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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We're all going on a glamping holiday - again, and again, and again

A problem with the travel media, and the US media in particular, is their enthusiasm for publishing syndicated travel stories (they’re cheaper) and their preference for masking that the story was syndicated (everyone wants to publish original content, right?), which means the same story appears in a dozen or more different publications in different guises. I have no problem with syndication – my own stories have been syndicated – I just prefer that papers be honest about it. The Los Angeles Times glamping story Say, has the butler cleaned the trout yet? is Kimi Yoshino’s same Seattle Times story Glamorous camping: tent, butler, $595 a night which I quoted in my last post on the glamping trend. What’s even more disappointing in the travel media today is that there’s little analysis of or insight into the growth of travel trends generally. To use the glamping phenomenon again, aside from the trivialities, the most we learnt from the body of coverage was that the trend opened up exotic travel destinations to a traditionally uninterested demographic, as Courtney Weaver mentioned in Roughing it in Style in Business Week. Interestingly, one of the most insightful comments came from The Grinder, a food rather than a travel blog, which saw glamping as being symptomatic of a growing gap between America’s rich and everyone else. Now why couldn't a travel journalist have suggested that? I'm not after in-depth socio-economic analysis here but when a writer covers a new trend, such as glamping, wouldn't it be interesting to know the how's and why's as part of an introduction to the phenomenon rather than just read about the fact that one resort's comforters don't touch the floor and that you can plug in your hairdryer at another. Maybe I just expect too much from the travel press?

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