Dr Paul Johnson created A Luxury Travel Blog after working in the travel industry for over 30 years. Positioned as a vital resource for the luxury travel industry, the blog has a team of over 500 writers and guest contributors. Providing a wealth of knowledge which encompasses everything you need to know about luxury destinations, including villas, hotels, resorts, cruises, restaurants and even luxury day trips – the blog provides travellers with beautiful and exotic destinations such as Costa Rica, Dubai, Barbados, private island resorts and more. In this spotlight, Dr Paul Johnson who is number one on our luxury travel ranking chats to us about working as a full-time blogger, the joys of travelling across the world, why he choose to focus on the luxury side of travel, and the campaigns he likes to work on.
How did you get into blogging? I have always loved travel and have worked within the industry for 30 years. I have been Director of a Web design and internet marketing business for around 20 years and started blogging in 2004 when our first son was born. There were very few travel blogs around back then and, those that did exist, were mostly catering for people travelling on a budget. In 2006 I took the plunge with A Luxury Travel Blog – it was initially just a labour of love that I did in my lunch hour but, over time, evolved into my full-time job.
What has been your favourite places that you’ve visited so far? I find this really difficult to answer as I’ve enjoyed so many amazing experiences. Our honeymoon in Tanzania was amazing, as was our time as a young family in South Africa. I’ve also loved my time in Greenland, Japan, Nepal and the Maldives.
What places are still on your bucket list? I would love to visit Iceland and New Zealand. Santorini is also a Greek island that has been on my wishlist for some time.
What is your advice to people who want to experience luxury travel? Luxury travel can be very different things to different people so it’s a little difficult to give ‘one size fits all’ advice. A little planning goes a long way, of course, establish what you want from a trip and do plenty of research before you travel.
Where is your pick for the best luxury destination of 2017? Canada is the place to be this year as they celebrate their 150th anniversary. Head out of the cities and explore Canada’s amazing, vast landscapes. There will also be lots of events to mark 150 years since Canada became a self-governing dominion.
Where is your favourite place in the world? Home. I get asked this question a lot and, whilst I love travelling and all the opportunities that it brings, I’m also very lucky in that I live in a stunning location, sandwiched between two of the UK’s most beautiful national parks – the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. I love spending time here as well as travelling around the world.
Why did you choose to focus on the “luxury” side of travel? I did plenty of backpacking in my younger days but was at a stage in my life where I was working long hours and looking for a little more R&R when I did travel. I also noticed it was an area that wasn’t being covered in the early days of travel blogging so it made sense to fill that gap.
What has been your most successful blog post/article to date and what was it about? I guess that depends on how you measure success. If you mean simply, the “most viewed” then it would be this sponsored post for TravelPony. To date, it’s been viewed over 820,000 times.
What has travel taught you? Travel has made me aware of the wider world and taught me how culturally diverse we all are. I believe travel is one of the best forms of education and, for this reason, love being able to experience my travels with our children.
What kinds of campaigns do you like to work on? I particularly enjoy the campaigns where I am given freedom to interpret a client’s brief rather than having to work to overly-prescriptive guidelines. For example, when I worked with All Nippon Airways, they wanted me to spend some time in Tokyo and show how the city could be used as a stop-over when flying on to another destination (in my case, Singapore), but the time at each location could be spent as I wished. The result was some great content and the campaign generated over 300,000 page views for them.
How do you like to work with PRs? And how can they improve their blogger outreach? I like PR companies to contact me on a personal level and only if they have a budget to work with. What I don’t like is for PR companies to just send me press releases (often with no prior contact or personal note whatsoever) in the empty hope that I’ll just copy and paste it onto my blog. That’s not going to happen!
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? This month I am doing some work for an international car hire company where the remit is to pick out really unique culinary experiences in my local area. I hope to go out on a tractor over the sinking sands of Morecambe Bay to do some shrimping, visit a pub on an island where the landlord is also the king of the island, eat squirrel at a Michelin-starred restaurant and visit the third highest pub in England. It’s part of a wider campaign and I’m also responsible for co-ordinating five other travel bloggers who are doing the same for five other target markets (Benelux, France, Germany, Italy and Spain).