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Having posted 30 travel opinions to date, here comes my advice on WHY and HOW you should contribute to this category and what to consider when you READ and WRITE travel reviews.
Most of us will at least once per year go on vacation, in the UK or abroad. We start weeks or months ahead to browse through catalogues and guidebooks, make flight and hotel reservations, plan our tours and buy sun lotion. The holiday is eagerly anticipated, and the month before you won't be talking about much else.
During our vaction, we forget all the troubles of work and relax. We explore new places, regain our fitness in all kinds of sports, bath in the southern sun, enjoy the culinary higlights of the local cuisine, and make new friends.
Once we have returned, our first way will directly lead us to the photo shop to have the holidays shots developed, which are then proudly shown to friends, family and colleagues. A few weeks will pass until the holiday moves to back parts of your consciousness and you are covered in work again.
The travel preparations, the holiday itself, and the aftermath may easily dominate a quarter of the year.
Holidays come at a price. Many of us will have to put aside the vacation money for several months ahead, if not a whole year. A two weeks vacation for a family with two children - including flight, hotel, full board, local transport, entry fees to sights, and souvenirs - may well come at 2000 Pounds.
Add two extended weekend getaways, and your annual travel budget may head towards 3000 Pounds, and that's still not the expensive kind of holiday-making. Thus a considerable part of our disposable incomes goes into holidays.
SO WHY AFTER ALL THIS ARE TRAVEL OPINIONS SO RARE AT CIAO?
Two polls currently conducted among the Ciao UK eGroup (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ciao_uk) show the Travel category to be the third most popular Ciao category to read in, at 13%. However, only 6% of the sample group mentioned Travel to be their favourite category for writing.
This is still far behind the leading categories Entertainment (read 38%, write 50%) and Internet (34% & 23%). Which is understandable because as Ciao users and internet freaks we flock to the net everyday, and most of us will also regularly go to the movies, read books or watch TV.
But the Travel category is (among the admittedly small sample of poll participants) still far more popular than the categories Telecoms, Health & Beauty, Games, Education, and Cars & Motorbikes, which all got zero (!) votes. (To let us all gain a more accurate sample of what is wanted at Ciao, please sign up to the group and participate in the polls.) Yet the top 20 list of most recent opinions is frequently loaded with opinions on mobile phones or body lotions. All these opinions are important, have their place at Ciao and should be read. But I believe that the travel section is terribly underrepresented.
And I'm sure that when you consider what you spend your money on, you will realise that some advice on where to put your holiday money would be very welcome. According to market research conducted by Procter & Gamble, the average European consumer buys a new tooth paste every eight weeks. The annual spending on tooth paste per person is thus around 10 Pound. Wouldn't you rather read about something that consumes several hundred or thousand pounds of your annual budget?
Well, if you want to, then we all have to contribute to the travel category with new input. And again, as most of us go on vacation, we all have our story to tell.
TELL US about the sights you have discovered. TELL US about the holiday resort where you stayed. TELL US about the restaurants where you enjoyed local cuisine. TELL US about the airline that got you there. TELL US about the travel agent who booked it for you. TELL US about the last minute deal that saved you money.
WHAT SHOULD BE IN A GOOD TRAVEL OPINION?
INFORM - As everywhere on Ciao, your opinion should help consumers to make qualified decisions. In the case of travel, many tour agents offer the same destinations, hotels and resorts to thousands of holiday makers. Hence a verdict on, for example, the quality of hotel rooms, food and facilities would be extremely useful to the one who books after you. Everything else follows the same rules as described in many opinions on "how to write opinions".
INSPIRE - Holidays can be the most special days in the whole year. Thus a travel opinion can also be somewhat special. Get us dreaming of a sunset on a mountain peak, lead us through your adventures in the tropic jungles, let us smell the ocean water on your boat tour, and make our mouths water from culinary discoveries. Lead us off the beaten tracks, to that special spot you have discovered.
A CONSTANTLY EVOLVING CATEGORY
Due to the limited traffic in this category so far, many destinations, sights, tour operators, etc. have not yet been listed in the category menu. But the Travel category has an outstandingly attentive Category Manager, Melanie. She is very prompt at putting online your opinion on a new product which you suggest. I have also asked her several times to include new products without having already written an opinion on them, but promised her that I would do so soon. She always responded immediately and followed my request. Melanie will always reply to your mails, and if her workload will delay her putting your proposal into action, she will let you know.
Post your opinions, make new product proposals and work with the Category Manager, I'm sure she is longing for your input. And, after all, read what other people have written - maybe their advice will lead you to a wonderful place you haven't even dreamed of.
Another informative opinion. I'm surprised about the lack of opinions on destinations. Most people can't stop going on about their holiday or striking tan until about a month afterwards, so why not put pen to paper. I get the impression that you travel abroad a lot on business, how do you get so much time to enjoy the sights and sounds of these destinations?
Suse 03.05.2001 09:56
Great op - I agree that the travel category is under-represented. I have written loads of ops about my travels around the world - some are better than others, obviously, but they don't get a huge number of reads. Still, I enjoy writing them and reading others in the category. Let's hope more people are attracted to the travel section by Ciao's latest competition!
kimborob 28.03.2001 00:16
Excellent review - I have written several ops on places ~i have been and experiences I have had and there is more to come, I couldn't agree with you more.