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Dutch travel bloggers have proved resilient during the corona crisis

NEWS RELEASE – 10 December 2020: How are the travel bloggers in the Netherlands and Belgium doing? You hardly hear anything about this small entrepreneurial group during the corona crisis, what exactly is that?

The year 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for many sectors. You hear a lot about it on the news; empty restaurants, the catering industry that is collapsing and airlines that receive state aid need. But what about the many travel bloggers in the Netherlands and Belgium? Strangely enough, you hardly hear anything about this small entrepreneurial group. So it's high time to find out why.

Also read: DIGITAL NOMAD | 100x tips for starting and advanced travel blogs

The travel industry is having a hard time

The travel industry has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus crisis, perhaps more so than any other industry. Strangely enough, there is relatively little news about this industry. What many people do not realize is that there are many more victims than just KLM. For example, consider the safari industry who has been forced to her knees with < 75% less turnover and even the big TUI is having a hard time.

Numerous smaller travel companies and travel agencies have already quietly fallen over the past year, a brief look at the bankruptcy reports at the ANVR is significant.

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Nevertheless, despite all the setbacks, the travel bloggers seem to keep their heads above water. How is it that this group of small entrepreneurs manages to survive the corona crisis despite everything?

Photo by Oskar Kadaksoo

Travel bloggers are resilient

The travel bloggers who provide you with the best travel tips, advice on travel and help you book the best deals day in and day out have proven to be resilient. That's the short conclusion. This is striking because travel bloggers have also seen their income fall drastically in the past year, partly due to the lack of bookings and the loss of associated affiliate income.

Many travel bloggers have been looking for other ways to generate income. A quick check on my personal LinkedIn, where I have many connections in the travel world, is proof of that. Some of them have a own webshop set up. some are SEO trainings start giving, writing and selling e-books & books or started working as a freelance copywriter at various other companies and websites. To date I have hardly seen or heard anyone complain in the travel blog world, which is striking.

Budgeting and dealing with setbacks

My theory is that travel bloggers who travel extensively and/or travel for extended periods have often become very good at managing money as well. In addition, they have become experts in managing and putting setbacks into perspective. Missed flights, scams, theft and budget problems. These are all issues that you as a traveler will have to deal with sooner or later. As annoying as it is at the time, the experience will eventually help you to be more flexible in the future. You learn to deal with a smaller budget and you learn to process setbacks faster and to continue again. These are skills and abilities that you can use for the rest of your life, and especially in your career.

Also read: 10 reasons why a trip around the world is good for your career and future

Travel bloggers do it easier with less

"Then just a little less luxury, subscriptions and unnecessary expenses”. At least, that's how I see it myself. I can't even remember the last time I made an impulsive purchase. Anyone who spends months on world trip know better than anyone that you have to watch your money very carefully when your budget is limited, at least you want to make it to the end of your trip with the limited budget that you have available. We have also written countless articles about travel bloggers over the years cheap world travel, save and save for a trip and even about it selling stuff to achieve certain financial goals. We can apply all these tips & tricks during the crisis to survive.

What other travel bloggers are saying

To strengthen my theory, I started asking questions of fellow travel bloggers. Firstly because I am curious, but also because maybe we can learn something from each other. You never know what the future will bring!

How have travel bloggers experienced the corona crisis so far? How do they keep their heads above water and how do they generate income?

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Diana van Stripeaway.nl says: "I am with ToffeHotspots.nl started working on a website that focuses on nice special hotspots in terms of accommodation and food. I also started a personal website (dianavriends.nl) about my shopping addiction, debts and ADHD, about which I now provide more information and provide guest lectures at schools”.

Sanne van ensannereis.nl says: “I am now focusing on my webshop (saltblood.nl) for original & sustainable beach items, which I also started in this crisis and are already going like a train with 5-15 orders a day. I definitely want to pick up blogging again, but also be able to travel again so that I can share nice new tips”.

