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10 good intentions for A Luxury Travel Blog in 2019… plus your suggestions, please!

Happy New Year! We hope all our readers have had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to the year ahead. We also want to thank you for your past support and take this opportunity to share with you some of our plans for the site for the year ahead. 2019 is set to be a big year for A Luxury Travel Blog and we’d like to tell you just some of the things that we have in the pipeline. We’d also like to hear from you, our readers and followers, about what changes you would like to see on the site. Do you wish to hear more about certain destinations? Would you like to see more of a personal feel to the blog? Would you like us to focus more on higher end luxury or on more affordable luxury? Are there any new regular features you’d like to see us introduce such as the luxury travel news round-ups we started last year? Whatever it is you’d like to see more of, or done better, please let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, here are just some of the things we’re going to be giving a greater emphasis in the coming 12 months: Travel more Our boys’ sailing commitments in 2018 have meant that we haven’t gone on as many overseas trips in the last year. Even their World Championships this year were held in the UK! Now, though, they have moved to a new boat (an RS200 for any race sailing enthusiasts who happen to be reading) but they are still learning in it and will tend to take part in occasional, local weekend events, rather than lots of national events that take us up and down the entire length of the UK. We’d like to therefore use this new-found time to see more of the world, and go on some really memorable trips. The Maldives is looking like it could be on the cards again, but we have lots of other exciting opportunities on the horizon, too (watch this space!). Attend more travel industry events In recent years, I’ve been a regular attendee at World Travel Market, and have, in the past, attended occasional events such as ILTM, IMM, Luxperience, Pure and the World Tourism Awards. This year alone I am already planning to attend Travmedia’s social influencer sit-up event (in London), ITB Berlin (in Berlin of course), the Arabian Travel Market (in Dubai), Luxperience (in Sydney) and World Travel Market (also in London). If you are attending any of these events and would like to meet up, please get in touch. Speak more Last year I was kindly invited to speak at an event held by the Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau at World Travel Market. Whilst public speaking isn’t particularly my bag, I am slowly starting to recognise that I need to do more of it, and am already committed to speaking at at least two of the events mentioned above. Hopefully by doing it more, I’ll get more used to it, and build greater awareness for the site at the same time. Focus more on our SEO content We have been working behind the scenes for quite some time on new content that will help take the blog to the next level and, after a series of technical delays, we haven’t launched this as soon as we would like. Thankfully, though, we have now overcome these hurdles, so expect this to be rolled out quite soon. This new content will include information on a number of countries, regions and cities from luxury travel experts around the world, and will be neatly integrated with the rest of the site. Improving our mailing list We merged our mailing lists into one big list with different channels for different niches as we had noticed that many people were on multiple lists, and this was actually costing us considerably more as a result. Now we have just one list but with separate channels for luxury travellers, for people in the luxury travel industry and for luxury retailers, and subscribers can change their subscription preferences at any time. With the introduction of GDPR regulations, we also took the opportunity to double check that everyone who was on our list really wanted to be, and in so doing reduced it down to around 27,000 subscribers. Whilst we still plan to grow the list, we want to focus on quality rather than quantity and will actively delete subscribers who are inactive and consistently don’t open the emails we send. (This doesn’t mean to say that if you don’t open a single mailing, we’ll immediately remove you but, if it’s a regular occurrence and you don’t, for example, open a single mailing in a period of 12 months, then we’ll assume that it’s a) an inactive email account, b) the emails are being filtered by a spam filter and not being seen, or c) there’s no interest in what we’re sending.) The upshot is that we’ll have a higher quality list, even if it means a short period without growth. If you’re not already a subscriber but would like to be, click this link. Building our social following We are always keen to improve our social media following so that’s something we’ll be working on in 2019. If you don’t already, please follow us via any of the social links you see to the right of the page. Towards the end of 2018 we were beta testers for new version of Tripadvisor which now has a more social focus, and you can find our profile on there under the handle @luxurytravel (please click) – at the time of writing, I’m delighted to report that we are the most followed Tripadvisor account in the UK, so do please join us there as well! Make some technical and aesthetic improvements that will help reduce the site’s bounce rate I won’t bore you with the details here, but there are some changes we’re making to the related posts plug-in which are long overdue, but should help improve the reader who wants to go from one story to another similar story. This has been problematic due to the size of our site (this year we will pass 10,000 posts) which has meant most of the plug-ins out there don’t perform too well for us, or use too much of the server’s resources. That should all be fixed soon, though. The upshot is that the bounce rate (the % of people who leave the site having looked at just one page) should be reduced, which is generally considered a good thing. Use video more It’s something that continues to grow in popularity and that I really should be working on more. Whilst I have various cameras, action cameras, gimbal cameras and drones, and am comfortable with shooting good video footage, I lack the skills in putting together the final edit (or rather I lack the time and patience required to do a really good job of it!), so will be looking to draft in some help with this work, rather than just take the easy option of not producing video footage when I can, so expect to see more video in the year ahead. More competitions Who doesn’t like to win stuff? Whether it be travel equipment or five star holidays, we’ve run some great competitions in the past and they’ve always tended to perform well, but it’s an area we’ve neglected a little in 2018. We are planning to change that, and have a few luxury travel businesses lined up who are already keen to work with us in this capacity. If this is something you’re interested in also, please contact us. Improve engagement on the site One thing we’ve really been seeing change in recent months, and have been trying to actively encourage more and more, is the number of people commenting on the site. Please do get involved and interact with the authors and other readers and, with a bit of luck, we’ll develop an even stronger community of like-minded travellers. If you could be so kind, start by commenting on this post – tell us what you think of these updates, what else you’d like to see us working on, or even just what your own travel plans are for 2019…! Thank you and Happy New Year!

