Hotel Insight speaks to Jayne Gorman, founder of 40before30.com

It gives me great pleasure presenting to you one of my favorite travel blogs, 40before30.com

For those who have not discovered this blog yet, it’s written by Jayne Gorman, with the simple idea of visiting 40 countries before she’s 30!  It’s a great blog – very fun, yet gripping and informative.  What really interests me is how someone can use a blog such as this to not only sure their experiences with friends and family, but how blogging and social media has become recognised as a key marketing tool in providers eyes.  I also wanted to take the chance to pass on a few blogs that I read regularly in the hope you enjoy them.  Here’s the interview – enjoy.

Q: Jayne, thank you for talking to Hotel Insight.  How would you describe yourself and what you do?

Well I describe myself as a travel addict. I’m a travel blogger by passion and profession (I’m a Social Media Specialist for Flight Centre UK) and am never happier than when on an overseas adventure.

Q: What made you start “40 countries before I’m 30” and tell your story online?

I started my blog 40before30.com nearly 2 years ago because my friends nagged me to. I was always updating my facebook status or sending emails with snippets of my mishaps and experiences abroad and someone suggested I write a blog so it was all in one place. I still write my blog as if it is for my closest friends and family, the fact that anybody else reads it is pure accident and never ceases to amaze me! The name came about because I was in Malaysia at the start of 2010 and realised that was my 30th country to visit. I pondered allowed that I would like to visit 40 countries before turning 30 – I was 25 at the time – and the name stuck. The challenge I have currently set myself is to visit AND blog about 40 countries before turning 30. A lot harder than it sounds as the countries I visited as a child I no longer remember, so I am revisiting or replacing them with new destinations in order to write about the experience in detail.

Q: Do you find travel brands be it hotels, airline, attractions etc welcome travel bloggers such as yourself?

More and more travel brands are waking up to the benefits of social media and are embracing the exposure working with a travel blogger allows them. I wrote about places I stayed and areas I visited for years without anyone taking any notice but more recently I have had emails from hotels like the Sofitel London Heathrow thanking me for my kind words about them, which I really appreciated. Bloggers are also learning how to communicate their value to brands and I have found that if you are able to do this there are many travel brands who are very keen to work with you. I think that a relationship between a blogger and a tourism board can work very well. I have found my readers can be inspired to visit destinations that they may not have previously considered by reading of someone’s experience there – even if this experience wasn’t necessarily a good one. The important thing for me is to remember to keep it honest. A bloggers relationship with the reader is built on trust, I wouldn’t recommend my friends to visit or stay somewhere I didn’t like so why would I tell my readers to?

Q: What’s been the most exciting adventure so far?  And the worst!

My most exciting adventure so far has been exploring the city of Xiamen on the East Coast of China on my own. It felt like I was the only western female in the city that weekend but it was an amazing, if strange, experience. The worst would have to be getting stranded on a island in Fiji where my room was a chicken shack with no lock on the door!

Q: You must have stayed in some great hotels along the way – any spring to mind?

The Meridien in Xiamen springs to mind. It had recently opened when I stayed and everything from the decor to the service was impeccable. I also recently stayed in The Penz Hotel in Innsbruck which has a roof terrace from which you can enjoy your complimentary champagne breakfast whilst staring at the Alps.

Q: The rise of social media has enabled anyone to share experiences online amongst friends and to the masses.  How have things changed in this area since you started your blog?

Social media in travel has grown into a huge industry in itself. Before starting my blog I had no idea you could become a travel blogger by trade, let alone that I would become one. From my personal experience getting involved in the travel blogging community has led to some amazing experiences and (I hope) life long friendships. Through connections on social media I can now travel to almost anywhere in the world and have a local show me around or share their tips – some have even offered to share their homes!

 Q: What number country are you on?

So I am currently 26 but (too) very soon due to be 27. I think since birth I have physically visited 38 countries but in terms of the 40 before 30 challenge I have currently visited and blogged about 24 countries. This leaves me 3 years to get around to discovering and writing about 16 more countries. Do you think I can do it?

Thanks again to Jayne for taking the time to talk to Hotel Insight. Check out her blog today – I’m sure the next 3 years of the adventure will be as exciting as the last!

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