Simonseeks Blog

Keep up to date with the most current News, Travel Tips & Developments from Simonseeks with the new Blog.

New developments coming up on Simonseeks

Welcome to the launch of our first blog and official writers newsletter, it’s now been just over seven weeks since we went live, and I am writing to update you with the latest news about the site, and the developments we are planning over the next few months. Expect me to write a blog at least once a week. I will be involving the community in new developments and asking for feedback. This is your chance to help us shape the site.

You may have noticed that we have significantly improved the ‘Hotel’ section of ‘Make it Happen’ on the travel ‘guide’ pages of the site. We now show visitors hotel pictures, amenities, map, photos, and description for hotels recommended in the writers guide. We will soon be adding hotel reviews. These additions help the visitor to make an informed decision before booking a hotel. Our experience at Travelsupermarket tells us that this will significantly increase the number of hotel bookings from our site. This development is a work in progress.

We have recently written and uploaded our first money saving guide – ‘how to get the best value car hire’. This sits on every guide page; any commissions generated are shared equally with the writer. Over the coming weeks we will be adding flights, hotels and travel insurance money saving guides. This is great editorial content for the browser and a valuable revenue generator for the writer. Look out for some other interesting developments on this front very soon.

Writers will be able to upload videos in addition to pictures in the coming weeks. User testing shows a strong demand from visitors for video to accompany guides. Videos of hotels and restaurants provide visitors with extra reassurance, increasing their propensity to book. Seeing is believing!

Hotel, restaurant and attractions recommended by writers will soon be plotted on a Google map within the guide. This will give the visitor a feel for where they are visiting and where the recommendations are in relation to each other. This is about a month away.

That’s enough on development for this blog – I could go on for pages! We currently have a 2 year development roadmap, were certainly not short of product ideas.

If you have a view on any of the above developments, good or bad, I would love to hear from you, simply click on the comment button below.

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Community comments (4)

I take the point about writer earnings being linked to click-throughs and affiliate fees but surely the danger here is that those of us who write for money will simply concentrate on mass-market destinations because that is where the volume is. Surely the site needs a broad depth of content in order to make it both credible and entertaining. If that is the case then maybe some kind of fee per view is not such a bizarre idea.

My first two articles went up on the site with no problems; the third was rejected.

At first I was miffed but then I read the comments from the simonseeks editor and, upon reflection, agree!

This level of editing can only be a good thing long-term and should make Simonseeks a higher quality offering for readers than, say, tripadvisor.com.

The bells and whistles mentioned - videos, Google plotting etc - sound sensible.

Of course, to attract quality writing and to get folks to take the time and trouble to shoot and upload video, there has to be a pay-back for contributors. If this takes too long to come on stream, contributors will take their words, pix (and videos) elsewhere.

Quality is a great aspiration, but on the web, quantity is where the money is.

The Observer travel section on Sunday mentioned simonseeks as a gap-year opportunity to get paid and write travel stories. It said contributors get paid between 5-20p for each view of one of their stories. Is this correct? I thought people can only get paid if people book a hotel that's been recommended in that contributors story.

Am I right?

Hi Richard

The payments to writers are based on visitors reading a guide and subsequently either making a booking or clicking out to view information on one of our commercial partners' sites.

Over time the proportion of visitors that book or click out will settle down and we will then be able to equate the number of views per guide to earnings in the manner mentioned in the Observer article. It is a little too early at this stage to say what monetary value we can attribute to a view so the range provided is simply an estimate.