Robert Tellier is the creator of Gr8 Travel Tips and the author of an ebook by the same name. He's been blogging for over 5 years and is sponsored by a global hotel chain. We caught up with Robert last week and asked him about the business of travel blogging.
- Name: Robert Tellier
- Age: 58
- Blog: Gr8 Travel Tips
Tell us about your blog. What makes it unique?
I started this blog about 5 years ago as a hobby when our kids were younger by highlighting some of our family vacations. I really think what makes my blog unique is that I’m not trying to sell anybody anything. I don’t blog for money. I blog for the pure enjoyment of it! I share our travel related experiences and try to offer personal and honest opinions on travel destinations, services, products and much more that people can trust. Like any business, I love watching it grow and after years of hard work, the exciting sponsorship and business partner opportunities that have come as a result.
What made you decide to target baby boomers?
When our kids left home, I started to move the focus of my blog on to the millions of baby boomers around the world, or those people born between 1946 and 1964. After all, any blog really is actually a diary of sorts and so I wanted to continue highlighting our present and upcoming travels and adventures around the globe.
How do you go about promoting your travel blog? What different ways of getting traffic have you tried and what has been the most successful?
Without a doubt, Social Media is the number one promotion tool these days for pretty much everything and anything. Google Analytics is a must for every serious blogger. You can personalize it to track everything, from what social media accounts are providing the best traffic to your site, to what posts are getting the most hits.
I’m finding these days I’m getting great results from posting on Facebook from my Blog Page and from Pinterest. If you’re set up properly on Pinterest, they will link your photo directly to your post on your blog!
I did try posting articles on various sites like Ezine Articles, Article Base, Go Articles, etc. when first starting, but with little to no success. To really gain exposure once your blog is well established, one should start getting published with major websites such as Huffington Post and others to really drive traffic to your blog. This all takes a great deal of time and effort, but the results show for themselves. I have just started this and was recently published in a local RV Times Magazine which brought many readers to my blog.
Tell me about your ebook - how much has this helped with your blogs success?
I offer a simple free downloadable e-book on various travel tips as a thank you for those visiting my blog. I don’t use this method to gain newsletter subscribers or anything else at the moment.
You mention participating in various travel industry courses. Which courses did you take and what did you learn?
Years ago, I attended a widely recognized Canadian Travel College in Vancouver and received my Travel Agents License. I also worked part time from my home with Expedia Cruise Ship Centers taking various in house travel business courses, as well as all the major Cruise Lines incentive courses they offer for agents.
The most important lesson I’ve certainly learned over the years and the way I treated clients, was to be honest and never recommend anything that you have not had a personal experience with, or that has not come highly recommended from other reliable people. Never try to sell anything just for the sell! It will come back to bite you, as I watched first hand many times with other agents I worked with over the years.
How do you make money from your blog?
As mentioned, my blog is not focused on making money, but rather for the great sponsorship opportunities out there. In my opinion, it takes at least 3 years of commitment and very hard work to eventually start receiving sponsorships from businesses if you’re managing your blog on your own as I am.
This was my goal when I first started and believe me, there were many times I was ready to throw in the towel. But I kept at it and continued to follow and correspond with successful bloggers in my niche and after 3 years, the ice finally broke and I received my first solid sponsorship with a major hotel chain.
What is your most popular article? Why do you think it has been so successful?
Without a doubt and still running is my blog post on “Best Caribbean Islands for Families.” For some reason this has been very successful, so I continue to update the article on a regular basis. People love traveling to the Caribbean, especially families with children heading to those all - inclusive vacation resorts that many Caribbean Islands offer!
You’ve travelled to many different countries – which is your favourite & why?
Easy. My wife and I loved our visit to Australia and can’t wait to return. The country is so diverse and enormous in size. There really is something for everyone to enjoy in Australia, from its beautiful coastal beaches and watersports to the rugged, hot and dry Outback. Thailand was also a wonderful experience. The people, food and culture were simply amazing! I love watersports and the deep blue sea in Tulum, Mexico in the Yucatan is also a favorite of mine.
I look forward to each and every destination we travel to. My son and I are leaving on a 7 week journey at the end of this month to India, which I can’t wait to experience!