The COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on most travel bloggers, us included.
In March we saw our page views drop by 80%. By April, some of our affiliate partners had advised that they would stop paying out on commissions, and other affiliate partners drastically reduced their commissions.
Our newsletter provider Mailchimp came to the aid of small businesses by offering three free months of newsletters to a number of us. We were one of the lucky ones who applied. We will always remember their continued support during this period.
We reached out to our newsletter community and explained how COVID-19 was affecting us and that we would continue to inspire our readers by creating new articles, updating our old articles and working on a new updated website theme. We remained positive and upbeat and hoped that our readers were as well.
Our travel partners from last year’s travels in Vietnam and Cambodia were a source of inspiration for us. We had created many articles on our adventures in 2019 and we share them regularly along with our many other articles on our social media. We chatted with them to see how they were faring. Every one of them told the same story. They had seen no tourists since March, some had closed down temporarily and were playing the waiting game and a few unfortunately, may never open again. All we can do is support them through our articles and hope that when the time comes our articles will inspire others to visit.
We created our travel website www.totraveltoo.com in 2013 and we had discussed revamping the theme. As we were in lockdown here in Sydney, Australia what better time than now to go ahead with this? As we are normally on the road for between six to nine months each year, it is something we had put on the back-burner. It is just too time-consuming to travel and to concentrate on creating a new theme as well as working with brands and creating content.
After a few months of finding the appropriate travel theme and working with our website designer we finally launched the updated site in July. We wanted a user-friendly, speedy, informative website suitable for both mobile and desktop. We are thrilled with the result.
We are so happy with what we achieved during this time we have decided to start another website, more of a niche site on Australia. We are not sure how long it will be before we are able to travel internationally again so we are concentrating on our home market of Australia. In these current times it makes sense, people can’t travel overseas from Australia and are looking to travel more in their own country.
The site is still in its infancy. We are in the planning stage creating a sitemap. This is the most critical step for us. We have to get it right first time. We require a theme that is speedy, user-friendly and renders well on both desktop and mobile. The next stage is to create enough content to launch it, which we will do through domestic, local travel.
We’ve stayed productive and upbeat during this time. We had a purpose and we did not give up. Of course, it hit our bottom line, it’s affected everybody’s bottom line, but as we write this there has been a slight improvement in our page views on To Travel Too and we have noticed a few bookings trickling through at last.
This pandemic can’t last forever, and we will soon be back traveling, in one form or another. In the meantime, it’s important to use this time productively, to plan for the future of travel as you see it.