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I’ve got my 2019 survey results in! After receiving more than 1,400 responses to the survey, I’m excited to share with you exactly who Adventurous Kate’s readers are.
I thought I knew who you were. And I did…but still, there were a lot of surprises.
So, what did the survey show me?
You’re a homogenous bunch. More than I expected.
White women age 25-44 who have at least a Bachelor’s degree and hold liberal political views constitute a whopping 50% of my readers.
I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, that’s literally who I am, and homogeneity is exactly what advertisers like to see — it helps them target their advertising better. On the other hand, I wish I were reaching a broader audience, particularly when it comes to people of color.
Until now, I had been operating under the assumption that roughly 2/3 of you were female (which is the case on both Facebook and Instagram). Turns out it’s closer to 90% female!
Just over 50% of you are 25-34, which means that I’ve effectively aged out of my own blog this year (!). I’m glad there’s a sizable (28%) population of 35-44-year-olds.
Well. I knew my audience would be primarily white — I didn’t think my audience would be 84% white. Asian readers represent the largest racial minority at 5%.
As for education, this is an impressive statistic — 88.5% of you hold at least a bachelor’s degree! While education level is not the be-all and end-all of intelligence, the truth is that education and income are correlated and advertisers are eager to work with a highly educated audience.
And nearly 6% of you hold doctorates or the equivalent.
As for relationship status, I was mildly surprised that the most common status is married (37%). Next up is single, never married (30%) followed by live-in relationship (16%).
Aaaaaand political views. Ha. I asked this more out of curiosity than anything else, because I’m very happy to write about political topics and feel like I’m in a good position to do so.
74% of you hold liberal political views — 41% “very liberal” vs. 32% “somewhat liberal.” Which, of course, dovetails with the fact that people who travel tend to be much more liberal.
Most of you are from the United States.
No surprise there — I’m American and the US is the biggest English-speaking market. Here are the top nationalities:
- 57% USA
- 10% UK
- 9% Canada
- 4% Australia
- 2% Germany
- 2% Ireland
Most of you travel internationally once or twice a year and domestically several times a year, regardless of your home country. Some of the most popular US destinations you mentioned in the survey were Savannah, Asheville, New Orleans, Key West, Boston, San Francisco, and New York City.
You tend to be mid-range travelers.
One of the most important things to figure out, yet most difficult to ascertain, is figuring out how much your audience spends on travel.
It’s SO hard to figure out! You have different budgets for different destinations, spending much more on a trip to London than a trip to Thailand. Or maybe you’ll upend expectations and splash out on luxury in Thailand, then do London on a tight budget. And that’s before getting into all the different currencies you earn in!
So I decided to ask about what kind of accommodation you book on your travels. And that seems to be the closest way to gauge your typical travel style.
As you can see, Airbnb/apartment rentals are what most of you choose for accommodation, followed by mid-range hotels, budget hotels, and private rooms in hostels.
If you use Airbnb, I urge you to read up and see whether it’s legal in your destination. In New York, for example, you can only rent a whole apartment for 30+ days, yet Airbnb refuses to enforce the law and people thus end up booking illegal rentals that harm New Yorkers.
Airbnb can be an excellent travel tool, but it also creates housing shortages and drives up rent for locals. Try to do the least harm possible and avoid units that are owned by large companies.
3% of you consider yourselves nomadic.
That’s pretty cool. I know that wouldn’t have been the case a few years ago.
What you want the most is content about unusual, off-the-beaten-path destinations.
A whopping 95% of you said you wanted more posts about unusual, off-the-beaten-path destinations. That’s awesome to hear. I’m glad to do that!
I really enjoy exploring regions that aren’t as popular. Especially seldom-covered destinations in popular countries like Italy. Writing about lesser-visited destinations gives me a rush of excitement.
The only problem is that posts about unusual destinations don’t bring in the traffic (and therefore the money). Everyone is constantly searching for information on New York and Paris and Italy. Guyana? Very few by comparison.
I’ve always viewed content as a balance. You need to write posts that will bring new readers in and make you money. But you’ve got to write posts to keep your existing readers’ interest, too. These days, it seems like too many bloggers are focusing exclusively on the former and neglecting the latter.
You use the site differently than I thought you did.
At least 50 of the responses said, “I haven’t traveled to any destination specifically because of Kate, but I always go back and read her posts for recommendations once I do choose a destination.”
This is the single most important thing I learned from the survey. I figured some of you did this, but I didn’t realize so many people did. To see it repeated over and over and over was jarring.
This is now what I’m going to be leading with when I meet with brands. I now feel like my strongest attribute isn’t convincing people to visit new destinations, but planting a seed and then helping you if you decide to go.
And the most popular destination where you use my recommendations? Paris, bien sûr!
100 Travel Tips for Paris
You LOVE the monthly recaps.
Lots of you mentioned the monthly recaps — and the feedback was 100% positive. That’s fantastic! You love them especially for the book, TV, and podcast/music recommendations, and some of you told me that while you skip reading some posts, you never skip the monthly recaps.
