There was a time when if you wanted the skinny on a location, you had to go to a professional. Travelers who were affiliated with brands like travel channels were king, and it was their experience you would most draw from to learn about ideal holidays destinations. Travel agencies would focus on businesses that would pay them for a mention or review. Experiences of the independent traveler would vary as a result, and most would find it more difficult to discover quality options within their price range.
But the landscape of the internet has changed, and more and more hyperlocal blogs have been popping up in the niche. Many of which are further gaining visibility thanks to the useful tool of other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to get them seen by a wider audience. It is now more common than ever for the would-be traveler to get information from those who live (or have spent a great deal of time) in a city. Those professional sources are quickly losing ground, as a result.
The Benefits of Hyperlocal Blogs
Perhaps the greatest benefit of seeking out hyperlocal blogs is the chance to get a review based purely on experience, and not profit. Those who are writing about a city they know can direct you to less touristy spots that are off the beaten path. Ones you may never have discovered otherwise, and that offer a very personal, local charm.
Not long ago I was looking to take a holiday to a nearby state. I decided to look at sites run by both professional bloggers affiliated with a brand, and those that were independently written by locals living within the city. The difference between the two were staggering, and I while the professional sites all seemed to list the same network of businesses, I was finding dozens of places I never would have found on those hyperlocal blogs. All fitting my somewhat conservative budget that I had allocated for the trip.
During my trip I discovered some places that held a local charm that made it my most memorable holiday to date. Restaurants, bars, a nice B&B, a couple of entertainment venues and a little theater that did incredibly high quality stage shows were all found through local bloggers that gave a view of the city that the professional blogs lacked.
The Value of Hyperlocal
For the first time, big media sources are seeing the value in these personal experience blogs. Because they have a foundation within the community of which they originate, they can provide a direct line into the city that is missing from their larger alternatives. Which gives large media sources the chance to provide content from a more personal point of view, and also promotes those hyperlocal blogs in a way that would have been unheard of just five years ago.
Social media has also given these blogs a chance to connect with affiliates in the area, widening their scope and readership and providing a special kind of network that is a fairly new concept on the changing landscape of the web.
Do you own a hyperlocal blog? How have you seen your influence changing in recent years? Or, alternatively, as a traveler, have you found hyperlocal blogs to be more helpful that their bigger counterparts? Let us know in the comments!
Author Bio: Jessy is the local blogger for Dobovo, the free resource of apartments in Kiev, Odessa and many other Eastern-European locations. Jessy loves blogging her travel experiences, tips and ideas!