I finally bought my first Encyclopaedia Britannica in a bid to acquire general knowledge and inculcate the values of life long learning in my children. The 2010 Ultimate Reference Suite comes with three libraries catering to primary school students, secondary school students and adults.
It also comes with a 1-year free subscription to Encyclopaedia Britannica online. As I was searching through some of the listed travel blogs of well-known globetrotters such as Lisa Lubin (ok so she wasn’t known to me till now), I found a link to the web journal of Christopher Elliot, whom I have no recognition of till now as well.
Christopher’s blog is not about traveling per se. He writes about the travel industry and was previously a columnist for several online travel websites. He has been writing about the industry for 14 years, all of which are neatly archived in his blog. I spent the next three hours reading his blog from 1996 to 2006! Not every single entry but it did give me some interesting insights about blogging.
When I started to blog more seriously, it had been from the perspective of attracting more traffic to my website Bring Me There and well at that time to convince readers to engage me to plan their travels for them. Web marketing books espouse the use of blogs to provide websites with frequent and relevant content updates which the search engine crawlers love.
But as I ran through the weeks, months and years on Christopher’s blog, I was subtly reminded that a blog is really nothing more than an online diary listing posts in chronological order on a topic of the author’s choice. It was like I had gone back in time to 1996 when the travel industry was beginning to explore the Internet and got caught up in the dot com hype. There were many who refused to believe that online travel sites could compete with traditional travel agents at the same level. 2010 – think again.
Then in 1999, the dot com bubble burst followed by the rapid closure of many E-commerce sites. The 9/11 tragedy in 2001 would forever change the face of travel industry and also sadly marked the end of Christopher’s 5-year career writing for Biz Travel.com. He took on another writing job focusing on the financial aspect of traveling. A year later, that stint came to an end as well.
2003 introduced another setback to travel – SARS and traveling was at an all time low. Christopher had his firstborn child at this time and most of his blog focused on the first year of his baby’s life. Between 2004 and 2005, he seemed to have entered another phase in his career. I can’t quite figure the exact nature of his work but it seemed to be centered around helping consumers find redress in relation to their travel providers.
The tone in his blog changed drastically in 2006. Instead of using his typical journalistic voice, he became much more personable and active in his blog postings. One interesting thread that I am following is his encouragement of travel bloggers to write about their travel experience because of the increasing weight that is given to consumer reviews compared to marketing gimmicks of companies. It is an excellent way to drive the travel industry to improve its services as consumers now have a voice to a worldwide audience.
I haven’t read many blogs related to travel but thus far Christopher’s blog stands out in his approach towards improving the tourism industry from a consumer point of view. I realized that regardless of whether I get traffic to my site, writing a blog has helped me to crystallize my thoughts, to think beyond myself and perhaps in a decade or two down the road, people who chance upon it can remember what traveling was like back then.