Dr Paul Johnson is the brains behind A Luxury Travel Blog, which has once again been named the number one luxury travel blog in the UK. Covering the finer side of global travel, Paul covers the most luxurious hotels, resorts and restaurants around the world.
We caught up with Paul to find out more about the travel industry, his favourite experiences around the world and how he works with PRs and brands.
How do you describe what you do to other people?
I tell people as it is – I run a blog about luxury travel. I don’t like to dress it up with confusing terms such as ‘travel influencer’ or, worse still, ‘digital media architect/guru’ and other horrible terminology.
How do social channels work with your blog? Are any more important than others?
Our social media channels are very much used to drive traffic to our blog. We have over a million followers across all channels, with Twitter (715k) and Facebook (275k) being the most important two.
Do you feel travel blogging is segmented (luxury/standard/local/family/budget etc)?
For sure, there is a lot of segmentation within the travel blogging industry, and I would say it’s very much necessary. People will tend to read and visit a blog because its area of specialism resonates with their own specific interests.
What’s the best balance between visual and written content?
I don’t think there is a best balance, really. It will be different for different people. Some people will prefer to focus on the text while others will opt for graphically-heavy posts. Personally, I like to intersperse my articles with occasional, good quality images. From the perspective of a blogger, it’s important to have plenty of content for SEO reasons, while great quality imagery always makes a huge difference but must be incorporated without adding significantly to the page’s load time, in my opinion.
What’s your favourite hotel in the world?
I have been lucky enough to stay in many of the world’s top hotels, from the Burj al Arab in Dubai to Raffles in Singapore, that I couldn’t possibly pick just one. I do tend to prefer luxury hotels that are smaller and more intimate, and not overly fussy and pretentious, though.
Which airline is the best (and why)?
I very much enjoyed my flights with All Nippon Airways (ANA) when working on a campaign with them. It has been rated a Skytrax 5-star airline for seven consecutive years now and remains the only 5-star rated airline in Japan.
How conscious are you of political upheaval and local issues when travelling?
Very conscious. I would go so far as to say it would be irresponsible not to be. To visit a country with little knowledge of any ongoing political turmoil would be a little foolhardy in my opinion.
Do you accept press releases?
If you mean, do we copy and paste press releases on to our website, then the answer is ‘no’ (although, despite this, many PR companies will email them to us, without any introduction, with that expectation). If it’s the right fit for our blog and there’s budget to work with, what we will do though is work from press releases and other material to craft unique content into a form that we can use on the blog.
What’s the best PR campaign/collaboration you’ve worked on?
Again, I have enjoyed many different collaborations. One that stands out for me is a collaboration I did with Land Rover many years ago, where we drove four prototype Land Rovers from Kathmandu, right across Nepal, and to New Delhi. This was a 10-day collaboration and part of a much wider project from Land Rover (the vehicles were driven from the UK along the Silk Route, eventually finishing in Mumbai).
What other blogs do you read?
I am so busy with A Luxury Travel Blog (we have had more than 700 different contributors to date and recently passed our 10,000th post on the blog!) that I rarely have time to read other blogs, sadly. Rather than following specific blogs, those that I do read are ones that I just stumble upon from time to time, be it through search or social media.