Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The end of the press trip?

With however many millions of blogs out there, it’s no surprise that there are quite a few devoted to frequent flier points. It might be more of a surprise that 20 bloggers from FlyerTalk.com were invited onto OpenSkies inaugural flight recently so that they could blog about their experience.

I wonder if there were any print journalists on board?

Talking to Chris Vukelich about the airline’s distribution and web strategy for today’s Travolution news story, it was evident that the blog on its web site will play a big role in the development of the OpenSkies brand and business. Having helped out already, the blog will not be forgotten when its digital campaign gets more tactical.

I mentioned print journalists early because it reminded me of something which came up at the PhoCusWright Bloggers Convention at ITB earlier this year. The consensus was that it was okay to invite bloggers on ‘press trips’ if the organiser of the trip felt the coverage on the blog was worth it.

So was it worth OpenSkies’ while giving away 20 return flights (and a weekend in Paris)? We’re back to where we started – how do you quantify non-transactional engagement with an online community when there are however many millions of blogs out there?

Martin Cowen, chief writer, Travolution


Darren Cronian said...

In the last couple of months I’ve had four requests similar to the one you mention (family holiday to a theme park in Spain, new state of the art office chair, free weekend stay at any hotel in the Lake District, and new style luggage) in return for a blog post written about my experience or thoughts on the item.

I’ve said no to every request.

My family, friends and work colleagues think I’ve lost the plot, but, how are my readers going to trust what I write if I am swayed by freebies. As bloggers we work hard, in our spare time, we are not journalists, so you cannot blame them for trying to get something out of it.

Alex Bainbridge said...

I have no problem with what OpenSkies did - indeed it looks like a great trip and nice PR.

Martin has it wrong though... these were not 20 bloggers but 20 community members. When they post on the community they are posting / commenting under the FlyerTalk brand - not under their own, independent, brand (like a blogger would).

Hence this makes the situation quite different to what Darren describes. Actually, it makes them much more like print journalists (who always write under someone elses brand!)....

Anonymous said...

Journalists and bloggers arguing about press trips. Oh my heart bleeds.

Hotel Blogs said...

I have no problem with that at all. I know bloggers outside the travel industry being offered the latest iPhone or the latest gadget in return of...nothing. Because they are early adopters, they will spread the word through their blog or their network evntually. So the tactic is good. I have also been offered some free nights but it also happened in previous jobs as well. So nothing wrong with that either.

happy hotelier said...

I have no problem whatsoever with the freebies as long as the blogger indicates it in his review/feedback.

Recently I was invited at one of them so called Pod Hotels opening parties in Amsterdam and got a night free of sleeping and some food.

Pod Hotels happen to draw my attention.

I get and got other invitations as well and would accept if the subject interests me and time permitting.

In this case it didn't cost me more (like travel fares) than my precious time for which in a former life I used to charge clients by the hour at rates varying from US $ 250.- going up to US $ 600.-.... From that perspective my mindset is always that the freebie in question is always of a lesser value than the value of my time for which my audience gets my view...

Anonymous said...

Cash for comments.......what will the anklets think ?