Here’s a little something I wrote for a travel agency I work with. Several of their agents were looking to start blogs, and I was helping with finding content to blog about, and how to write the blog itself.

Blogging as a travel agent

 

Blogging about blogging

For those of you who are thinking about blogging, I want to give you some value today.

Who here should be thinking about blogging? If you have an extra 10-20 minutes a day, the answer is you.

I’ve written this article with travel agents who are considering blogging in mind. However, it can help anyone whose customers might benefit from your blogging.

As bloggers, we should cover topics that align with our product or service. We want to think about information that will help them in their travel. Our blog needs to help them whether they use our services or not. Through blogging, we want to show them – and Google – that we are taking care of them. The situation does not matter.

Content

What I am writing now and what I am about to post below can count as inspiration. Here, I am writing as though I am blogging with you, the potential blogger, as my reader.

Below, I’ll write another piece of content, as though it was me writing to a potential or current travel client.

As you’re choosing your blogging content, make sure you ask yourself, “If I was a new traveler, would this help me?” Google wants to see fresh content, and they want to know that you are putting out the highest quality content you can.

Formatting

 

You’ll also notice that I am using different headers to separate out different concepts. For instance, the first tag I used was the Heading 2 tag. For the Formatting header above, I used the Heading 3 tag.

Those of you who write will also notice that many paragraphs contain fewer than three sentences. Instead, a paragraph might only contain one or two sentences. For blogging, that’s just fine.

You also want to write in a simple, straightforward manner. Shorten your sentences and separate concepts. Actually, I should do that with the previous sentence. Let’s just rewrite this paragraph.

You also want to write in a simple, straightforward manner. Shorten your sentences. Separate each concept into its own sentence.

Ideally, you want each sentence to be shorter than 20 words. I have difficulty with this one. In fact, I use several tools like Hemingway to make it happen.

Linking

Linking is essential to your blogging strategy, both inbound and outbound. Before your eyes roll back in  your head, inbound links are those where someone else links to your blog, and outbound are those where you link to someone else’s content. Part of how you write your content will include information to which you link.

Inbound links are how you get discovered, and how Google rates your importance. Think of it as a vote from another website. If they link to you, it’s because you talked about something important to them. Usually, it even means you did it well. There are strategies for making sure that you’re getting the best inbound links, but those are complex and beyond the scope of this blog.

Outbound links are where you are giving some trust to another website. For instance, if you wanted to talk about underwater basket weaving, you could try to bring together all the sources yourself, or you could link to it on Wikipedia. Did you know that underwater basket weaving could have as much information about it as Wikipedia provides? When blogging, it’s important to utilize the resources others have created. It’s part of giving credit to your sources. It shows that you trust your content enough that people will return.

In the end, have fun blogging

While you need to cover a lot of subject matter, you also need to enjoy writing the content. If you don’t it’ll show. That doesn’t mean that all subject matter is fun to cover. In fact, in the article below, it’s not a fun subject. I’m writing about a subject that makes my skin crawl. Is it anything I ever thought I would be blogging about? Nope. However, I approach it from a standpoint of helping my reader. That makes the process much easier.

Next: Sample blog article

In this sample article, I’m not discussing my last trip to Walt Disney World or my last vacation. I am covering information that will help anyone reading to protect themselves.

If you decide to take the article below and run with it, great. Just keep one thing in mind: Google absolutely hates duplicate content. If Google sees that you have copied content from another website or blog, they mark your article plagiarism. I can’t stress enough that YOU DO NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN! Google has ways of seeing which article is the original, and they will penalize the copycat. If they see your blogging as unoriginal, you’re dead in the water.

If you take my words below, make sure you rewrite them. I am blogging from my perspective in the hotel industry with industry knowledge, which you likely wouldn’t have anyway. Feel free to quote me, “A friend in the hotel industry said…” Just don’t copy more than a few words, and make it clear that you’re quoting me. In many cases, if you are quoting someone, make sure you link to where you got the quote. It’s no different than high school or college, really. Cite your sources when blogging.

If you’re worried about making sure your blogging content won’t get flagged for plagiarism, check out Copyscape or my favorite, Grammarly. Grammarly not only checks for plagiarism, but the program also checks your grammar.


Bedbugs: How to avoid them

 

In the United States, bedbug infestations are on the rise. This problem has nothing to do with the quality of the hotel. Even five-star resorts discover that they have bedbug infestations.

Working in the hospitality industry, I’ve seen up close how responsible hotels attempt to fight the onslaught. Our housekeeping staff checks daily for signs that these vermin have arrived. Every month, each of our hotels hires a well-trained beagle to come search.

For our housekeepers, the problem is that the bedbugs are very difficult to see. The dog is very good at what she does. Unfortunately, she is only good for a few rooms per day, and every time she visits costs thousands of dollars.

By the time a guest would notice a problem, they might already be home. If they notice the bites after waking up the first morning, that does us little good. It’s likely that they were the overnight feast at another hotel. Now, we have a problem, too, because that guest unknowingly brought in the bedbugs.

This Condé Nast Traveler article gives you some great ideas how you can protect yourself from being infested with a few simple steps:

  • When you arrive at your hotel room, stow your luggage in the bathtub while you search the room.
  • Pull back your bed sheets and search the seams of the mattress(es).
  • See if you can detect any sort of musty odor.
  • When you get home, wash ALL your clothes in hot water and dry them on high heat.

You do NOT want to transport bedbugs, and you most certainly do not want to welcome them into your home.

Keeping bedbugs at bay does not have to be difficult, but you have to be vigilant. For more, read the Condé Nast Traveler article about bed bugs, and follow their advice no matter where you go.

Have you ever found a bedbug infestation in your hotel room? Tell us about it in the comments below!