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Re: “We are always keen to improve our social media following so that’s something we’ll be working on in 2019.”
    How are the social followings (volume, freq, content) tied back to your business goals. ie. is social (and what format during what time period) increases completed trip purchases? In short, follows & likes are not business metrics (they are platform metrics specific to a vendor; not universal).

    Re: Photos (and video)… Please visibly tag every asset with geo (city name) and name of property (hotel, retailer, etc). I like your hotel photo above in your piece, but hiding the name of the hotel does NOTHING to help me, the consumer, to know how to search and book that hotel. The right click only says “Maldives-1.jpg.optimal” and gives no course of follow through… other than to endure an email request to/from the publisher. #MakeItEasyForPeopleToTravel

    1. Hi Robin

      Thanks for your feedback. I never claimed that followers and likes are business metrics and that a larger social media following necessarily results in more completed trip purchases, nor is that a goal of ours. We are a publishing platform rather than a business selling travel directly. Our goal is always to have more people read our content – and the right kinds of people, too (luxury travellers) – and a healthy social media following is one way in which we can work towards achieving that.

      Regarding photos and videos, that’s not something I’d really considered but will give some thought. In the case of the example you mention, I just added a generic photograph because I happened to make reference to the Maldives. I was not discussing a specific destination but, for what it’s worth, that shot is of Soneva Jani in the Noonu Atoll. In articles where we write about specific destinations, we would always position images at appropriate places within the text so would hope that geo-tagging isn’t necessarily. For example, in the article just before this one – https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/12/31/how-to-combine-glaciers-and-luxury-hotels-in-patagonia/ – I would hope that it’s clear which glaciers and hotels are featured in the photographs because of the text that immediately precedes them. But point taken… and I’ll give it some thought.



    2. Thanks, Paul, for your commentary. I understand your content describes the photos, but my thought for asset tagging was for when the photos are not read in content (such as speed reading through the article) or not in context (when the photos appear in image search results). And. lastly, a help for those of us who grab/save photo files into a “next place to visit” folder. Thank you for your viewpoint.

