A free holiday… or a job with no salary?

Guest Post from Pura Aventura's Tom Power. Would you like a free trip in return for blog posts?

Welcome Tom Power for a guest blog post. Tom runs a rather nice boutique tour company called Pura Aventura which specialises in tours to Latin America and Spain. It's on a theme I've touched on before... but, coming from an operator rather than a journalist the perspective is different. Would anyone take him up on his offer? I know he'd love to know your thoughts and, of course, so would I...

What if, rather than asking travel journalists to take a trip with
us, commission a story and write about it, we simply offered free
holidays to travel bloggers?

I’m polling opinion here and would really appreciate your thoughts.
I can’t help thinking that there’s a potentially great idea here with
potentially great vulnerabilities. Where do you think it falls?

This is where I’ve got to:

1) Selective: we’d have to be picky about the blogs we select,
that’s hardly controversial. We would want to associate ourselves with
blogs that have decent reputations and rankings.

2) Prescriptive: we would want to define the number of posts and
links back to our site. Probably in the order of 4 posts pre-trip, 1
per day on the trip and another 4 on return. Presumably it is
reasonable that we expect an output in return for our investment.
Anyone see any issues with this?

3) Controlling: what are the acceptable limits of editorial control?
What if the blogger just hates the trip and is relentlessly nasty? (I
should say that I have full faith in what we do and I can’t think of a
time that it has happened to a customer so am not by nature worried.)
However, what if a blogger is the only one in a group to dislike the
trip? Do we retain editorial control? What would be the acceptable
limits and lines?

4) Profiling: our holidays are generally taken by people later in
life, median would be in the 50s I guess. If we were to send a blogger
on this walking holiday to Chile
for instance, would that work? Are there bloggers who would broadly
match the profile of our existing customers? Does it matter? Are travel
bloggers generally outdoors types or do they sit in still rooms lit
only by the glow of computer screens?

5) Boring: is this an offer which regularly drops into the laps of
travel bloggers? This isn’t my idea, I’ve nicked it from a Springwise
newsletter (cool business ideas from around the world), I think they
saw it being done in New Zealand. Is anyone else offering similar here?

6) Toe treading: and this is one for the TravelBlather and Travel Lists and many, many others I’m sure. Professional travel writers. How does this idea sit with you guys?

7) Fine print: the trip would usually not be 100% free as we don’t
tend to include international flights. If you had to buy a flight to,
say, South America, in order to claim/earn your trip, would it still

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