I’ve been phoning the recaps in a bit lately, since I’ve been so bogged down with work, but you’ve inspired me to go into more detail on them.
A lot of SEO specialists encourage bloggers not to write monthly recaps because they don’t drive search traffic and they basically act as dead weight for your site. I disagree with that. You can’t just pander to robots and new readers — you need to do what makes your existing audience happy. (And personally, I always love reading my blogger friends’ monthly recaps.)
Like I said…it’s all about balance.
The most popular destination you’ve visited because of me is Koh Lanta, Thailand.
And that makes me so happy. Koh Lanta is one of my favorite places on the planet and I’ve been raving to you about it since 2010.
Koh Lanta is a Thai island with a great vibe. I love that it isn’t overdeveloped and pushed to the brink like Koh Phi Phi, Ao Nang, or (sadly these days) Railay.
The island is long with tons of beaches along the western side. I’m convinced Koh Lanta has the best sunsets on the planet, especially if you go in November, when the end of the rainy season gives you streaky clouds in a rainbow of colors.
The locals are mostly Muslim and very welcoming to visitors. There’s an animal shelter where you can volunteer to walk dogs or cuddle cats. You can rent a motorbike and drive to a village with buildings built on stilts.
It’s been a few years since my last visit — I think it might be time to return to Koh Lanta!
Adventurous Kate’s Guide to Koh Lanta, Thailand
Here are the top 10 destinations you’ve visited after reading about them on my site:
- Koh Lanta, Thailand
- Bologna, Italy
- Paris, France
- Western Australia
- Puerto Rico
- Savannah, Georgia
- Caye Caulker, Belize
- Skellig Michael, Ireland
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Zadar, Croatia
The most popular country you’ve traveled to because of me is Italy.
I’m not surprised with all the Italy coverage here! Italy is probably the closest thing I have to a favorite country, and I’ve particularly picked up the pace in the last year as I try to visit all 20 regions. (Three to go!)
And where do you go in Italy? All over — but especially Bologna. Lots of you traveled to Bologna after reading about how much I love it there.
There’s so much that I love about Italy — but one of the best things is that it’s so diverse in geography, look and feel. This year I was in the Dolomites and Puglia and they couldn’t be more different from each other!
You also love traveling in the Balkans, Southeast Asia, and Central America.
Probably my top three regions in the world. You’ve got great taste!
In the Balkans, Croatia and Slovenia got the most love from you, followed by Albania and Macedonia.
In Southeast Asia, Thailand got the most love by far, followed by Vietnam.
In Central America, Guatemala got the most love, followed by Nicaragua and Belize.
A LOT of you have done the Ragamuffin Tours cruise in Belize!
I already knew this — since 2015, well over 20 of you have told me that you went on the Ragamuffin Tours sailing cruise from Caye Caulker to Placencia. This is one of the most fun things I have done on my travels.
Sailing along the Belize Barrier Reef, snorkeling twice a day, camping overnight on an uninhabited island, enjoying rum punch-fueled parties in the evenings — it was insane in the best way.
What kills me is that they don’t have an affiliate program. I would have made a killing with all those bookings!
Sailing Down the Coast of Belize
I am genuinely shocked that so many of you have been to Western Australia.
Not because it’s a bad place — Western Australia is AMAZING! But it’s expensive to get there, expensive once you’re there, and a challenging place to travel, with long, desolate drives and limited infrastructure.
The fact that lots of you went there and chose to travel there — most likely in the past two years, as my trip was in October 2016 — means that you made it a major priority.
I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw how many of you had traveled to WA after reading about it on my site. Did not expect that AT ALL. Did the quokkas convince you?
My Favorite Experiences in Western Australia
The destination you want to visit the most is Georgia!
More of you said you wanted to visit Georgia than any other destination. Though I wonder if that’s because my Georgia post was only two weeks ago. Newfoundland was right behind it.
You understand that I need to make a living.
The blogging world has changed a lot in the last decade — and so have you, my dear readers.
Back in the day, I got a lot of readers saying, “I don’t like ads, and I don’t like sponsored travel, and I don’t like when you get money if I buy something through your site, and I DO NOT WANT BE SOLD TO.” Well, I’m happy to offer you a refund on the free blog if that’s the case.
These days, blog audiences understand that all of this takes SO much work and expenses. Just the basic expenses of keeping the blog online can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars per month. People get it. You can’t travel as much when you have to work a full-time job.
This time around, I got some responses saying, “I know you have to do some sponsored travel, and that’s fine, but I enjoy your coverage the most when you’re on your own, paying your own way.”
I get that. And I appreciate you saying so.
I make an effort to partner only with destinations or organizations that I’m genuinely excited about. It seems to have paid off — my campaigns with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland were huge hits with you guys.
But not every campaign has been a good fit. I know now that my campaign in Kenya last year wasn’t the best choice. To be honest, I took that trip because it sounded fun and I wanted to meet the people who were on the trip. Those connections I made are invaluable. And I did have a great time. But now I know that even if the destination is amazing, an all-luxury-and-charter-flight thing isn’t a fit for AK.
