Why do people still buy guidebooks? Because they want an independent opinion on destinations. If everything you write is sponsored by a brand or company, you’ll hit a limit to your number of readers. Sure, some people won’t care and will follow your adventures no matter what, but a larger majority will feel that you can’t relate to their experience and will go elsewhere to find information.
Consumers want relatable and independent travel content because they want to know that they can make it happen too. If you’re in fashion, you can showcase all the makeup you want, because a reader can look at that and think, “Yeah, I can do that too! To the mall I go!” But when you’re talking travel, people can’t look at your free, multi-thousand-dollar trip to the Maldives and say, “Yeah, that’s realistic for me too! To Expedia I go!”
The most successful bloggers in any niche avoid one-off partnerships and sponsored content because it dilutes their authenticity. (On the other hand, long-term partnerships are wonderful, as they allow you to create unique experiences and value for your readers.)
Avoid one-off trips paid by someone else, featuring products that someone paid you to advertise — instead, write about relatable experiences and grow larger!
Trust me on this. People see through it all. They LOVE you for being authentic and real.