AMSTERDAM: In a 21st century twist to the press junket, the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions sent bloggers to Amsterdam in return for advertising space and a post-trip interview that might be used for future marketing material.
The partnership, between BlogAds and the tourism board, came after Sebastian Paauw, internet manager of the NY division of the tourism department, approached BlogAds to purchase some ad space on blogs.
"After some brainstorming and number-crunching, Sebastian came back and asked about bartering BlogAds for trips, saying they normally had a pile of plane tickets for journalists and that it would be fun to see what happened if these went to bloggers instead," said Justin Abbott, BlogAds, VP of future operations, via e-mail.
Abbott stressed the only requirement for bloggers was the advertising requirement, which no bloggers were required to write about during the trip.
"We really like that the bloggers are writing about [their experiences], but they didn't have to," Paauw said.
Paauw said the tourism department left the blog selection up to BlogAds, and only really required blogs with a healthy number of page views.
"We just wanted bloggers who could target our audience, and [have a good] number of page views," Paauw said.
Even though bloggers were not contractually obligated to write anything, many did, discussing interests that mirrored their blog focus. Glen from Coolfer.com wrote about music venues, James Joyner from Outside the Beltway wrote about Amsterdam's libertarian allure, and Adam from Slice NY wrote about pizza in Amsterdam.
Paauw said the department has not yet completed the questions it will submit to the visiting bloggers, but he said he may consider enlisting other bloggers to come up with questions to ask those who visited. Paauw said the firm would measure hits, links, and referrers on its weblog, Bloggersinamsterdam.com, as well as Amsterdam mentions in other blogs.