What to Do If You Run a Travel Blog During COVID-19
Travel blogs may seem like they’re a dime a dozen nowadays, and to some extent, they are. The rise of nomadic writers and influencers has led to a burst in travel blogs – and readers are usually ready to gobble all of this exciting content right up.
However, the introduction of COVID-19 (and the resounding global pandemic response) has thrown a huge wrench into the average travel blogger’s plans. How do you write about vacationing and exploring the globe when the overarching message lately has been to “STAY HOME”?
Research conducted by IPX 1031 found that 37 percent of Americans have put travel plans on hold since August of 2020. Roughly 40 percent have canceled vacations, and another 64 percent reported feeling “not safe” when flying on a commercial airplane during COVID-19.
So, the big question is, how do you produce valuable, relevant content on a travel blog when very few people are traveling?
Although it will be challenging, it’s not impossible to keep your travel-based blog afloat during these strange times. We’ve got a few tips and tricks that will help you out, and we’re sharing them today.
Tip #1: Incorporate COVID News
It’s obvious that COVID has had a massive impact on all things travel-related: hotels, airlines, travelers, airports, tourist attractions, tours, museums, etc.
If you are one of the few people traveling right now, or you plan to do so in the future, one of the biggest things you’re researching is what is open and how COVID has impacted various travel aspects.
Image Source: Nomadic Matt
This is your chance to educate others. Keep up with the latest airline restrictions. Instead of talking about “The 10 Best Museums in New York,” talk about the museums that are actually open. Rather than sharing cheap flight deals, talk about the latest updates with different airline companies.
Tell people what it’s really like to travel during the pandemic – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Essentially, you need to switch gears and focus more on COVID-19 travel updates – rather than on travel inspiration.
Tip #2: Take a Look at Your Most Popular Content
No one wants to talk about (or read about) COVID-19 every single day on your blog. On the days when you’re not sharing updates and you need a topic; we suggest revisiting some of your old content.
Now isn’t the time to take risks with your traffic. If you were a chef, we’d tell you to stick to your most tried-and-true, beloved recipes. That’s why we recommend drawing people back into your blog with some of your previous content that was loved and shared.
Scroll through your archive of content. What was the most popular topic, theme, or post-type? Can you replicate or reshare the information there?
If you’re not sure how to determine which of your old posts are the most popular, there are a few ways to do so:
- Check the number of comments. More engagement = a more popular post.
- Look at the number of trackbacks to determine how far your post reached.
- Use tools like Google Analytics to actually see which posts received the most attention.
You should also conduct keyword research to see which terms have best benefited you over the years. Which phrases and words have drawn people to your site, and how can you play off them once again?
Image Source: Neverending Footsteps
For example, you could follow in this travel blog’s footsteps and do a sort of round-up post of previously documented destinations. Not only will this allow you to dig back through old blog posts and incorporate them in the article, but it will also allow you to write about travel destinations in the past (pre-COVID) without sounding irrelevant.
Update your lists of favorite hotels. Revisit some of your best old stories or most popular packing lists. Turn to your bread-and-butter type posts during this unprecedented time, rather than experimenting with different topics in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.
Tip #3: Talk About Airline and Hotel Refunds
We just mentioned how many people are canceling their travel plans – and these travelers are going to need help navigating the process of getting refunds or credits during this crazy time.
Nowadays, up to 30 percent of travelers use travel blogs for travel advice. They’re going to turn to you, a travel expert, for help when dealing with airline protocols or hotel cancellation policies. It’s important that you be there for your followers when they most need your guidance.
Image Source: The Points Guy
If you don’t know the answers to people’s questions, find out. Stay up to date on most refund or reimbursement policies. Learn all you can about canceling trips in 2020 and 2021. The more prepared you are to guide your followers, the better your travel blog will do during the pandemic.
Tip #4: Give People Safe Travel Options
Many people would argue that it’s highly irresponsible of travel bloggers to recommend any travel right now, and they might be right. However, as some destinations open up, there will be travelers looking for ways to vacation responsibly, whether we like it or not.
Your job as a travel blogger is to inform people how to travel safely. Obviously, you can make the standard recommendations such as washing hands and wearing masks, but you need to go beyond that.
Write posts that detail highly specific ways to protect yourself and others. Encourage people to seek safer forms of travel, like road tripping rather than flying. When possible, give them tips for curbing their wanderlust without fully leaving quarantine, such as Kristin does on her blog Hopscotch the Globe.
Image Source: Hopscotch the Globe
If you really want to get people talking, you could even make recommendations on how to travel without getting off your couch. The Vagabros recently shared an impressive tale about their virtual tour of Machu Picchu on their blog, which is 100 percent safe and extremely relevant to these times.
Image Source: Vagabrothers
Whatever you do, don’t encourage people to travel as though there isn’t a pandemic. This will only earn you condemnation from many followers. Additionally, it’s irresponsible for any travel professional to act as though travel is entirely safe at the moment.
Tip #5: Write About Your Hometown
Our final word of advice is to write about your surrounding area rather than far-off destinations. Although this might sound boring, when else would you have the time and drive to make your hometown sound interesting?
Many travel bloggers love writing about faraway places but skip over some of the most local, easily accessible places. Use this as an opportunity to fully document and learn about your town, city, state, or country.
Image Source: Adventures With Luda
You could also take things a step further and encourage your followers to do the same. Instead of telling them where to go abroad or how to pack their suitcase for a month-long getaway, push them to explore locally. This will provide them with travel suggestions that are both safe and achievable during this age of social distancing and careful travel.
Image Source: Destination Detours and Dreams
It’s estimated that international travel may not return to “normal” until at least 2021, if not later. If you’re going to wait to put new content on your blog until you can write about destinations thousands of miles away, your followers won’t be seeing any new posts for many months to come.
COVID-19 has likely made running a travel blog a whole new beast, but don’t lose all hope just yet. There are still plenty of options for writers and content creators in the travel realm – you just need to get a little creative.
Tap into what you’re good at. Share highly relevant news and updates pertaining to travel. Give the people what they want – and need – during these strange times. It’s the best way to keep your blog chugging along until travel becomes a common occurrence once more.