Forward – Toward Working Together – Travel Blog Camp 2012

I thought I’d use Obama’s slogan as a title to discuss Travel Blog Camp 2012. Partly because, at this point in time, it’s hard to write about travel blogging when the US might vote in Mitt Romney – horrifying much of the rest of the world.

Forward is where I’d like the discussion on the future of travel media to move when (and if) I attend travel blog camp next year. Also, because what I’m hearing is that people don’t read like they used to, I thought I’d put the most important part at the beginning of the post:

Please, please, please get a copy of Macrowikinomics.

I’ve said it before but I really do think it’s the most important book I’ve read in years. It talks about the printing press revolution and compares it to the digital revolution at the beginning, for example.

There was a time people had far more patience.

Nowadays, people are flummoxed when one man is unable to single-handedly fix the world’s problems in four years. It’s fascinating really. So it isn’t surprising that some people are frustrated it’s taking so long for digital businesses to really take off.

I’m incredibly frustrated. Especially so because I believe digital businesses will save us. They will empower young people, encourage collaboration and create jobs. They will allow people to have their say in every single industry. They will allow people to shape politics, as well as charitable activities (I know, I met all these govermenty types after simply creating a hashtag, then put forward the ideas from which sprang).

Next year, I’d like travel blog camp to take the form of a BarCamp. I’ve seen BarCamps in the wonderful world of not for profits, I think travel types should get one.

At a barcamp, ideally, everyone has the chance to put forward an idea. There is much discussion. These ideas can then become actions. And actions are what will move the travel industry forward. Much as actions are what will save the world. And the best part is that you don’t have to be a journalist or a blogger or any other labelly type thing. You can just be you.

I like just being me. I have a blog (it’s mostly about trains, you’re reading it). I also had a piece in Fortean Times magazine last month and contributed to a piece in the Sunday Times Travel Magazine. And I do copywriting. And I work with startups. So I think that makes me just me. Unlabelled.

Next year, I want editors to put up their hands and say, ‘hey, pay me a fee and I’ll edit stuff.’ I want developers to put up their hands and say ‘hey, pay me a fee and I’ll do you a great backend.’ And I want designers to chime in with, ‘I’ll do the artwork!’ And then I’d like the entrepreneurs to bring them all together.

Everyone has a skill. If you have one you could bring to the table and join a team, we could start building really great digital startups.


Sophie Collard on Google+

And So Begins Another World Travel Market

Sunday 6th November 2011 and a lot of bloggers are in (excitingly) the Guoman hotel attached to Charing Cross station. I love a good railway hotel so this was right up my line… the new Mashable of travel had organised a travel-themed quiz to mark the beginning of World Travel Market – the largest annual travel expo. I thought it’d be fun to shoot a wee film asking who some of the bloggers were and what they hoped to get out of #WTM this year. You’ll catch my face at the end just to finish (and promote this blog a little).

Thanks to Isabelle Kenis @Isabellestravel, Kash Bhattacharya @BudgetTraveller, Kirsten Alana @kirstenalana, Keith Jenkins @velvetescape, Janice Waugh @solotraveler, Melvin Traveldudes @traveldudes, Jayne Gorman @jayneytravels, Dylan Lowe @TravelingEditor, Ayngelina Brogan @Ayngelina, Paul Dowster @TravMonkey, Cailin O’Neil @CailinONeil, Andy Jarosz @501places. I’m @sophontrack

World Travel Market Trends 2010

I’ve just been in The World Travel Market Global Trends Report conference. In fact, I’m sitting in the press centre right this minute to write this.
The report covered several trends (including, interestingly, the fact that Iraq is at WTM for the first time in a decade). I was most interested in what it had to say about social media.

The report states that, ‘Following the success of the iPhone, smartphones are revolutionising the travel industry.’
In fact Quno teamed up with with SCVNGR a few months ago to set up station-related smartphone games that you could download the SCVNGR app and play.

The report goes on to suggest that, ‘smartphone penetration is expected to reach 92% in Europe by 2014 according to Ovum.’ That’s a very ambitious statement, but exciting nonetheless.

Social media was mentioned as the ‘next battleground’ for travel booking companies. So I stood up (a little shakily as my face was magnified on a screen at the front) and asked how the panel envisaged this battleground playing out…

The consensus was that social media would become increasingly important and was changing the face of the travel industry. The panel also alluded to internet television in the more distant future.

I’m off to grapple with the sheer size of this conference now!

To find out more about the report visit