Why More Trip Reports are Usually Not Posted
“P ersonally I find most ‘trip reports’ that only focus on the airport lounges, airplane seat, food, and big chain hotels pretty boring. The destination is much more important to me. The F or even C seat on airline X is pretty much the same whatever the route. Same with lounges. And generic big chain hotels. But I guess there must be people out there who do care about that sort of thing for some reason.”
This comment — which was posted here by FlyerTalk member glennaa11 — is one of many which I read on FlyerTalk, Milepoint, and in the comments sections of weblogs…
…including The Gate — and this is my attempt at a response to glennaa11, based upon my experience.
Whenever I post an article here at The Gate, I attempt to determine what you want to read — suggestions from you are always welcome, by the way. Sometimes it is the big news of the day. Sometimes it is about frequent travel loyalty program miles and points. Sometimes it is an offer from which you might benefit. Sometimes it is a weather report for a travel alert. Sometimes it is simply something which happens to be on my mind…
…and sometimes it is a trip report or a review of a place where I visited or experienced.
Of all of the types of articles which I write, the trip report or review consumes the most time to prepare — and yet typically does not garner the amount of views which other types of articles receive.
Not counting the actual experience or photographing it — or any technical glitches which I encounter from time to time — time and effort are needed to prepare for articles pertaining to trip reports and reviews, as they require:
- Sorting through the literally hundreds of photographs to select the best and most appropriate ones for the article
- Cropping each of the photographs so that they fit within the space of the article without slowing it down when you read it
- Applying adjustments to the photographs whenever necessary to compensate for any anomalies which may have occurred at the time the photograph was taken
- Adding the photographs to the media library within WordPress, which is the application software platform which powers The Gate — and that can at times be tedious, depending on the Internet connection and how many photographs are being uploaded
- Writing the article itself — usually with an attempt at creativity so that you do not find it boring
- Researching and posting links to articles which are related to the topic about which I am writing
- Checking information posted as fact — such as statistics or historical data — and that often entails checking multiple sources
- Placing the photographs within the most appropriate sections of the article
- Adding captions to the photographs
- Formatting the article — such as adding subheadings, bulleted items, or stylizing certain words with color, bolding or italicizing as several examples
- Proofreading the article — and mistakes still slip by regardless, to my chagrin
- Posting it to The Gate and BoardingArea, which is no more than the click of the Publish button
An article containing a trip report or review can take several hours to compose and post from start to finish, as I do not believe in “slapping together” an article just for the sake of posting it.
Curious about the statistics from within WordPress itself — which are admittedly not the the most reliable — I revised the list of the top 50 articles of all time posted at The Gate in terms of views; and while there are a few reviews sprinkled about in several places throughout the list, the only trip report of an actual destination which appears on the list is Review: At The Top, Burj Khalifa in Dubai — and Why You Should Avoid the Premium Experience…
…so here I am, having traveled to at least 20 countries within the past ten months with literally thousands of photographs — from which I first must select — waiting to be shown. Waiting “on deck” are trip reports to still be written of many places — including but not limited to the following:
- The Demilitarized Zone separating South Korea from North Korea
- The Karnak Temple in Luxor
- Matsieng Footprints in Botswana
- The fountains of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates
- Knowth in Ireland
- A visit to Katse Dam in Lesotho
- Palacio Real de Madrid in Spain
- Wadi Shab in Oman
- A stroll along the Bund in Shanghai
- The Feira de Artesanato, Flores y Gastronomia de Maputo in Mozambique
- The sun setting over Manila Bay
- The Cradle of Humanity in South Africa
- The Jewish Museum and Raoul Wallenberg Park in Budapest
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
- Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul
- The Staten Island Ferry in New York
- A day in Bahrain
- More animal sightings from a safari in Kenya
…and that does not include additional flights, car rentals and hotel rooms on which I have yet to report; plus I have trip reports from other destinations around the world over recent years, including but not limited to the Bahamas, Denmark, Argentina, Slovenia, Malaysia and France.
“Think of this as writing a diary”, reader Joey posted in the comments of this article I wrote last year about how travel “blogging” is not easy. That — combined with the following statement which was sent to me via e-mail message from a person who will remain anonymous…
“I’ve always thought it was unhealthy for any blogger to break down their blog posts in a financial contribution manner as it tends to desensitize the reason why most bloggers get into having a blog.”
…are words of advice to which I strive to adhere daily. As I have stated multiple times in the past, revenue for The Gate is solely dependent on views. You might have noticed that there is no affiliate links or credit card offers here — and I have never had an interest in even considering the pursuit of revenue tied to affiliate links or credit cards…
…but I also try to write with you in mind — if only because The Gate is publicly posted at BoardingArea and not simply just a personal weblog for me. The natural tendency is to post more of what gets the most views — and it can be difficult to resist that at times — but if you are part of the subset of readers of The Gate who enjoys the pure trip report written by me, you are the reason why I continue to post those trip reports. My goal is to ensure that the information I post is useful to you — if not at least entertaining.
There are “bloggers” who are indeed doing this solely for the money. Although it is nice to earn revenue for doing something I enjoy — in fact, I believe everyone should earn a living doing something they enjoy instead of working at a job with which they are not happy — writing The Gate solely for money is simply not me as a person.
Next month, The Gate will celebrate its ninth anniversary; and you can count on more trip reports and reviews to be posted by me for as long as The Gate continues its run…
…but although there are exceptions to the following statement, my experience, glennaa11, is that reviews on airport lounges, airplane seats, food, and hotel properties of major lodging chain hotels typically get more views than pure trip reports of destinations — and discussions with other “bloggers” and their experiences tend to confirm it. Aspirational experiences of gourmet food, suites and business class seats — as well as ways to travel for “free” or as close to free as possible — are what people are typically interested in reading. “Click-bait” headlines bring in more readers as well — a practice which I generally eschew but have done on occasion; and never with the purposeful intent to mislead you.
With some exceptions, it is simply human nature to be drawn to articles with “click-bait” headlines laced with controversy, sex, aspirational experiences typically not enjoyed by the “common folk”, and how to beat the system than to be drawn to trip reports — but perhaps I am incorrect.
As always, I am interested in your thoughts…
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.