Tips for Travel Blogging.

Tips for Travel Blogging.

img_4472Ahhh September, the start of my favorite course, “Niche Tourism and Travel.”  In this course we develop Travel Blogs, build Twitter feeds and Create Facebook Pages. Students usually look at me with bewilderment when we start, so in keeping with past advice, I offer you the following tips on how to start.
1) Make sure you set up your “About” Page. By setting up your About Page your readers can connect with you and see what they have in common with you. No one wants to take Travel advice from a nameless, faceless person. On the flip side, know who you are writing FOR. If you Niche is adventure travel, use language that adventures understand. Most importantly understand the passion and commitment that your readers may have about your topic and aim to connect with this.

2) Keep your articles short, but not too short! Around 250 – 350 words, it makes it nice and easy to read.Ubizane South Africa

3) Add awesome visuals, if you need some, make some or ask your friends or family for pictures from travels they have been on to use in your blog. You can even use vintage pictures of travels with your family, here is one of me at the Ubizane Game Reserve in South Africa in 1983. Oh! Add links out like I just did with Ubizane, it gives the reader a deeper experience.

4) Tell a story, each blog post should engage the reader with content that is interesting and engaging. Content is what will keep your readers coming back to visit.

5) Tag and Categorise your post. This will make it easier for people to find and navigate your Blog.

6) Just get started already! Even if your story needs work, practice makes progress. Your Travel writing will improve with each Blog you post and remember, once you put it out into the world, you have enriched a community of Travellers who likely care about the same issues as you. Be Brave! Be Bold, Tell your stories and see what happens!

7) Ask your readers to like you, it is easy on WordPress. Add a widget that allows users to “Follow blog by email.” Having a call to action is always a great way to connect with your readers. This way they will get a notification each time you post a blog.  Check out mine on the top right of this page and hey…. follow me. (please)

Happy Blogging, we are all part of the community, no judgment, go for it!

Westjet. I think I’m in Love.

Westjet. I think I’m in Love.

IMG_6171I fly a lot. Maybe not as much as the road warriors that travel for business, but by leisure traveler standards, I guess I am a frequent flyer. Travelling in economy class seems to be my price point so how do I determine if the airline is any good? I feel there are two stages of airline experience:

1) The customer service agents at the airport.

2)  The people on the aircraft.

Travel makes people CRANKY. Any airline that does not recognize this with “anti cranky” measures will face all sorts of Customer Relations issues.

The gang at Westjet realize that fun feels good, that joy begets joy, and that when you feel good about the company you work for, you pass that goodwill on to your passengers. They see the value in happy. When you board a Westjet flight and look around, you typically see happy staff and happy guests. You feel like you are on board for an experience, rather than just transportation. You feel good. IMG_5841

Recently on a flight YYC-YYZ, there was a delay, 45 mins or so due to technical issues. Westjet, rather than strand us at the airport any longer, brought a brand new 737-800 out of the hangar.  It did not have seat back monitors but they did offer tablets. When the flight attendant explained there would be no in flight entertainment, he did so in a really nice lighthearted way and promised the passengers some “other” in flight distractions. People were not angry, they did not complain, they felt good.  Westjet had acknowledged that some people had been inconvenienced by the delay and now had no entertainment for the flight home.

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About a half an hour into the flight, the pilot made a few announcements and then acknowledged the lack of in flight entertainment. It was mid August, the super moon was in full phase so he announced he was going to “Show us the Moon” He turned the plane to the right so that all sitting on my side of the aircraft could catch a glimpse of the moon. Then he turned the plane to the left for the other side. This simple act, probably burned a bit of fuel but was goodwill gold. It made each and every guest feel like the were special, important and worthy of the airlines time. Cool move guys, really cool.

I tweeted the picture of the moon (above)  and had a reach of over 15 000 people, through retweets ever since. That means at least 15 000 people are saying they like Westjet too. The marketing implications of acts like this are huge and Westjet knows it. That is why they empower their staff to make decisions that ultimately lead to wins.

Westjet, with your great customer service, passionate employees who care about their Guests, and happy feelings all around, I think it must be true, I am in love! Keep up the great work.

Up next: Hotel Review of The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise..I Promise!

Past Grads, Jack Johnson and Commitment

In the past two weeks I have heard from some of my Grads, whose success stories have put wind in my sails.  I had the privilege of hearing Malcolm Gladwell speak at the “Art of Marketing” conference in Toronto,  and finally got to see Jack Johnson, play some of my favorite music at his concert in YTO.  I am feeling pretty upbeat about life and the future in general.

The Tourism industry also  seems pretty up beat, Air Canada Rouge has just announced non stop service from YYZ-HNL which is thrilling to those of us in Toronto that are in love with Hawaii…IMG_2206

 

What do I take away from Gladwell, Johnson and my always inspiring Grads? Be creative, be passionate and be committed, because when you commit, your dreams come true.  Gladwell, so eloquently reminded us at the Marketing conference, that creativity is easily found,  it is the courage to commit, to dig deep and be conscientious about meeting your goals that will lead you there. Are you conscientiously committed? If so, you are almost there, just keep going.

 

What makes a great travel blog?

As I sat down in front of my computer to start marking student’s travel blogs, I had a stack of Rubrics sitting next to me. There were certain things that students had to do to achieve marks. They needed tags, categories and three well written Blog articles that were approximately 250 words long.  What I didn’t ask for is PASSION.

Its hard to quantify passion. When you read a blog you can tell, “Ya, this kid has passion. its great to see what they are doing with their Travel niche,” or “Man, this guy is just putting in the required effort to pass this course.”

Which one are you?  I for one, am all about passion. Too bad there isn’t a rubric for that.   Here is a picture of me, at the top of the hill in Vezenobres, France 2010, thinking, passionately, that when I finish this run, I need a glass of wine. Live with passion, it just reads better.

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