Expedia Blogger Day
While I’m not comparing Expedia President Scott Durchslag to Jerry Maguire, the sports agent in the 1996 film played by Tom Cruise, the phrase “help me, help you,” did come to mind during our Monday afternoon meeting at Expedia corporate headquarters this December. Expedia executives brought together travel bloggers from the US and Canada, as well as Korea and Japan, to discuss Expedia initiatives and open the doors to joint ventures.
“There is an opportunity for the travel industry to be more innovative, really embracing technology,” said Durchslag during a recent PhoCusWright conference moderated by USA Today panelists. Continuing on that theme, Durchslag put his money where his mouth is by flying in bloggers who specialize in travel, social media and technology to open the lines of communication between bloggers and Expedia.
Durchslag, a world traveler and mountain climber, believes that, “travel is transformational. I’m a traveler first,” noted Expedia’s president. During our meeting, Durchslag outlined a five point plan:
*building a new booking engine
*providing a mobile experience
*adding a social element for travelers to share reviews
*creating a “place market”
*introducing a program that rewards loyalty
“The future of travel is web 3.0 and web 3.0 is all about the power of place,” noted Durchslag.
Adding the social element to travel
Travel blogger Spencer Spellman recently partnered with Expedia to launch a weekly Thursday Twitter chat called #Expchat to engage with the travel consumer. This is one way Expedia is branching out to the travel blogger world. Kim Mance appeared in a video for Expedia on the company’s Facebook page announcing their offers with Groupon. As I offer “Insider Tips” on this “What a Trip” blog, I hope to partner with Expedia to promote their activities offered online. In fact, it wasn’t until I booked my airfare and hotel to Seattle, via Expedia, that I became aware that the world’s largest online travel agency even offered activities.
Travel companies slow to embrace bloggers
I am excited to see Expedia’s enthusiasm toward travel bloggers, but I’m not naive in thinking that the travel blogger path is laden with gold. In a Tnooz guest post, Travel Blogger Gary Arndt noted that travel advertisers continue to avoid bloggers. “There are enormous economic potential waiting to be claimed by advertisers, but no one is picking up the ball,” said Arndt. ” I’d like to think that somewhere in a conference room there is a meeting being held where someone is deciding between advertising on blogs vs magazines and newspapers. The reality is, however, blogs aren’t even part of the conversation at this point.”
What’s your take on travel bloggers working with large companies? Will 2012 be the year of the travel blogger?
Expedia Blogger Day 2011 Participants
Justin Bachman, Bloomberg Business Week
Harriet Baskas, Stuck at the Airport
Dave Bouskill & Debra Corbeil, The Planet D
Nancy D. Brown, What a Trip & Writing Horseback – Your Guide to Horseback Riding Vacations
Julia Dimon, Travel Junkie Julia
Johnny Jet, Johnny Jet
Chris Gray Faust, Chris Around the World
George Hobica, Airfare Watchdog
Hitomi Kumasaka, Social Media Labs
Kim Mance, Galavating
Sherry Ott, Otts World
Spencer Spellman, The Traveling Philosopher
Rich Whitaker, Travelllll.com
Article and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown.