September saw the launch of travel blogging and media news site Travelllll.com. Co-founder Alastair McKenzie, Vice-Chairman of the British Guild of Travel Writers, believes the travel blogging community has begun to transform itself into a travel blogging industry, organising itself with online networks and forums, social meet-ups and self-improving multi-day conferences. Alastair says “we recognised that, as for any start-up industry, there was a real need for a ‘trade paper’… only without the paper.”
Travelllll.com has two audiences; the one they write for and the one who they know reads them. “We write about travel blogging for an audience of travel bloggers. They range from very capable journalists (joggers) who use blogging to market themselves as ‘centres of authority’ in their subject area and professional bloggers who run ‘monetized’ sites with big statistics, to experienced smaller niche bloggers and new bloggers, finding their way”. However, Alastair acknowledges the wider interest in social media and blogging. He predicts a large number of travel industry professionals will read Travelllll.com too, PRs with travel clients, tourism organisations, and transport and travel providers.
Alastair believes that a great social media presence is important for any start-up company. Travelllll.com is focusing on building a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and stumbleupon but also has accounts, not yet active, on YouTube, Google+, Audioboo, Gowalla and other networks. While Travelllll.com’s Twitter account looks set to exceed the number of followers of its staff members, each also have their own respectable followings on individual accounts. Alastair said that “for the most part, we will use our social media accounts to carry on the conversations from our post comments and start new ones on smaller issues and side topics”.
As a start up, Travelllll.com’s services and products in the medium to long-term future depend on building their authority and brand in the short term. “We think we’ve launched a very sophisticated platform that’s had a great deal of our own custom development work. With it, we need to concentrate on producing content that our audience really want to consume.” Travelllll.com looks to innovate through technology and also work with consumer brands that are relevant to the people they’re talking to on a daily basis.
Alastair says “For now, our number one goal is to have every travel blogger, PR, tourist board representative & travel provider to load up Travelllll.com each morning with their cup of coffee to see what’s new. That would make us very happy.”
Making the Pitch: Tips and Advice for Pitching to Travelllll.com
I’ve already passed the word around most specialist travel PRs in the UK about Travelllll.com and what we are looking for. I’ve been dealing with them as a travel journalist and editor for over twenty years and each year for the last 9 years I’ve compiled the 2,700 travel industry listings in the British Guild of Travel Writers yearbook, so I know most of them.
For Travelllll.com I don’t want ordinary product and destination press releases or story-idea pitches – we don’t cover consumer travel or trade travel stories. I’m only interested in travel blogger-specific news. I want to know what social media marketing initiatives they are working on that bloggers might be interested in, about blog trips, about research they are doing into social media marketing & ROI, etc. If they are planning a blogtrip or a mixed fam trip of traditional journalists and bloggers, I want to know about it.
Our focus is on bloggers blogging in English, so I also welcome news from international PRs, DMOs, etc about initiatives involving American, Canadian, South African, NZ & Australian bloggers. If you are running a blogger conference in Auckland, or you are inviting Canadian bloggers on a trip to Argentina, that is of interest to us too.
The one area I am weak in is the non-travel sectors, for example Gear and Tech. We want to know about new comms gadgets, software and techniques that travel bloggers can use – mobile wifi routers, tablets, solar-charging, mobile apps, new international roaming charge offers.
For all of this, email is the best way to get in touch. I’m not keen on being interrupted by the phone.