe we produced some fine work, but that platform is no longer relevant except to very few consumers. I had to adapt or risk being the complaining old dude sitting on a rocking chair on the front porch long before my time. There's a lot of white noise to get through in today's world of travel content and I've seen travel content makers shift towards more gimmicky content to get attention, which takes the travel and makes it secondary to the person, which is fine if that's what the audience wants. As someone that hires travel influencers, it's honestly hard to find people that travel and write immersively and produce content that is more than a slim travel guide, or at a glance consumable content, or "I did this, then I did this". But, that is more of an indication of the reader's appetite and content makers have made the adjustment the readers respond to most. I do think travel content has a future, it's a matter of the narrative style. I'm not Gen Z and I enjoy the brevity and efficiency of TikTok as a travel-informative platform. I'm Boomer-adjacent and enjoy a more seasoned point of view. I'm also literary-writing-minded and will happily dive into an immersive travel story that sweeps me away and engages all my senses (this has become the rarest form of travel content) with a true narrative. So, blogging might look different in 5-years, and it's already changing, as it should, but It will still be travel content. I think it's a matter of looking at your followers or subscribers, or the followers & subscribers you want to reach, and seeing what they're looking to consume, and elevating your content to provide a benefit and usefulness in their lives that keep them coming back to read or enjoy your content, and you'll remain relevant as a blogger or producer of travel content.

8 months ago
Journalist; Editor

Sport Diver? I have you on an old email contact list...I was just up in Lake Worth on the weekend. Bonnier survives. Yes change is a constant, the question remains what kind of change and who benefits and what survives. I think the media universe has obviously expanded but that mantra about change affects the so-called relevant of today just as much as the earlier and classic formats of media. The rest of what you say indicates you have a surviving appreciation of the well-written and engaging, and I'm onboard with that forever.

6 months ago (edited)
Chief Travel Officer, Co-Founder of Jetzy

Hey Hal! Yes, Sport Diver was a few iterations ago. Though still love the sport. And for blogs, the more immersive the better. I think so much of what gets written today is shallow and derivative, as are the photos and photo styles. But, like I said, this seems to be the appetite of the reader/consumer. Here's some new information on me: ty@tysawyer.com.

6 months ago
Journalist; Editor

Thx - will be in touch!

6 months ago
Travel writer and publisher of PubClub.com, PubClub.com

I would like to think so but just the other day I got somewhat of a reality slap in the face when I was talking to a good friend of mine who does PR in motorsports. I was complaining about how the websites of the different series haven't updated their websites – heck even IndyCar has its 2022 drivers. And he said "websites are for e-commerce, not content because the younger generation doesn't go on them." I know this is true to some degree but I hope people still do use them for helpful information. Still, I'm doing more on TikTok now and have a livestream podcast to try and build the brand to reach today's audience.

8 months ago
Travel Blogger, Walk4Africa.org

In the future, bloggers/content creators will adapt their skills to embrace UI/UX tech as developments in this sphere become popular with consumers.

In the same way that travel writers, photographers, and videographers had to adapt their skills to embrace blogging when websites and microwebs became popular in 1997, they will adapt to new tech platforms like virtual reality (VR) and the metaverse, which require new skill sets (Java scripting and and knowledge of blockchain, NFT designing, and project and data management).

Travel destinations and products are currently slow in adopting the potential provided by the metaverse. However, they may soon follow the trends set by fashion brands like Gucci, and footwear brands like Nike (Nikeland) and Adidas, who have already created their digital virtual worlds in the metaverse using gaming platforms like Roblox.

While the metaverse cannot replace physical travel, it can be used to entice users to travel and experience real world products and services through 'Seek & Find' games or NFTs that offer value-added benefits. Perhaps that's the future of blogging?

8 months ago
CEO, Horizon Guides

Great discussion!

I'll echo what Ian has said below. AI is the existential threat for lots of publishers, bloggers included, however it's certainly not cut and dry. AI is massively powerful and will erase entire categories of work and will profoundly change how travel websites generate traffic and users.

But I'd argue the most at-risk categories are the ones that shouldn't still exist in 2022. Algorithm-chasing, regurgitating & content spinning will be finished. And good riddance! Google is full of this crap already. But AI cannot create new knowledge and it relies on facts and source material to learn. Be in the "fact layer" and you'll have relevance. This means adding new knowledge to the internet, rather than spinning what's already out there.

Google will, I think/hope, be looking more carefully for authority signals. Is the content creator an expert in their field, is the material originally researched and produced, etc.

Lots of challenges but lots of opportunities too.

8 months ago
Photographer, Writer, and Content creator., pathstotravel.com

Social Media is always changing, and can also fail us at any moment, as history has shown. The bottomless sea of content out there right now is minimally original. The trends themselves are encouraging repetition and refuse to belive that the quality content is regurgitating the same topics/locaitons/trends over and over. Aditionally, as another blogger reminded me, your blog is the only content you truly own, that in itself is of incredibly highvalue...

8 months ago

I believe there are many people doing research on videos but also Google text info so there is definately a market yet which can give more of a full story and review to the reader

8 months ago
Travel Blogger | Digital Nomad, Boots & Sunshine

I love that I'm able to learn new things and explore new ways to reach my audience with the development of TikTok. My blog is still my main focus but now I'm thinking of ways to pour the content into a different format to reach more people. I've gone on TikTok for a couple of things to find current information instead of hitting Google and it got me results I hear that's how a lot of people use TikTok nowadays. The world is always changing and you need to be prepared to move forward if you want your blog to be successful and stay successful. I'm glad we're on the other side of the pandemic where it's easier to travel again to get new input and not solely rely on old information. But travel itself has changed as well and I think we'll find a way to keep going.

7 months ago
CMO, UnTours & GreenSpot.travel

Ty's post really resonates. As someone who hires content creators, as well, I'm looking for stories that draw you in. That does put more pressure on any piece of content to draw the user/viewer/reader in quickly. Then the effectiveness of it for marketing, no matter how long the piece or the video runs, is dependent on how compelling and relevant the story is for a given audience. Some people even still read entire books!

7 months ago
Global Tourism Reporter, Skift

It does. It’ll just take the form of short-form video.

6 months ago
Travel Influencer and Creator, American Travel Family

With AI, I think the question is, do bloggers, vloggers, writers, and photographers have a future?!

5 months ago