    3. Hi Paul,
      I strongly agree with what is mentioned by naming the image according to the background of the image, in my opinion it can help the reader know the location of the image and attract greater interest to visit it.
      Success is always for you.

  2. My name is Phil and I’m a Food Addict.

    There I’ve said it and I know it is far from politically correct in January when most people are thinking “DIET” but I’d like to see more on Food. That’s the food we come across as we travel.

    The piece a couple of days ago on Greek winter cakes was brilliant.

    Maybe the occasional restaurant review. I wouldn’t want too many but sometimes a restaurant can really tell the story of a place. I doubt that you’re going to be able to go out and recruit Giles Coren but food writing can be really entertaining. Just think about what the late, great A.A. Gill achieved.

    1. Thank you, Phil – we’ll certainly look to do more of this in the year ahead. We have a number of Michelin star chefs who are keen to share recipes in our ‘recipe of the week’ series also, so will be looking to give that some renewed impetus also.


  3. What about a travel book review sometimes? There are some astounding books out there and it would be good to get a recommendation maybe once a month. Perhaps a mix of classics and newly published.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, I receive requests for book reviews quite regularly but struggle to find the time to a) read them all, and b) to give them the justice of a full review. What might be a better solution for me (and ticking the box of doing more competitions) is to have the occasional book giveaway for new publications, with a brief synopsis at the beginning rather than a full review. Would something like that appeal?


    2. That would suit me well. I don’t have the time to browse bookshops as much as I would like. I just need a pointer in the right direction. Also when I do make a bookshop nowadays their travel sections are so large that I don’t know where to start.

  4. The weekly Luxury Travel News piece is absolutely fascinating. It is often a step into the future. I often wonder how many of the innovations will take off. Maybe some follow-up pieces occasionally would be good to see what’s succeeded and what’s flopped.

    1. Good idea, Andy! In our last round-up we talked about a space hotel that plans to start accommodating guests by 2022. It would certainly be interesting to follow up on stories like that and see if they actually come to fruition.

    2. Or looming back to the early days of ALTB what has surprised you most about the development of the travel industry? Maybe there’s a piece there?

    3. We try to write more for consumers than people in the industry, so would probably be inclined to leave anything like that to our industry mailing list rather than publish on the blog itself…

    4. Fair point. Can’t believe though that there’s no supersonic flights in 2019. Incredible that it still takes 7 hours or whatever from London to New York. For us consumers it’s disappointing that we have to endure some long gruelling flights.

    5. I think that’s going to take a little time. Two factors are really preventing a return to supersonic travel – the noise and the cost. There are plans afoot for 2020 – look up Boom Technology which is backed by Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airways…

  5. These are all exciting things coming up, Paul! Good luck with all the improvements :) I think I’ll go to ITB too, so it would be great to finally meet in person one of the legends of travel blogging (that’s you!).

    1. Hi Veronika… I don’t know about that, but that’s very kind, thank you! Give me a shout nearer the time and it would be a pleasure to meet you in person! :-)


  6. You ain’t had much on the states lately. I know the $ is too strong for many U.K. folk to afford. Some of us go there loads for biz I can tag a few days on for a hol. Some recommendations would be brill.

    1. That’s very true. Our core audience is the US (with the UK second) so that is definitely something we could improve upon. Duly noted, thank you – we’ll certainly see what we can do on that front.


    2. Yeah but when I’m back home I love to rock a country english hotel for a chillax weekend – so keep them rolling

  7. Maybe there’s more to Luxury Travel than destinations, hotels and food etc etc. I know you have a fairly broad definition of luxury on ALTB but …

    A few years ago I came across a journalist who was trying to arrange a Spanish road trip driving round the original paradors in a Bentley. I don’t know if he ever achieved it but what a post, or series of posts that would make. That story might pull in a few more readers.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Gerald. We have written about paradores in the past but, yes, I understand what you mean… a slightly different angle to just writing about the hotels, destinations, etc. We have worked with a few car manufacturers in the past (including Bentley) and we do have a collaboration with someone else in that line that is currently in the early stages of discussion. If that comes off, we should certainly be able to deliver something more along the lines you describe.


