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Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 11 : 23 AM [IST]

The Travel Bloggers’ Growing Clout

When the late risers in the travel industry start congratulating themselves over their forward-looking moves of turning conscious of travel bloggers as potential ‘tools’ of promotion, they come across a surprising realisation. The world is changing so fast, that even the term ‘blogging’ earns supercilious smirks from the millennial generation. However, it would be naive to believe it forthright.

Travellers across a variable demography are relying more on direct comment, social media groups and buzz to firm up travel decisions. Local destinations, state tourism boards and even accommodation aggregators need to embrace the power of user-generated content over traditional promotions. 85% of millennials check multiple sites before booking their travel and almost 50% book travel on their smart phones. A staggering high percentage post their travel experience in various on social media even as they are still travelling. The surprise here is that the older travellers are also fast catching upon this practice.

Thus, while ‘blogging’ might seem old hat to many, the strength of this medium and style should never be underestimated. The reason is that blogging is evolving, morphing and entropying faster by the day.

A travel bloggers’ meet in Bengaluru in September might as well be the first serious attempt at institutionalising this rather informal activity for the Indian travel trade. Unfortunately, in certain echelons of the industry, the Skal clubs and top honcho exclusive socials is the end-all and be-all of business networking. Neglecting the rough and tumble of connecting with the everyday travel commentator is supposed to be left to the front line foot soldiers of the marketing departments and zealous 20 somethings of PR firms.

It would be well to know that the time is ripe for a direct contact with the world’s influencers in the social media space. Oddly, the old school still conceals skepticism and even some scorn for the blogger and social commentator. Fly-by-night and wannabe freeloaders also muddy the waters for the serious practitioners.

Fortunately, sifting the grain from the chaff isn’t too tedious a process. That the Bengaluru bloggers meet might open doors for a better understanding for destinations and hospitality organisations the mid rung of the industry is a given. The all-knowing major players can also get close encounters with this constantly evolving medium and its practitioners.

The days of ignoring these influencers are truly gone forever.

Anurag Yadav
Industry Expert

The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.
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