Never let it be said that we would turn down a friend in an hour of need. Especially when said friend is offering dinner. Travel blogger Heather Cowper (who so expertly guided the Smith blog around the gastronomic delights of Lisbon not too long ago, and penned a review of Hotel Avenide Liberdade to boot) recently invited us to join her and a flotilla of fellow foodies to Knightsbridge’s latest dining sensation: Bar Boulud.
Bolly corks are flying around Smith HQ like Wimbledon tennis balls today, and the level of group-hugging going on is almost sinister. Why such festivity? No, it’s not just Prince William’s right royal name-thievery earlier this week, we’re as pleased as Punch, as happy as Larry and as, er, delighted as Delia because the Smith Travel Blog can now add the prefix ‘award-winning’ to its name.
Because we won an award.
Don’t you hate scrapers? OK, unless you’re a web geek you might not know what one is*. But have you ever typed in a website address slightly incorrectly and got a page which at first glance looks like the one you’re after… but then you realise it’s an imposter? Let’s say you type in what you think is the URL for the Smith homepage but miss out a letter ‘S’ somewhere in the middle of the address – well chances are you’ll get one. Ugh. And I’m not going to dignify their existence by putting in an example link here, sorry.
Apart from all the breach of copyright issues with the content, the problem these scraper sites present within the travel industry is they can divert users to unlicensed agents or dupe web surfers into making a booking not with the hotel or company they think they’ve sought out.
Back when we started the Smith Travel Blog, we would never have expected that six months later we’d be stood in a room with the cream of the travel-blogging community, having a thoroughgoing chin-wag about the state of social media in the travel sector, but life is full of surprises.
Yesterday, Tamara and I attended the Travel Blog Camp, organised by Travel Rants’ creator, Darren Cronian, at a riverside bar in Blackfriars. We had no idea what to expect, but any fears that it might turn into a dull evening were quickly dispelled. Bloggers are quite a feisty bunch when they get together, it emerges.
Four speakers led the discussion: