It’s certainly been a busy couple of weeks for the online travel community, with bloggers, developers, start ups and long-established travel companies chewing the cud together on the future of travel.
Last week, for example, the UK’s blogging community prised their fingers from their laptops for a get together, for the very first time, as a defined group. The UK blogger’s Blogcamp08 coincided nicely with London’s World Travel Market, giving bloggers a chance to network and debate with journalists, travel PR professionals and SEO experts. Things actually became heated at times as trained journalists jostled editorially with bloggers and PRs justified the baby steps that their clients are taking to influence the mix of reader generated content in social networks. Thankfully, the cooling qualities of the great British pint of lager eased the atmosphere, allowing a healthy level of business card swapping and mutual appreciation. If you want to follow the debates further the following bloggers have posted write ups of the evening; Travel Rants (the organiser), Sandwagon (yours truly), Travolution, Travelblather and The Trailbeater.
Blogcamp-the-sequel is on the cards. UK-based bloggers should look out for it and I’ll post details to Written Road as soon as I have them.
Then this week on the other side of the Atlantic, start ups and industry innovators took the spot light in Hollywood, for PhoCusWright08. It’s fair to say that the online travel world in the States is far more developed than that of the UK, with presenters including Tripit and Triporati taking the stage, whilst ranks of bloggers and Tweeters communicating the highs, lows, good ideas and ‘oh dears’ with the outside world.
YouTube has 4 pages of videos of the conference and the TwitterSearch thread makes interesting reading.
Squeezing in another meeting of minds in the online travel world is V-Jam, London on Friday 28th November. The assembled experts at this workshop will be investigating ‘how a process of managed user-led open innovation can benefit both corporate entities and their customers – in this case, Virgin Atlantic. I’ll be in attendance and reporting back, hopefully with insights for writers and contributors looking ahead into the infinite, if not fully defined, opportunities available in the online world. If you’re UK based and interested in attending why not register here.
Next week I’m planning to share news from V-Jam and my ponderings on ‘A print editor’s utopian view of online travel content’ (yes indeed!)
In the meantime it would be great to hear from you guys on the above and also on these questions that I drive myself slightly mad trying to answer. All comments very, very welcome.
Are these exciting times for all travel contributors?
Where do travel contributors begin when crossing over from print jobs to equivalent online jobs?
Can we seriously make a career from writing quality prose when ‘content’ is given away for free and when subjective customer-generated opinion takes the place of expert, objective analysis?
Will my passion, expertise and editorial skill by taken as seriously in the online world as it is in print?
Speak soon. KP