Sam van checkoutsam.nl says: “The Corona pandemic, of course, came as a huge shock. I am completely dependent on my websites to generate income. Fortunately I have a few other websites in other sectors, but it is really mainly Check Out Sam. I really notice that the numbers fluctuate a lot. In March I had to take the biggest blow and this time (full of new lockdowns…) the numbers are also declining. To deal with this problem, I have heavily modified my strategy. Instead of just writing about travel, I have now also started writing reviews about products that are travel related or that remind you of travel. A bit of lifestyle, actually. In addition, I have started to focus more on traveling nearby (staycations). Visiting our own country, or not very far across the border”.

Bianca van foodtravelphotography.com says: “I started to focus more on the Netherlands. Looking for a challenge in new campaigns that I did not look at before and I am also working on an (affiliate) e-book”.

Linda van mywanderlust diary says: “My resilience has turned out to be very minimal. I am an international manager so I traveled abroad for a week at least once or twice a month (from Uganda to Romania and everything in between). I blog about all the beautiful destinations I visit, but also about my life as a tough business woman. With corona my dynamic, traveling business life turned into an eternal online meeting at the kitchen table. After a few months in which I still had energy to create content for my blog, I temporarily stopped blogging altogether in August. I got into a rut and had no energy for anything. My mental health went down. Fortunately, I know that everything is temporary, both my mental state and the corona situation. When my life as a tough businesswoman comes back and I get on the plane again, my blog will come alive again. It's not my style to suddenly change my blog completely because corona temporarily changes my life. I am convinced that people like to read a blog because of the atmosphere and the content”.

Yvonne Van yvonnereistverder.nl says: “I would go on unpaid leave in the course of 2020, to go on a long trip with my family. The idea was to see if my blog's revenue over that period remained somewhat similar to last year, when blog and job yielded about the same. If I had a positive experience, I would have quit my job when I got home. The first months that Corona was there, I saw my visitors decrease by almost 80%, because I mainly have a lot of long-haul content. My employer had to close the door. In the meantime, I've picked myself up again, started writing a mix of content closer to home and far away.. and now in a temporary job on hold to see how things will look next year. I stay motivated to write because it's just what I like and because I know there will come a time when the effort will be rewarded.”

Aniek van adventureopreis.com says: “I write my blogs as a freelancer. At the start of the corona crisis, my income did drop, but this is already rising well. And I've been able to travel a lot, so I've added a lot of new content to my sites. It will pay off later.”

Claudia from ctheworld.nl says: “My travel blog is a hobby for me. I like to write and travel. I miss the travel, the adventure, but it does feel like a luxury problem. My loved ones and I are still healthy, that's the most important thing. Eric and I both kept our jobs. When it's possible again, we'll go on a world tour. The longer we have to wait, the bigger the budget. In the meantime I earn nothing with my blog and the visitor numbers have halved. Well, it's no different."

Edwin van mountainreporters.com says: “In addition to my websites, I started an online travel magazine (www.outdoordichtbij.nl) that has a full 100% focus on sustainable travel close to home (Benelux and Germany). And that works. As a result, the turnover of my company has increased enormously compared to the past few years. You have to keep up with the developments in the world. That's what makes doing business so much fun!"

Antonette van we12travel.com says: “There is a difference between blogging and running a business. In the beginning I went into a lot of cramps, but now I have picked myself up again and I have started looking at what is still possible. For example, I launched two new sites and started to focus more on other revenue models. If only to be better prepared in the future, should we find ourselves in such a situation again.”

Fate of travelhunger.nl en travelgoesting.be says: “I've suffered little loss in my numbers (the last three months are even noticeably better than the same months in 2019), but of course I miss traveling a lot. Articles about the inland, holiday homes, outdoor and day trips are doing very well. The income is not what it used to be. In recent months I've also been trying to breathe life into some other projects, such as photography and copywriting."

anouk van destinationpuravida.nl says: “I have adjusted my subjects. What is going on in Costa Rica right now and what choices can you as a traveler make to help the locals as much as possible? I also still try to take my readers into our daily lives and I am busy making ebooks. It has been a nice pause button for me to think more about what I want with my blog”.

