On my quest to inform the masses about the opportunities for working and traveling abroad, I made contact with a fine gentleman named Paul, the subject of todays interview. Paul works on various websites that all relate to travel and as a consequence has to travel to various places for "research". Paul was nice enough to answer a few questions which I felt would be helpful to anyone attempting a career in this field.
Travel Droppings: What is it you do?
Paul: I am a Director of two companies:
The Dedicated Partnership Ltd. is involved with web design and online marketing for the travel industry. There are 3 employees and around 40 people working on a freelance basis.
Kendal Holiday Cottages Ltd is a holiday rental business I run with my wife.
TD: You mentioned you worked in a couple industries. Do you travel for all those or just the travel blog?
TD: What kind of travel does your job(s) require? Where do you travel? Short trips, long trips?
Most of my travel is around the UK or Europe, and usually luxury-related due to its tie-up with A Luxury Travel Blog. I am asked to review luxury hotels and resorts all over the world but, since I usually travel with family, normally only cover the short-haul destinations.
Recent trips have included skiing in St. Moritz, a luxury surfing holiday in Cornwall, coverage for a number of top hotels and resorts on Crete, and several trips to the Canary Islands. I also have others helping me with this blog and covering other corners of the world. For example, an expat in SE Asia has visa restrictions which require her to leave Thailand every now and again, and she uses this time to contribute to the blog and cover destinations that I can't easily get to with my existing commitments.
TD: How did you set about on the career path of this work/travel job?
Another way to word that would be: what came first, the travel or the job?
I have always had an interest in travel and geography. My first degree was in geography and geology, and I followed that up with a PhD in glaciology which had me working out in Greenland, admittedly in a tent and not a five star hotel! The Web as we now know it came along at the same time as I was writing up my thesis and proved to be a welcome distraction that saw me creating websites for our local and regional tourist boards at a time when most people were still not yet online. From there, the rest is history as they say!
TD: Regarding the travel blog, can you tell me about the process of getting to your level of success? How long it took, and at what point did you feel it was "successful" enough to consider it a real source of income.
Although the blog makes a small amount, I don't consider it a 'real source of income'. It is more a labour of love than a serious business proposition at this point in time, but it's becoming very popular (more than 120,000 followers on Twitter now) so has potential if I look to monetize it more. My main success and primary area of focus is in our UKseries.com websites (sites such as UKhotel.com and UKcottage.com) and these really began to bear fruit when affiliate marketing became more mainstream. We have had some huge success with affiliate marketing and, although just a small company, have delivered serious numbers of bookings to some of the big players. On the back of this, others have approached us wanting a slice of our online travel marketing expertise.
TD: How much could a person starting today expect to make if they were to follow a similar path to becoming successful in this field?
The marketplace is so saturated nowadays that it's becoming increasingly difficult to enter the market. You need to be bringing something new to the table if you're to make inroads. When I started A Luxury Travel Blog, it is was one of only a few blogs catering for that niche and so with a little perseverance I was able to make it one of the most popular in that field. Now there are lots of them so it's much harder. Being first can help a great deal (just looking at Google Plus struggling against Facebook), a lot of perseverance is essential and offering something new or different is becoming increasingly important.
TD: What are the pro's of your career?
I can work from wherever I want. I can work whenever I want. I get to visit some fantastic places and stay in some truly amazing hotels and resorts.
TD: What are the con's of your career?
It's not always easy to leave my work. There's always more that can be done. Laptops, tablets and smartphones - and the ease with which you can get an internet connection nowadays, regardless of where you are on the globe - mean that it's all too easy to check emails, etc. on the move.
TD: What do you hope to be doing in the future for work?
We have over 200 travel websites and will be looking to improve the content of those more and more rather than start anything new at this point in time. If you're not careful, you can end up spreading yourself too thinly and find yourself not doing any one thing well.
TD: Is there anything you could suggest for others seeking a career in this field?
Weigh up the competition. There's a lot of people trying to get a foothold in the online travel industry but who are finding it difficult because there's a lot of people already working in it. Make sure there's a market for whatever you're looking to do.
Run a Travel Website - How to get started and find your way in the over saturated world of online work
Monetize that Website - A few avenues for monetizing your website. Find the one that works best for you.
The world is too amazing not to share.
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