A remarkable shift in the paradigm of conventional advertising is occurring around us right now. A previously untapped mega-resource of loyalty, readership, and direct response is slowly being unearthed. This wave of power lies within the blogger community. No where was this more evident than this June, when almost 800 travel bloggers and PR industry members converged for the 2012 Travel Blog Exchange Conference (TBEX) in Keystone, Colorado.
A blogger uses social media tools to build a community of readers who eagerly and thoughtfully contribute to the dialogue of interest. This kinship allows a different degree of loyalty as readers feel a part of the commentary and are much more likely to take recommendations. Most importantly, a trust develops in what the blogger has to say.
This type of loyalty can be invaluable to an advertiser. A glowing recommendation or genuine product endorsement from a trusted source is worth much more than what a glance at a paper ad might bring.
Nearly eight hundred travel bloggers were present when Keystone Mountain pulled out all the stops. From the “Taste of Vail” opening night event at Keystones North Peak, with Executive Chef David Scott and Executive Pastry Chef Ned Archibald, to the comfortable conference facilities designed to keep the bloggers happy. Both the destination and the event were truly memorable.
Keystone Mountain put on a spectacular show that was shared through multiple social media outlets numerous times. Immediate word went out through each bloggers community through Twitter, FaceBook, and Instagram, while notes were jotted for more in depth blog posts when the visitors returned home.
Shining reviews of the Duck Confit Stuffed Tenderloin of Beef presented by the Bighorn Steakhouse and iPhone photos of colorful cheeseburger cupcakes were instantly shared with followers (and potential Keystone visitors). The champagne and chocolate chip gondola ride to the summit of North Peak was being lived vicariously in real-time by friends all over the world.
The tremendous power of community is out there – not just for travel bloggers, but also with every niche blogger. These people work hard to build a solid community based on mutual respect and trust, ideals always not so easy to come by these days.
As travel bloggers, we applaud Keystone Mountain’s foresight in hosting TBEX12 and GM John Buhler for doing a remarkable job. The power of community is out there and the shift is happening. We feel lucky to be a part of it.