Meet Dr. Paul Johnson. He has worked in the travel industry for more than 25 years and he has traveled the world extensively. Hence, when it comes to knowing what travel is all about, he has something to say. Get to know him better and follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
First of all, tell everyone a basic background of who you are…
I am Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog which is the leading blog for the luxury travel industry, with more than 225,000 likes on Facebook and over 425,000 followers on Twitter. My background is in online marketing for the tourist industry and I am a Director of The Dedicated Partnership Ltd. as well as of a holiday accommodation business, Kendal Holiday Cottages Ltd.
What motivated you to start your blog?
First and foremost, a love of travel. I love seeing different places in the world, exploring different cultures, trying different foods, etc. In my student days, I would do it on a budget, but when we went on honeymoon (a safari in Tanzana followed by some R&R on a private island), we splurged and I suppose I got a taste for ‘luxury travel’ then which sparked my interest.
What to you is a luxury travel?
I get asked this one all the time! To me, it all hinges upon service and exclusivity. Forget the fancy chandelier in the foyer or the gold taps in the bathroom… it’s not about the material things, it’s about the personal touches and nothing being too much trouble. It’s the people behind an establishment that define whether it is luxurious, not the establishment itself.
Have you ever experienced any challenges to blogging as a team of various writers and guest bloggers?
It’s always a challenge! To date, we’ve had more than 400 contributors on A Luxury Travel Blog. Trying to convey what you are looking for from your writers isn’t always easy to get across. That said, we do lay out some fairly clear guidelines which, if read (and that’s often not guaranteed!), should keep them on the right path.
I noticed you mentioned about the travel blogger database you created. Tell us more about it…
Sure… to start with, the details can be found here:
Increasingly, clients working with me were asking me to suggest other bloggers to work with. They might say they wanted to work with other bloggers who were big on Twitter, or other bloggers based in the UK, or bloggers serving more than 50,000 unique visitors per month. After quite a number of these kinds of requests, I was finding it quite laborious to try to find a blogger – or bloggers – that best matched their needs, hence the creation of the database.
I was amazed at the response and had over a thousand bloggers sign up in the first month, and that number continues to rise to this day. The information we hold is really extensive so now if we have someone looking for bloggers with travel blogs in Spanish, or bloggers who have a big readership in the US or Canada, we can pull up that information much more easily. As a result, we’ve already successfully matched up a number of travel companies with exactly the kinds of travel bloggers that they were looking to work with. It’s a win-win for all concerned.
What has been your favorite places that you’ve visited so far?
That’s a tough one… I’ve been lucky to go to so many wonderful places. I’ll choose three (but I could choose many more!): Mnemba Island off Zanzibar in Tanzania, the Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and remote parts of West Greenland.
How do you fund your travels?
My travel is also my work, so my trips are funded by the clients that I work for.
Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?
In the UK I prefer to use credit cards that give me cashback rather than airline credits, but I am a member of a number of frequent flyer schemes such as British Airways’ Avios and Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty programme.
What places are still on your bucket list?
Australia and New Zealand. I have still yet to make it there. I’d also like to go to Iceland some time soon… I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Greenland, but never Iceland… I’d love to go there, too.
Do you have any major travel regrets?
Not ‘taking the plunge’ to go full time with my blog sooner. I’ve been running it since 2005, but didn’t go full time until 2012. Since doing so, things have gone from strength to strength… I just wish I’d done it sooner.
What is your advice to people who want to experience a luxury travel?
Do your research. Know what it is that you are looking for, and then do as much ‘homework’ as you can. The internet is an amazing resource and the chances are that there’s someone who’s already made the trip (and written about it) that you are aspiring to do yourself.