Sio Ng

Being a tourism writer famous in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, creator in multiple fields and practitioner specialised in film, literature work and event planning, Ng have travelled a distance of half of the circumference of the Earth and around six continents and forty countries herself. She published The Heart’s Freedom Lies in the Sky in 2017 which was issued in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Malaysia.

Free travel for travel writers

02 2018 | Issue 25

Before starting the fan page “Beyond the boundless sky”, I never thought that I would have opportunities to live in the five star resorts facing the pacific ocean without spending money. Enjoying delicious specialty, riding out to sea, diving and jumping are well arranged. In a word, I live well, eat well and play well there. These opportunities are rare, so I believe that you may really want to know nowadays, how the Travel Blogger / KOL / Influencer get the free travel. 

At present, internet celebrity economy is popular all over the world. Thus, various brands, no matter large or small, will invite internet celebrity to eat and have fun thereby promoting their products. In fact, I don't really like the term “internet celebrity” in Chinese. In English, KOL (Key Opinion Leader) or Influencer means those people who, in a particular area, possess professional knowledge and deeply influence others. To a certain extent, KOL gradually becomes the derogatory term in Hong Kong. With the appearance of those who have a lot of fans yet have no contents, I prefer to call myself Travel Influencer. 

When talking about free trip, in Hong Kong, it is called Fam Tour; in foreign countries, it is called Press Trip; in Taiwan, it is called Media Delegation. In general, the sponsoring units will use the best in the journey to serve Travel Blogger / KOL / Influencer. Hence, we usually write about good things as it is really hard to find something terrible. 

Well, I know you may have question about how many followers will lead to such invitation. Actually, this question is hard to tell. I got my first invitation when the number of my followers reached thirty thousand. But I also met some Micro Influencer in media delegation whose followers are less than five thousand. Recently, I saw a foreign analysis report saying that brands prefer to diversify their investment nowadays. Except for investing on famous celebrity’s advertisements, Influencers, from a few thousand to tens of thousands of followers, would be put on more opportunities. Micro Influencers may have more interaction and are more intimate with followers than Macro Influencers. For the Facebook system, in most of the situations, if you have more followers, it would be harder for them to see your new post. You have to post every day to increase your exposure. If you don’t post for a long time, your entire exposure rate will be lowered. The reason for this situation is that Facebook wants the owner of fan page to buy advertisement. So it is difficult to manage the Facebook page. 

It has been almost three years since I started to write my fan page. In the first year, I was so diligent, almost posting every day. I was concentrated on writing about travel. Various types of articles are included like encouraging articles, travel raiders, foreign travel tips, job information abroad and self-experience on learning foreign languages. These articles are practical and inspiring, which received so many shares and likes. A year later, the number of followers reached forty thousand and I also obtain opportunities from different places. 

Actually my free-trip-opportunities come comparatively late. Many Hong Kong Influencers received different kinds of invitation when their followers reached ten thousand or a few thousand. I guess the reason might be that I wrote I was from Macao, but most of the opportunities are from the region outside Macao. When people read my introduction, they will hesitate whether I will participate in the event or not, which is proved by one of the sponsoring units from Hong Kong. From then on, I never wrote about where I was from. Another point is the social network from real world. It is difficult for me who live in Macao to participate in the networking events in Hong Kong constantly. 

In a word, in the social network today, content is king. With topics, contents and audiences, the opportunities from all around will come, as well as the free trips. But even though it is so-called free, it is impossible to be free. Before getting the free opportunities, the authors have devoted a lot energy and spent numerous days and nights to manage their social platforms like Blog / Facebook / Instagram / YouTube. Those things that you could easily access through the phone are priceless indeed.