How to get paid to be a travel blogger

Posted by Andre Van Kets on 17 September 2013

It’s every travel blogger’s dream to get paid to do the two things they love most: travel and write.

The question is, what must travel bloggers do to get paid (i.e. convince companies to part with their money in exchange for the stories, photos and videos which bloggers are so eager and able to deliver)?

Recent research into what South African travel companies look for when hiring or contracting travel bloggers reveals that bloggers need to be more than just great storytellers or photographers to get the nod for all­-expenses-­paid travel gigs.

Bloggers need to be highly professional and show that they understand the objectives of the travel company they’re hoping to work with.

The main findings of the research –­­ a survey of 26 content and marketing managers in the tourism and hospitality industry ­­ is summarised in the table below:

Travel blogger characteristics ranked from most to least important

Survey participants were encouraged to share their experiences too.

Shaun Macdonald who runs Focus Online, a digital marketing agency specialising in the tourism industry, was one of the survey participants. When hiring or contracting bloggers and writers, he looks for “a sense of humour, the right attitude and a team player”.
Joy-­Anne Bromilow of The Portfolio Collection favours “originality and a great, well-told story over perfectly written soulless copy every day”.


The bottom line

Companies in South Africa’s tourism industry look for writers and bloggers that (1) meet deadlines, (2) understand the travel brand’s objectives, (3) respond well to critique, and (4) are punctual with emails and correspondence.
Bloggers should (5) have excellent grammar and spelling, (6) have a unique voice, (7) first-­hand experience of the destinations that they are writing about, and (8) have a portfolio of their previous work to earn the rights to travel on someone else’s dime.


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