Kirsten van travelaar.nl says: “As a full-time blogger, everything has pretty much chopped up. I mainly focus on distant destinations and world travel and of course that all stopped. Income was lost for about 90%. The summer months again gave some motivation, because articles about Europe were well read, but there is little left of that either. I keep myself motivated – although I don't always succeed – by updating older content, we've built and launched a new theme for the site and I keep publishing new content because it has to be okay someday. I have deliberately chosen not to change my blog. That means that of course a few articles about the Netherlands have appeared, but the focus remains as it was”.

Lizette Van travelmuts.nl says: “Besides the blog, I have a permanent job 3 days a week, which ensures sufficient stable income. Last year I saw the income with the blog drop enormously and they are still scant. Collaborations consisted partly of barter deals of trips in the Netherlands, which were a lot of fun. The blog started out of my passion for travel and writing and it is still there. My wish and goal is to make the income through the blog more stable. I had been toying with the idea of ​​another blog for some time and last month decided to do it side by side. With topics that are not crisis sensitive. It will be live by the end of March at the latest.”

Sylvia Van wapititravel.com says: “We almost only have distant destinations and saw our visitors and income decline by almost 95% in the first period. This was quite frustrating because things started to go really well at the end of 2019. Despite the fact that 2020 was a difficult year, we have chosen to invest. We now work with multiple writers and post more blogs per month than in 2019. We are convinced that everything will come back on its feet and that continuing to invest in content and yourself is the only way to move forward”.

Melissa van travellegend.nl says: “Visitors have decreased quite a bit, but fortunately not as much as with other travel bloggers. Now that traveling has come to a complete standstill, I focus on writing articles that were still on my list. Articles about destinations that I have already visited, but which I have not yet written (everything) about. Most of my income comes from my other website, which fortunately only experienced a few months of Covid-19 in the spring. In addition, I have had some passive income from stock photos and print on demand for years, which always provides a good basis”

Sandra van radiatingwriting.nl says:“I'm me on the website scandinavischleven.nl mainly focus on writing about Scandinavian lifestyle: how do you bring Scandinavia into your home if you can't go there?”

maaike van travelalut.com says: “I work full-time on my travel blog and have nothing besides it (no freelance assignments or part-time job). I too wrote (and write) mainly about distant destinations, so my visitor numbers were far away. Fortunately, I have always been involved with different revenue models, so that I do not only generate income from my blog. Right from the start of the crisis, I started working out all kinds of ideas that had been on the shelf for some time, so that I will earn enough from July. Of course it is not a world salary, but I manage just fine and I am very happy with that as a full-time travel blogger in these times. And we just keep going creative!”

Madeleine's pureopreis.nl says: “The visitor numbers have increased for me. However, that does not yield any money, so I have entered into partnerships with companies that focus on travel items that you can also use at home”.

tivka from familyopreis.nl says: “Few people quit because most travel bloggers weren't already doing it as a full-time job. For me, GezinOpReis is my full-time job and income has indeed fallen dramatically. That was a shock, especially in March. Fortunately, I did have a buffer and the right to 3 months of Tozo and I also used that time to look at what was still possible. My top 50 blogs today are 2/3 different from those of previous years. I can keep my head above water by creating different content, but also by proactively approaching destinations for campaigns that are appropriate in this day and age. This year I did more press trips and campaigns than usual because I was now more actively involved in setting them up. On a positive note: when this summer there was again a window to travel, I immediately saw a huge revival and revenue growth. That gives confidence for the future.”