  8. Yes, I’m back again. I know that I’m quite old fashioned but sometimes it would be good to have a break from the “10 best … 7 this.. and 9 that format …”. I know SEO loves “listicles” – that’s my new trendy new word of 2019 – but I have my doubts as to how much depth and insight they provide. I like it that the format makes writers use a plethora of photographs but it would be nice to have a detailed and in depth piece of travel writing.

    And back to competitions, The Daily Telegraph have a weekly “Just Back” competition where travellers write 500 words on their adventures. I expect that your readers get to some very spectacular destinations and have some tales to share.

    1. Hi Elizabeth… that style of article isn’t so much for SEO reasons as for real people. People love lists – they like to see which hotels make ‘the top 10’ (or whatever the list they might be). Our stats suggest that content is a major draw for people, and it’s perhaps little surprise that other media use the same tactic (just look at the cover of any travel magazine and I’d be surprised if there wasn’t something in the same vein). On our site, we also try to ensure that these kinds of articles are not thin on content but have some meat to them. That said, I take your point – in-depth articles also perform well and often pull in greater engagement (one of our other goals here) so that’s definitely something we’ll look to do more of… thank you!


    2. Re: ‘the top 10’ type lists… I, as a reader, am usually left wondering what the decision criteria was! Opinions are always subjective, so I’d like to see more qualifiers of WHAT the ranking is based on (e.g. cost/day, most ‘wow’ moments, etc). Maybe the ‘top 10’ is not applicable to me if the criteria used in judging are not important to me.

  9. Although you are looking for more engagement on the site maybe your instructions about “adding value” from comments may discourage people. Looking at some of the national quality newspapers they get hundreds of comments and the debates can get very acrimonious and heated. Obviously it is the most controversial topics, dare I say Brexit (?), which prompt people to comment. Thinking back your unfortunate experience with your Cyprus flight prompted many responses.

    1. Thankfully we so far haven’t had really had problems with people arguing with each other in the comments (touch wood it stays that way!). Of course, if that should ever change, it will need to be something I need to think about…

    2. I read The Times online and the paper positively seems to be pushing the engagement through comments. Sadly, it is getting very petty with some people pursuing on-going vendettas. With a lot of the political debate it gets very nasty indeed.

      The only real issue I can foresee with travel is if a luxury venture has an adverse impact on the environment – but I would imagine that ALTB would not feature such a place to start with.

    3. I can envisage other potential issues and pitfalls beyond just that one. For example, places such as the Maldives can be contentious politically as a destination. Hopefully people will be able to appreciate that this is a travel blog and not a political one, and will respect that. If a discussion should ever get out of hand, though, I will step in if necessary – ideally by just politely asking people to respectful but, if necessary, I guess just locking the post in question from any further comments is a potential last resort. Let’s hope it never gets to that, though!

  10. Some time last year you did an interview. It’s a good format. Maybe you could do more, may be with people in the travel industry or consumers who have had a great travel experience. With Skype it is so easy to do a face to face interview.

    1. As you say, we have tried interviews in the past, but the truth of the matter is that they don’t seem to garner the same kind of interest. We therefore steered away from those. I can also guess that it’s because most of the blog is geared towards consumers and they are less interested in people working within the industry, but more in the destinations themselves. Or people just aren’t that interested in interviews generally…

  11. I would like to see more coverage of Scandinavian countries over the coming months. I can remember a great piece on Aarhus, Denmark’s second city, and a fascinating guide to adventure in Iceland but otherwise it is a bit of a forgotten zone for ALTB. It’s a pity as the league tables keep telling us that the Scandinavians are usually amongst the happiest people in the world. I feel that we could learn a lot from the way they go about life.

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