Random Travel

For Travel Bloggers, Every Change is a Tribulation

Travel bloggers are an interesting bunch. Admirably, their goal is to spend as little of their own money as possible for five-star experiences. They’ll hack their way to elite status and free nights at opulent resorts, getting there by spending points they manufactured on luxurious first-class appointments that would have normally cost thousands. Instagram posts of free champaign and in-flight showers show off their opulent, mile-high thrones. All this, as they’ll often write, can be had for pennies if you know how to play the game.

There are several inspiring stories among them. The joy of the journey runs rampant in a community obsessed with all things aviation and hospitality. That joy turns sour, however, when the dreaded ‘D’ rears it’s ugly head- devaluation. You see, Hell hath no fury like a travel blogger scorned. One week it may be about revenue-based mileage, restricted lounge access, or a business class wine list change. The controversy du jour is a change in Hyatt Place breakfasts. Edward Pizzarello gives a remarkably level-headed response to Hyatt’s antagonism. (Ed is one of the good guys)

What is it about the Hyatt Place breakfast benefit that has travel bloggers in a tizzy? Did they remove it completely without telling anyone? Is it no longer farm-to-table but now the unthinkable farm-to-storage facility-to-commercial truck-to-restaurant freezer-to-buffet platter-to-table? No. The big change is that the breakfast will no longer be free for customers who book through third-party agencies, think Hotels.com and the like.

Is that a bummer? Sure. Hotels do what they can to limit those booking because of the commissions they have to pay. There are sure to be some confused, non-direct bookers come breakfast time. It won’t make for a fun morning for those customers or the staff, but it’ll sort itself out in due time. For most, it’s a bit of forgettable news- a slight change of a single perk at one brand for an individual chain. But in the travel blog world, it’s a culinary cataclysm.

To me, it’s emblematic of some in the community. When it comes to the hospitality companies they love, it’s a selfish relationship on the part of the blogger. They self-disclose spending little to no money, yet receive generous upgrades and amenities. Despite taking and taking and bragging and bragging, they’re also quick to quibble over the most minor of infractions. I’m sorry you can only have two chorizo sausage links at your comped breakfast instead of three, but how was free presidential suite?

I get tired of reading multi-paragraph diatribes on small service glitches and operational hiccups. The travel world owes you nothing. I’m not saying you can’t express frustration with those all too common travel woes and poor customer service. But know that, for many of you, your posts don’t read like a champion of the average consumer, they read like a bratty child who’s complaining about getting a Subaru for their 16th birthday instead of the Mercedez they thought they really deserved.

There are several points and miles bloggers I quite enjoy. Many work hard to provide relevant, engaging, and non-clickbaity posts. Some offer great insight into programs and point accumulation to ensure their readers are armed with the best information possible. A few have even developed a keen understanding of their audience’s needs and travel goals. Those are the ones that stick around.

So, my travel blogging brothers and sisters, I beseech you, take a couple breaths during the next hospitality ruination. Don’t worry about being the first to feature a paginated post about thread counts dropping from 1000 to 980. Really, a tweet about it would be sufficient. Please, keep us abreast of hotel changes and program nuances, it really does help. Spend most of your time trying to motivate your readers to take their next reduced price journey. You’ve done it. Show them how.