The STS* Code: Standards and Ethics for Professional Travel Bloggers

As a professional travel blogger:

1. General

  1. I expect to be paid for my work not my opinion.
  2. I undertake to publish/deliver all content that I have agreed in a professional and timely manner.
  3. I will not falsely represent my online influence/statistics, or inflate my statistics by buying false readers, followers, fans etc.
  4. I will not falsely claim an expertise or skill that I do not have. (E.g. I will not claim to be a golf writer, cook, Spanish speaker, or art critic when I’m not.)
  5. My loyalty is to my readers for whom my credibility and individuality is crucial.
  6. My standards apply not only to my own blog but also to my “brand”, across all social media platforms.

2. My Content

  1. I only write about experiences and discoveries on trips that I have actually made.
  2. I only write about my experiences subjectively and all opinions expressed are my own.
  3. 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.
  4. I respect the copyright and moral rights of others.

3. As a Publisher

  1. I expect to work with companies, tourism organisations, public relations and advertisers/marketers, and I expect my readers to both understand and accept the commercial nature of that relationship.
  2. I will protect the editorial integrity of my content.
  3. I will always seek to agree clear objectives with commercial partners and make clear any limits of cooperation (E.g. subjects I will not write about or promote).
  4. My goal is to ensure that my influence and services are adequately rewarded.

4. On Trips, Travel, and Support

  1. I view press trips/blog trips/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.
  2. I will not let my editorial independence be compromised because a trip is hosted.

However…

i. I will seek to clarify in advance the expectations on both sides.

ii. 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.

*STS: The Social Travel Summit

Acknowledgements: The STS Code was first published in the STS Think Tank 2014 Report and draws upon the previous work of Resiebloggers Kollectiv in their Kodex, with elements adapted to reflect the discussion at the STS Think Tank. This Code has been re-published with permission.

Code of Ethics published on this site 17/04/15. Last updated: 17/04/15