Most travel blogs tend to be by a young backpacker with a limited budget. Well it doesn’t have to be that way. Today I would like you to meet one of the most successful travel bloggers on the web. He has been blogging for years and focuses on luxury travel.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
From a very young age, we used to have a family camping holiday in France each year.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
I recently went to Lithuania and was pleasantly surprised by my experience there. Lots of countryside and pine forests (something like 30% of the country is forested), very friendly people who are fiercely proud of their country, and a quality to the accommodation that you might not expect from the Baltics.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
A few but have thankfully generally managed to avoid trouble. At a campsite outside Rome once, I found myself next to a tent of drunken Italians. Things got quite heated among them and there ended up being an unpleasant fight involving a broken bottle. I also had my camera stolen in Naples (on a different trip), so unfortunately not always the fondest memories from Italy!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
For sheer poverty and basic standards of living, my travels across Nepal and into India a couple of months ago were eye opening.
It would be unfair to say it’s the worst place I’ve been as the scenery was stunning and many of the people very friendly, but it was sad to see such dire living conditions for so many.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I know it probably sounds cheesy, but home. I live in NW England, between two of the country’s most beautiful National Parks the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I don’t have a bucket list as such, but there are a few places I’d like to go to when the opportunity arises. Iceland, Santorini and New Zealand, for example.
Can you imagine life without travel?
I could imagine it but would sooner have the freedom to enjoy it and all that it entails.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I guess I’d be doing online marketing still, but would get increasingly frustrated that I wasn’t getting the opportunity to visit all these wonderful places.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
A Luxury Travel Blog
When did you begin your website?
28th December 2005
What do you think has been the factors in making your website so popular?
I think I got in early, found a niche that nobody was covering that well at the time and kept persevering. Blogs are hard work at first particularly nowadays that you’ve got to keep on working on them and coming up with new content… every day, ideally.
You’ve been in the travel industry for over 25 years. What type of jobs have you performed in the industry?
For almost 20 of those years, since the very early days of the Web, I have been involved in internet marketing for the tourist industry, creating and promoting websites for hotels and other accommodation providers, tourist boards, tourist attractions and so on. I’ve also been quite heavily involved in the affiliate industry, making a living from commissions on hotel bookings, etc. Prior to all of this, I’ve done everything from working in pubs and restaurants to distributing tourist literature in my local, and was a Partner in a very successful self-catering (vacation rental) business. Today, I also run another small self-catering business with my wife, at www.kendalcottages.com
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
Although my blog is a hobby and labour of love, and didn’t start out trying to be a money earner especially, it has since very much turned into a business so I wouldn’t be being entirely honest if I didn’t confess to it being, at least in part, a financially motivated project nowadays. That said, it still remains a hobby and interest, so I am very lucky in that I enjoy what I do.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
At the time I started it, it was one of the few blogs of its kind the focus on luxury was what really set it apart. Nowadays there are others doing similar things, but what makes A Luxury Travel Blog different is the sheer volume, quality and depth of content (we have now had over 300 different contributors since I started) and the following that has developed as a result (300,000 followers on Twitter and around 100,000 on Facebook).
Why did you choose to focus on the “luxury” side of travel?
When I started my travel blog, almost all the blogs out there were from backpackers. That niche seemed to be well covered and my days of inter railing and student travel were largely behind me. I’d always been interested in the luxury travel industry, and been involved in it to some extent, so that seemed like an obvious niche to focus upon.
What do you look for when choosing a location/place to stay?
Most of my travels are with family so we tend to look for somewhere that’ll be both fun for them and yet still interesting for us. Our last couple of trips have been to Ireland and Lithuania.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Yes, I offer advertising and online marketing services to tourism businesses (and in particular to luxury tourism businesses).
What has been your most successful blog post/article to date and what was it about?
Historically, the most popular post ever during the lifetime of the blog has been this one:
It’s been viewed more than 50,000 times but is rather dated now. (It was published before we added the Twitter counter which is why the retweet figure displayed isn’t all that high.)
Of our more recent posts, this one has been the most popular, helped by the fact that it made it on to the front page of Digg:
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I’ve rather enjoyed the collaborative posts I’ve done with other travel bloggers on some of the stranger items that they’ve eaten on their travels as they have been rather insightful! You can view them here and here.
These have proved rather popular and we have another one planned.
Is there anything that you can’t travel without?
Besides obvious items such as my passport and money, I’d be a little lost without my smartphone and camera.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Don’t try to do too much. You’re better off spending a week or two in a city, and really getting to know it, than you are trying to pack a whole country and all its key sights into just 3 days.
What has travel taught you?
That it’s a big world out there and that there’s an awful lot we don’t know.
You are the director of a company which manages over 200 travel related websites, how do you manage your time?
With difficulty! I’m actually scaling down with a lot of these projects at the moment so I can focus more and more on the blog.
Quick fire questions: Favourite airline? Virgin Atlantic
Favourite country? Greece
Favourite city? Barcelona
Favourite beach? Mnemba Island, off Zanzibar
Favourite food? Seafood paella
Favourite language? Spanish
Please provide the following:
Website url? www.aluxurytravelblog.com
Twitter handle? @luxury__travel
Facebook page? www.facebook.com/luxurytravel
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/106483048508230954628