These days you can’t pick up a laptop, smartphone or tablet without coming across an influencer. Usually someone promoting a product or service, in return for a fee, freebies or so called ‘exposure’. It’s no surprise that ambassadors are everywhere – it’s the most effective way for a brand to promote their product, by working with someone who their target audience can relate to, creating real content that isn’t a flashy ad.
But what about the bloggers and influencers who go deeper than that, who offer a real wealth of knowledge to their readers and followers?
I’m a disabled travel blogger, and I think what we give to our readers is pretty unique. I started blogging in 2010, before brand ambassadors and influencers were a thing, when you could get the occasional hosted trip but there was no such thing as being paid to create content. The reason I started blogging was to share my passion for travel with the rest of the world, and to show that accessible travel is possible, and can be made easier with the right information.
Almost a decade later, that’s still the reason why I blog. Sure, the hosted trips are nice, but the best feeling in the world is someone telling you that they’ve had the confidence to book a trip, as a disabled person, because they’ve read your latest blog post.
A disabled person who wants to travel needs a huge amount of information before they can even decide on their destination. That’s why disabled travel bloggers, as well as telling you why you should go somewhere, importantly we tell you how – what the accessible transport options are, how the hotel has adapted to accommodate all guests, where the best places to visit in a wheelchair are. All of this accompanied by high quality photography and film, because there is no substitute for seeing it with your own eyes when it comes to accessibility.
‘Inspirational’ is a word that is overused in disability circles, but I do want to inspire. Not for living my life, not for working hard despite the barriers I face, but to inspire others to travel, no matter what their impairment or disability. To know that although accessible travel can be challenging, stressful, and sometimes disastrous, it can also be freeing, empowering, and absolutely wonderful.
I urge travel brands, accommodation providers and places to visit to reach out to disabled travel bloggers and work with us. The accessible tourism market is worth an estimated 3.5 billion pounds in the UK alone, a so called ‘purple pound’ which no business can afford to ignore.
Disabled travel bloggers are more than just influencers – we are the bridge between the fear of ‘what if?’ and the joy of an amazing trip.