The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the travel and tourism sector, and travel bloggers, too, have been affected. We spoke to some to see how they are coping in a world where travel is limited.
Now that travelling has taken a backseat, bloggers are making the most of this time to look at newer aspects of travelling. From reworking their content strategy to acquiring new skills, they have been gradually adapting to the changing times. While some are pivoting and creating food content, some are re-doing their sites. Most are either switching careers or looking at new products in the travel industry.
Leading travel blogger Lakshmi Sharath has been taking online courses and attending webinars during the lockdown. She has also been developing a new SEO strategy for her blog, and cleaning up stranded articles, and writing about her trips from last year. Sharath says that the pandemic has given her a chance to do a lot of things that she earlier couldn’t find time for. “I’ve been taking a lot of online courses too. I did a short course on prehistoric art, I am taking another one on Roman art and archaeology,” she tells us.
The blogger had gone to review a property in Madurai in January, but before she could plan her trips for the year, the lockdown happened. “I did plan a trip to Russia with some friends but didn’t make any bookings, so I have no regrets,” she says. Sharath is also conducting an online travel writing course, a few workshops and giving talks on several online platforms. She also plans to relaunch her YouTube channel and do a podcast.
The pandemic has affected her finances as blogging is her only source of income and she hasn’t got any assignments for a while now. “Financially, yes we all have been hit, but hopefully things will slowly change and we will get opportunities,” says Sharath. She believes that bloggers will have to work on themselves and look at new things they can do with their skills. “ I am using the time to enhance my skills, trying to look for opportunities online, cleaning up my profile on LinkedIn and doing online networking."
Discussing her blog’s content strategy in a post-COVID world, Sharath says that she will focus on writing about people in the travel industry and people she has met during her travels. “I am introducing one person every month. Last week, I wrote about a banker who is now a wildlife conservationist."
She is optimistic about the future of the travel industry. “It’s just a question of time. After the lockdown, people would want to get out and travel to open spaces like mountains, beaches, valleys and stay in small boutique hotels,” Sharath says. She is not planning to travel anytime soon though. “ It’s going to be a wait and watch game for me. The primary need right now is to be safe,” she says.