At the first Social Travel Summit – a gathering of top travel bloggers and key industry professionals – round-table discussions resulted in the creation of a Think Tank Report. An important component of this report is the STS Code of Ethics: standards and ethics for professional travel bloggers.
As a professional travel blogger…
- I expect to be paid for my work not my opinion.
- I undertake to publish/deliver all content that I have agreed in a professional and timely manner.
- I will not falsely represent my online influence/statistics, or inflate my statistics by buying false readers, followers, fans etc.
- I will not falsely claim an expertise or skill that I do not have.
- My first loyalty is to my readers for whom my credibility and individuality is crucial.
- My standards apply not only to my own blog but also to my ‘brand’, across all social media platforms.
- I only publish about experiences and discoveries on trips that I (or a guest writer) have actually made.
- I only write about my experiences subjectively and all opinions expressed are my own.
- I always clearly label any advertising, advertorials, sponsorships, competitions, product tests or 3rd party reviews, published by me and declare any commercial relationships or associations.
- I respect the copyright and moral rights of others.
As a Publisher
- I expect to work with companies, tourism organisations, public relations & advertisers/marketers, and I expect my readers to both understand and accept the commercial nature of that relationship.
- I will protect the editorial integrity of my content.
- I will always seek to agree clear objectives with commercial partners and make clear any limits of cooperation (Eg. subjects I will not write about or promote).
- My goal is to ensure that my influence and services are adequately rewarded.
On Trips, Travel, and Support
- I view press trips/blogtrips/fam trips, group or solo trips, as an important and effective way to gather content and research destinations. They are not ‘perks’ but a necessary part of the job.
- I will not let my editorial independence be compromised because a trip is hosted. However…
- I will seek to clarify in advance the expectations on both sides.
- If discrepancies, complications or negative experiences occur in the course of a trip, I undertake to consult first with the host to clarify and, if possible, resolve the situation. In exceptional circumstances, if the situation cannot be resolved, I reserve the right not to write about the venue/trip/experience and inform the host of the reasons why.