So I’m going to keep try to do well by you.
You chose some nice words.
I asked for three words that described my site, and that described me. Here are the results:
Words that describe Adventurous Kate, the site and brand:
- Informative (38% chose this!)
Words that describe Adventurous Kate, the person:
- Adventurous (well…)
You’ve got me thinking about what I should do next.
There are lots of directions that I want to go in — projects that I’m in the middle of developing. At this point, I need to commit to one and work hard on that one alone.
The challenge, for me, has been balancing creative fulfillment, helping you, and doing something that will actually make decent money. I need to invest my time wisely since I think we’re going to hit a recession AND the SEO bubble is going to burst, but that’s another story for another time.
A lot of you said you didn’t like any of the ideas, but you’d buy a book if I wrote one. That really made me happy, but in the current publishing landscape, an author only gets around a dollar per book sold. Do I want to spend months working my ass off on a book that doesn’t even cover a month’s rent?
I polled you guys on a few of my ideas, including nontraditional publishing, for that reason. And while many of you were thoughtful and generous in your responses, I don’t have any clear and definite answers for what comes next.
As a thank you for participating, I offered five postcards to readers who took the survey, sent from somewhere on my travels.
Well, I decided to up it from five to ten! All were chosen randomly at random.org.
Here they are:
- Ella I.
- Burt C.
- Tanya M.
- Amy L.
- Caroline B.
- Anna B.
- Helena F.
- Megan F.
I will send them by April next year. Maybe from Europe in December, maybe from Cuba around New Year’s, maybe from Mexico after that.
11 thoughts on “Survey Results: Who are Adventurous Kate’s readers, anyway?”
I agree with the feedback you received regarding sponsored posts/comped travel. I think you handle those trips really well (I never feel like you’re writing just to please the hosts.)
In general, there are some bloggers I’ve stopped following because most of their travel has been comped trips that involve a lot of luxury travel. When they travel on their own dime, they camp or stay in hostels. I have an easier time trusting reviews and write ups from bloggers who sometimes get comped luxury experiences but who are also willing to pay for similar experiences out of their own pocket. For me it establishes trust and also tells me they understand the value of such experiences when you have a limited budget to use for travel (as most of us do – bloggers included).
I think a good measure for travel bloggers can be: “Would I be willing to pay to do this experience if I wasn’t a professional travel blogger?”
If the answer is “no”, then a blogger should consider why they feel comfortable promoting it to readers. (There may be reasons that justify taking a trip like that anyway.)
I understand professional travel bloggers have a job to do, but sometimes it’s nice to read about something a blogger wanted to go/see/do so much they paid for it themselves.
Agree with you on that. And I also get feedback that people largely prefer when it’s not a luxury comp. That’s why I prefer to work with destination marketing organizations — I can tailor any destination to my style of travel.
I’m one of your loyal conservative readers and you’re my favorite travel blogger by far. I may not always 100 % agree with your political posts but I always enjoy them!
35 year old, moderate white guy checking in! Keep doing your thing Kate, I’ll keep reading. I disagree with you a lot, I respect your opinion always and I love hearing your point of view. Cheers, Eric.
As a math teacher I just want to point out that there’s probably a selection bias in who completed the survey. I took it and my responses are represented here, but it’s certainly possible this sample of ~1400 is not representative of your readership in general. I appreciate you asking for our feedback and keeping your more engaged readers in mind! But from a business decision standpoint I would consider the limitations of the survey.
Yes, I was thinking about that, wondering if men in general would be less likely to respond. Was really surprised by all the people who answered via Instagram; I didn’t expect them to stop and take a survey mid-scroll. Thanks!
FYI about sending postcards from Cuba: My parents sent me one back in March and I seriously just got it last week. Only took about 8 months!
I was a bit afraid of that. Mexico can be a while, too. Thanks!
I visited Emilia-Romagna on my own in September and was based out of Bologna thanks to the posts you’ve done on the region and your excellent recommendations. I went purely to explore the food scene and I had an amazing time. Thanks for all your work Kate!
I’m also a moderately conservative reader who’s American but lives outside of the US. 5 years, a British husband and one interesting life later, I’m choosing to stay abroad for the very reasons you’re choosing to leave the US. I’m a freelancer and the scheme here in Spain (based in Madrid) isn’t the greatest and the country, in general, doesn’t encourage small business ventures but the startup and the remote worker scenes are growing, ever so slowly. I am incredibly grateful for the healthcare and safer living conditions so I don’t blame you for wanting to move your life outside of the US. It gets tiring after a while and you have to look after yourself and your wellbeing.
I don’t agree with all of your political views but you’ve inspired my travels and fed my wanderlust for about 7 years now! So glad I found your blog around this time in 2012 and that you have kept it real since the beginning. Excited to see where your new adventures take you!
I appreciate you being here, Sarah! 🙂