Should Travel Writers Get Free Trips or Get Paid by a Destination?
This started out with the question: Should travel writers ask for free trips?
It's a vexing and contentious issue for travel professionals.
The ethical issues are pretty clear: If a travel writer is given an all-expense trip to a country, hotel, resort or whatever - and this usually includes airfare, meals, accommodations and passes to attractions in the region - can that writer be balanced in his or her article?
This changes the game considerably.
If the question is, can a travel writer see clearly enough to include the negative or the "not-so-great" in content paid for by a destination, it becomes a more compelling question if the destination is not just providing a free trip, but is actually paying the writer to write.
Is this is the new content model?
In principle, I’m not opposed to destination paying a writer. It eliminates one more barrier to the content providers success: the need to get notoriously stingy publishers and editors to cough up a few bucks for work done.
But can the content be trusted?
Can even TripAdvisor’s content be trusted?
In a recent Linkedin discussion group, there were about 80 comments on the question posted by a hotel owner who had writers asking for three (and more) days complimentary stays at her place.
She was asking for help in figuring out if the requests were over the top, and in general how to handle the many requests she gets from writers for free stays.Continued on the next page