The travel industry is the one that has been deeply affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Travelpayouts reached out to popular travel bloggers to ask about their travel plans and businesses, and how they are bracing for the future.
Here are a few takeaways:
- Travel bloggers avoid traveling and are stuck at home. "Personally, being stuck on a plane for more than one hour with a possible virus scares the living daylights out of me."
- Bloggers are losing money on missed speaking opportunities and conference cancellations.
- They are waiting for things to pick up in the beginning of the summer when the travel season begins and the pandemic is under control.
- In the meantime, bloggers recommend taking time to work on content and SEO as it's what you normally don't have enough time for.
- Bloggers are attending more webinars in a short period of time than ever. It's a good time to enhance your online presence.
- Travel bloggers have been compensating for a reduction in traffic to their websites by writing about coronavirus and domestic traveling.
Given the seriousness of the pandemic, my travel plans have been shelved until a cure or vaccine has been made readily available. According to WHO and other medical research facilities, a possible cure is six months or more away, so the smart thing is to keep travel to an absolute minimum for the time being.
Govts. are requesting events be put on hold to prevent the spread of the virus as well as there will be a low turn out of crowds. The new James Bond movie release has been delayed by seven months because the producers know that the turn out will be low due to the fear factor of contracting the virus.
If you can avoid traveling, avoid it for the time being. If travel is essential then all the necessary precautions must be taken. Personally being stuck on a plane for more than one hour with a possible virus scares the living daylights out of me.
Unfortunately, until there is a formal confirmation from various govts. that the virus is under control or a vaccine is available, leisure travel, especially outside city limits, will see a downturn.
I'm using Travelpayouts, and I've noticed that the number of visits for flights and hotel bookings have dropped drastically. Hopefully, things will pick up in June, closer to the summer holidays and the pandemic is under control.
Coronavirus hasn't had an affect on our travel plans. We're still planning to go on a press trip to the Netherlands in a couple of weeks and we're pressing ahead with plans to tour Asia later in the year. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation and we'll likely follow UK government travel advice should it be issued. The environmental impact of travel has a much greater influence over our travel decisions than coronavirus currently does.
We've certainly noticed a number of them have been cancelled as a result of coronavirus. ITB Berlin (the largest travel trade show which has been around for over 50 years), being cancelled was a bit of a shocker and there have been various Wordpress meetups that have also been cancelled. On the plus side, some organisers have moved their events online meaning that more people have been able to network and access talks and advice. I've never attendedattending so many webinars in such a short space of time before. It's been great!
Travel bloggers have been compensating for a reduction in traffic to their websites by writing about coronavirus. I think there's already a very large pool of information out there about coronavirus and the potential to cause further confusion amongst the public. Unless you're able to offer a unique perspective with qualified, verifiable information on the topic, I can't see much point in churning out coronavirus content just for the sake of it.
I've also noticed an increased interest in domestic travel articles, so we're ensuring our UK-based articles are up to date and I'd probably recommend other travel bloggers to do the same with their domestic posts until this all blows over.
There has certainly been a decrease in affiliate click-throughs and bookings through our website, caused by a 30% reduction in search traffic in all regions. We're not panicking though. We're confident that this will blow over and that the situation will improve. For the time being at least, we've not mademaking drastic changes to our strategies. We're confident that while the content we're working on may not attract as much attention as we'd normally like, later in the year, things will start to pick up again.
We had plans to attend two conferences at the start of this month - one in Germany & one in Italy - both were either cancelled or postponed. Our flights to and from Italy also ended up being cancelled. We are also closely monitoring any travel restrictions that arise which could result in quarantine or denied entry in certain countries..
It's difficult to recommend anything at the moment as it's hard to know how long travel will be disrupted based on the virus. We are closely monitoring how the situation improves and are considering changes to content priorities due to the outbreak
As our website focuses largely on Europe travel, we are seeing decreased traffic and bookings in this region over the last couple of weeks, particularly in Southern Europe.
Nick & Lins
We didn't have any plans to visit the most hit countries (Italy, China, Iran,...) so we decided to not give in to the current "corona scare" and keep our schedule. Of course, we keep on watching the latest news closely.
We are receiving cancellations for the summer in Europe. Lots of resorts are currently seeing a drop in their bookings and are freezing their advertising budgets. While we think that now is actually the right time to invest in advertising.
We recommend to keep traveling! The risk of getting injured in an accident on the road is still significantly higher than picking up the coronavirus. And more lethal. Yet that hasn't stopped anyone from traveling. Just travel smart. Don't go to danger zones (unless you have a blog about the coronavirus), wash your hands often, keep a distance from strangers at transport hubs and watch the news.
We are seeing a decrease in our overall travel affiliates, which isn't a surprise as governments are currently reporting drops in tourism up to 50%. We keep advising travelers to keep traveling, but to read the refund policies closely and to take extra insurance.
I run a charity at muditaadventures.com, where our adventure trips fund projects in the developing world. We've had to cancel everything. On a personal note, I was in Yemen last week and got the last flight out, wild. My travels are paused now until September, I guess.
Travel bloggers need to adapt to these circumstances and focus on content and SEO. True travellers always neglect the SEO and regular content because they're too busy traveling, we always want to get back to the nitty gritty, this is our chance.