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Published on January 2nd, 2012 | by Charu Suri

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“Behind the Scenes” Series: A Q&A with MMGY Global on Working With Travel Bloggers, Tips for Writers & More

Our "Behind the Scenes" Series continues with a Q&A with Chuck Mardiks, Managing Director of MMGY Global's New York Office. Chuck provides us with his valuable insight on working with travel bloggers, his do's and dont's and more. 

 
MMGY Global Website
text-autospace:none”>Q: I've seen Peter Yesawich speak before and feel I have an understanding of the pulse of MMGY Global, but would love your candid take on how your agency views travel bloggers. Do you embrace them? Are they an important part of the travel media landscape? Why or why not?

Chuck Mardiks: There's no doubt that the emergence of digital media has changed the travel media landscape and has created a wealth of new opportunities including the proliferation of travel bloggers. We closely follow key travel and lifestyle blogs and have forged solid relationships with many of them. We certainly embrace those that reach and influence key markets for our clients. We have created some exciting travel blogger-focused campaigns recently that have generated powerful results. 
text-autospace:none”>World's Unluckiest Traveler Contest
text-autospace:none”>For example, for the German National Tourist Office we partnered with #TNI to host niche-focused Twitter parties on food and wine and holiday travel. These parties have resulted in an increase of 48 percent in Twitter followers for Germany in less than six months. For our client Travel Guard we've partnered with #TMOM to host family travel chats and recently held a live Tweet-Up in New York in partnership with #TBEX to announce the winner of our "Worlds' Unluckiest Traveler" contest. The Tweet-Up brought together more than 50 high-caliber travel bloggers who Tweeted in real time about the campaign. They also wrote blog posts following the event on the need/benefit of travel insurance and assistance and Travel Guard's services and products.


Q: What do you look for in a travel blog before you consider extending an invitation for that particular writer for a press trip? Traffic alone? Stats? Writing style?


Traffic is only one metric we take into consideration when vetting a blog. However, compared with traditional media where reach/traffic is more telling, with a blog very often traffic alone can be misleading. It's really much more about about the quality of the content/posts, the audience, the Klout score, potential for outbound links and the influence the blogger has. For example, does the blog attract other high profile bloggers or traditional media? We find often that a smaller, niche-oriented blog can have strong influence with a smaller but more meaningful audience. 
text-autospace:none”>Colorado Tourism Office
text-autospace:none”>A great example is our work with the Colorado Tourism Office, and how we hosted a blogger from DrinkSpirits.com on a press trip to profile the state's growing craft spirits industry as part of the state's vibrant culinary and agritourism scene. Not only did DrinkSpirits run a great piece targeting a focused group of loyal followers and influencers, but it was the springboard for other journalists to discover another side of the culinary scene in Colorado. It ultimately also resulted in a feature in The New York Times T Magazine last month.

Q. What advice would you give to a newbie travel blogger?

Be professional. Keep your blog up-to-date and post quality, relevant content on a regular basis. Show that you are growing and developing a following. Integrate your blog with Facebook and Twitter. This demonstrates that you have a serious commitment to your blog that is beyond just a hobby.

Q. If you invite bloggers on a trip, would you mix traditional journalists and bloggers on the same junket, or separate? Why?

It depends on our objectives for each particular client and situation. Sometimes we mix bloggers on a trip with traditional media so that we have immediate and interactive results from the bloggers and more in-depth feature pieces from the likes of newspapers and magazines. Other times we host a blogger-only trip. For example for our client Renaissance Resorts in Aruba and Curacao, we recently hosted a travel blogger press trip focused on driving real-time coverage that would stimulate seasonal bookings.

Q. What do you admire most about bloggers? Your pet peeves?

I admire anyone who has the talent to tell a compelling story, who takes their craft seriously and treats it as a profession. There are certainly a core group of travel and lifestyle bloggers that fit into this category. Much like their counterparts in the traditional media space they are focused on quality content and accurate reporting and writing; they are true pros. Unfortunately as the barrier to entry for becoming a travel blogger is quite low, there are many who treat it as a hobby, produce lackluster content filled with errors and sloppy writing who are in it just for a free trip. My biggest pet peeve is that we have to spend so much time weeding out those who are not true pros.
Thank you Chuck. If you are interested in participating in the "Behind the Scenes" Series, please email me at Charu AT Butterflydiary DOT Com. 
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14 Responses to “Behind the Scenes” Series: A Q&A with MMGY Global on Working With Travel Bloggers, Tips for Writers & More

  1. Andi says:

    Great post and very insightful.  I have a question.  How do you get the attention of firms like MMGY? Do they scout you or do you scout them (or register with them) etc.?  I have always been curious as to how to start working with agencies like this that can connect bloggers with high quality brands and opportunities.

    • Charu Suri says:

      Hey Andi, so wonderful to hear from you! Actually I have no idea–some of them I see active on social media so I approach them for this Q&A, but generally regarding trips etc. they seem to scout me based on my content and relevance. It’s I think a combination of just writing and getting engaged on SM channels. I think Chuck’s points are really helpful in this aspect…hope this helps!

  2. Andi says:

    Hi Chari, thanks for the response, it is what I basically thought, but you have confirmed it ;-)

  3. Interesting to hear Chuck's perspective from an agency on working with bloggers.  As a travel writer/blogger and PR professional I know that many agencies use database services such as Cision and MyMediaInfo to create targeted media lists. The more media outlets a blogger establishes, the more likely they are to end up on a media list with a public relations agency.
    You might find this blog post helpful, too: http://www.nancydbrown.com/2010/01/29/how-to-work-with-travel-bloggers.html.

  4. It is the first time I see an interview like this. And I really enjoyed it!

  5. Fantastic interview with MMGY and full of helpful insights for all of us travel bloggers!  I already sent out as a guide to what agencies are looking for from travel bloggers!    

  6. appreciate the insights; thanks for posting. And now a  oast to a promising new year for travel bloggers everywhere. Viva!
    stay adventurous, Craig

  7. Andrea says:

    Fantastic idea for a series. I loved learning more about what's important to travel marketers looking to work effectively with bloggers!

  8. Pingback: Traveler Tuesday – Charu of Butterfly Diary - Misadventures with Andi

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