I admit that I harp on about blog trips and Tenerife…but for what I believe is good reason. Andy and I have documented our thoughts about blog trips and Tenerife before; done properly and they can result in priceless promotion of the island but done badly and they can do more harm than good.
If you want evidence of why we’re concerned about the potential damage blog trips to Tenerife can cause if not thought through properly, read on…and weep.
The latest blog trip to Tenerife seemed to have good potential. We were aware that Low Cost Holidays were planning a decent programme that would show some travel bloggers a different side to Tenerife. So far so good…and then the first tweets started to come in and it became horrifyingly clear where the bloggers were staying – Ten Bel in Costa del Silencio.
If I were going to pick the worst possible location in which to base travel bloggers I’m not sure I could beat Ten Bel. It’s a remnant of tourism past on Tenerife and represents exactly the out-dated image that many people have about Tenerife; the image that prevents the savvy traveller from putting Tenerife on their list of places to visit. As a double whammy the bloggers seemed to be on an all-inclusive basis, so Tenerife’s cuisine wasn’t done any favours either.
Whilst all the bloggers were pleasantly surprised by the little part of Tenerife’s countryside they explored on foot, their thoughts about their choice of base should have come as no surprise to anyone.
Writer Andrea Wren’s comments about Ten Bel were acerbically funny, describing it as follows.
‘…think giant, concrete car park decorated with red and white caution tape around crumbling parts of the pool, with worse customer service than you’d get from traffic wardens, plonked in a dump of a resort rumoured for muggings, and then you’re still nowhere near how bad it was.’
Her description is difficult to argue with,except maybe the ‘rumoured for muggings’ which is a bit harsh.
She ended her blog by questioning whether there were actually any nice places to relax on Tenerife after walking.
Blogger and outdoor aficionado, Jon Patterson was a bit kinder, although he started by saying that Tenerife was one of those destinations that he would normally choose to avoid. Me too Jon, until I was persuaded to ‘have a look’ at the whole island. Jon loved the countryside but had this to say about his base.
‘Despite arriving with an open mind I was disappointed to find the town we were staying in, Las Galletas, was every bit the tired, run down resort I had feared it might be.’
Sarah Gardner in her blog Travels with my Moleskin echoed others’ thoughts: ‘The first impressions of the island confirmed expectations; arriving in the south was like arriving in any tourist resort across the Mediterranean – bars, fish n chip shops (even a Chinese!), sprawling hotel complexes and worst of all, half built concrete buildings, their metal girders twisted up towards the blazing sun.’
All the bloggers seemed to have more or less the same perception of Tenerife as the one described on Travel with a Mate:
‘My idea of Tenerife was very much in the realms of 80?s Brit abroad culture, all-exclusive pool holiday where Brits came to catch a bit of sun whilst dining on fish n’chips and being entertained by Butlin’s style entertainment.’
He discovered the reality matched his perceptions: ‘As I arrived at the hotel pool around 10pm my worst fears were confirmed as I realised Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” was being played in the bar and there wasn’t an ironic smile in sight.’
From a PR point of view it was about as bad as it can get – unless the place the bloggers have described has you rushing to stuff the footie shirts into your suitcase..
Despite all the travel bloggers waxing lyrical about the countryside they discovered, they all also described an image of Tenerife that simply doesn’t apply to most of the rest of the island. But it is one that is still held by many. Their honest accounts (all credit to each, they told it as they found it) won’t have helped.
This is exactly the sort of publicity disaster that can be caused by not getting a blog trip right.
I’d love to know what Low Cost Holidays felt about the return on their ‘investment’.
If you don’t understand the destination or travel bloggers for that matter, mistakes will continue to be made.
The Tenerife Tourist Board already know our views and concerns and it’s up to them how they proceed with any officially organised blog trips. But I have some advice for any travel company or private business out there thinking about organising a blog trip to Tenerife.
Don’t scrimp on any aspects of a blog trip, it can backfire spectacularly if you do.
Finally, there is at least one serious, but major flaw that is continually made in relation to planning blog trips to Tenerife.
If you don’t know what that is…then don’t proceed. You will not be doing the island or your company any favours.