Blogging Journeys :: Interview with Holidays to Europe Blog

Blogging Journeys :: Interview with Holidays to Europe Blog

Can you tell us about Holidays to Europe and why it’s different to other travel blogs?

Holidays to Europe is both a European travel directory and a blog all in one.  As well as blogging about my first hand experiences of travelling throughout Europe, the blog also list lots of (mainly) Australian and New Zealand-owned holiday accommodation, small group tours and other service providers in Europe.

How many years have you been blogging and how many hours per week do you spend blogging?

I started the blog at the end of 2007 and was writing occasional articles from the start.  Now, the blog is pretty much a full time gig – I’d spend around 30 hours per week on it and post at least two new articles each week.

How does blogging fit into your lifestyle and describe your typical blogging day?

My children are both at university now, but when I started they were still in secondary school.  Blogging and all the other associated tasks involved with running a website fitted my lifestyle perfectly as I could always be at home for the children when they needed me. I still try to close the office door at 5pm and call it a day, apart from checking social media.

A typical day involves answering emails, checking social media and making sure my scheduled posts are appearing, making sure I have my schedule of upcoming blog articles sorted, writing content, sourcing photos/resizing, etc.

I like to add two new blog posts each week so having a ‘blog schedule’ really helps me know what to write about when I’m in front of the computer. If the end of the month is approaching, I start preparing my monthly newsletter which goes out to around 5,700 subscribers.

Why did you start blogging? What was the inspiration behind setting up Holidays to Europe?

Since my very first visit to Europe 25 years ago, I have been totally in love with place! When I was planning a family holiday to Europe in 2007, I noticed  there was limited accommodation options available unless you really knew where to look.

I knew there were lots of Australians who owned cottages and apartments in Europe that they rented out to holiday-makers and other Aussies who ran small group tours in Italy and France, but there was no single website where all these options were listed together.

That became my mission – to give Aussie travellers more options for their holiday than just the regular hotel stays and 50-person coach tours that they would be sold by a travel agent.

As well as being a travel directory, Holidays to Europe is also the place I can share my knowledge and first-hand experiences from my travels in Europe, so it is really the ‘go to’ site for anyone planning a European holiday.

What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I get to indulge in my passion of European travel every day – whether I’m at my desk or travelling in Europe myself.  I really enjoy sharing my European travel experiences with my readers, whether it’s passing on tips about using the rail system or writing about a quaint little village that I’ve visited, I’m never short of things to write about!

When did you first receive income from your blog?

Because I originally set the blog up as a European travel directory, I received a minimal income right from the start as the small businesses that are listed on the blog pay an annual fee to be listed.

Readers deal directly with the business owners, so in that sense the blog is just a portal to connect the traveller with the service provider.  Revenue from other sources, like advertising and sponsored newsletters, came much later.

Where you would like to see Holidays to Europe in 1 year’s time, and 3 year’s time?

My goals are mainly in the area of visitor and subscriber numbers. I’d really like to increase my average unique visits per month in the next 12 months. Of course, it’s no good having all those extra visitors if no-one hangs around or comes back, so building an engaged community is part of that goal.

In 2012, I self-published my first book “Europe with Kids – How to Travel Europe the Easy Way” and I have another book almost ready for its final check, so that will be available in the next year.  I’d also like to write a couple more ebooks that will help my readers with their travel planning – and add to my income stream in three year’s time!

What advice would you give to brands and PRs contacting you for opportunities?

Let’s talk! If your brand or product is something that will resonate with my readers, I’d love to hear from you. I travel to Europe every year, and whilst there are lots of places I have been, there are many more that I haven’t visited – but I’m more than happy to try them out!

What 3 tips would you give other bloggers starting out?

  1. For the majority of bloggers, it takes a very long time to build a community and get the visitor numbers climbing. Perseverance and dedication are required.
  2. Be honest and ethical.
  3. Know your readers and what they want to read. If you can answer the questions they have about your niche and you help them overcome the problems/concerns they have about that issue, they’ll keep coming back and they’ll tell their friends!

What would you like to see more of in the blogging community?

Being a blogger can be very lonely and as I’m based in regional Victoria, even more so.  I would love there to be more opportunities for bloggers, both on a State and regional basis, to get together to network and share ideas and experiences. Online forums, meet-ups, events, etc would all be great.

Advice Blogger