Elisha van flitterfever.com says: “Together with web designer Sabine Boogaard, I completely renewed my travel blog Flitter Fever during the corona crisis. I use articles to respond to current events surrounding COVID-19, update older articles, collaborate with other bloggers, newsletter about my partners, etc. I try to get rid of my writing backlog, I still have material for at least a year. These last two months of the year I already have a record turnover!”

rani van youngwildfree.be says: “2020 was going to be my year. I had planned so many wonderful trips. From Thailand to Mexico and Belize. A roadtrip through Germany and a solo trip to New York. Not a single trip that continued and also many beautiful collaborations that fell away…. I'm 'just' a hobby blogger and this is not what I earn money from, but it's still a shame. On the other hand, this year I made a lot of other beautiful trips and saw countries that I wouldn't think of otherwise. Next week to Madeira. So all in all, nothing to complain about. Traveling through Europe has never appealed to me in recent years, but I have noticed that there are also a lot of beautiful places closer to home and the visitors on my blog searched for them. The staycation in our own country in particular did well. It's all about the mindset and I'm still grateful for what is possible”.

Travel bloggers are passionate

One thing has become clear to me after reading all the comments: travel bloggers are passionate experts by experience. Especially when it comes to processing and putting setbacks into perspective as well as dealing with (less) money. I think that partly because of this, travel bloggers are less likely to get into trouble during a crisis like this. Travel bloggers also seem to be able to respond quickly to changes. They see new opportunities and find new ways to generate income and they can be proud of that.

Travel bloggers are passionate and able to change
Travel bloggers are passionate and able to change

How did you deal with the corona crisis?

Unfortunately I wasn't able to list all the travel bloggers here, but if you're not there and still want to share your story, feel free to add it in the comments! Fellow bloggers are extremely curious about your story and to get ideas.

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Written by: Chris Thomassen - Wereldreizigers.nl
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0 comments

  • Hey Ruud,

    To be honest, I took the risks for granted and just went on a journey to other continents despite the many restrictions. I have also seen this with other travel bloggers, although most did indeed focus more on the Netherlands and Europe.

    For example, during code orange I went to Kenya and Uganda and would do it again in a heartbeat. A lot is possible during code red and orange, but you have to arrange a lot of extra paperwork and yes there are risks that you have to take for granted.

  • How is it now a year later? We especially notice that we really miss intercontinental travel, and the freedom to simply plan ahead. Even though we are in much better shape than a year ago, traveling to distant destinations still seems very uncertain. Incidentally, we also had a great time in the Netherlands and France this year, but something a bit more tropical is also allowed!

  • Interesting to see how the various travel blogs deal with this period. My travel websites such as spansesteden.nl and barcelonapagina.nl focus on Spain, which means that the income has almost completely disappeared. Fortunately, I was able to make a few more trips and mainly focused on new content and websites for after the corona period, such as florencetips.nl and edinburghtips.nl. Finally for once no lack of time to develop something. My motto remains that the missed trips will be made up for over and over again.

  • What an interesting read! Here's my story too!

    2020 would be the year I started living off my travel blog full time. 2019 had already proven that this was possible, but then I also worked a lot on my marketing agency as a freelancer. In March I saw all my affiliate earnings canceled and my sales were only a fraction of what it was a few months later. Because payments in the travel world are often 2-3 months behind schedule, I had some leeway to see what I would do. My best option was to move on with my marketing agency. That way I can still keep my head above water. I have to postpone my dream of living solely on Reisjevrij.nl.

  • In recent years we have set up travel websites all over the world. The idea was that you will always have countries where you have income, regardless of the season. Of course we never considered that a global pandemic would affect all our websites. We were already hit in February and after that we started working on more Dutch content.

    In addition, we have set up websites in a completely different market. Fortunately, these quickly proved successful. The existing travel websites are slowly starting to return to normal visitor numbers and are now also generating enough income.

  • Nice to read that many bloggers are coming out in a creative way in these challenging times.

  • Nice article Chris, thank you! ? Regards, Elisa

  • Very nice and informative article. I have all my creativity for http://www.vakantaseren.nl used to come up with fun new angles for original stories. And with success because the last 2 months I have been booking absolute visitor records! I am very happy and proud of that. It's mostly a matter of thinking, I think.

  • Interesting to read because this was exactly what I've been wondering for a while: how are other bloggers doing this now. I currently have a job but if you blog full time it's a different story. Thanks!

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