One of the things a few number of people brought up in my annual reader feedback survey was the question of how I choose the companies I recommend. People are curious to know why certain companies made the list and some even wondered if I only mention vendors that “support the cause” (i.e. make me money).
I think it is a great question. I haven’t really talked about this before.
Why do some companies get referenced and promoted often here on my site, while many others never even get a casual mention?
People are naturally suspicious about bloggers and online content, and it’s easy to assume that I’m recommending companies because they are paying me cash money (especially in light of my recent post on travel blogs and sponsored trips).
But that’s not how I decide.
It’s really simple:
I like and use them.
Every company I mention on this site is one I use or think has value to travelers, whether that is a flight search engine, hotel booking site, credit card, travel insurance company, or hostel. I have tried and used every resource I mention.
I receive a lot of offers for putting ads on this site or deals from companies that want to compensate me for mentioning and promoting them — and I turn them all down. If I don’t use a company, I won’t put them on this site. How can I? I have no idea if they are worth your time or money. If I started promoting companies just because they paid me, where’s my credibility?
Have you ever noticed that there is never a single preferred airline search site on this website? I’ve gotten lucrative offers from many companies but I’ve declined every time. There are a few good sites I recommend to start your search with, but no single one is the best all the time — and no company wants me to recommend their rivals, so I turn them all down because I can’t honestly say “only use this one site when booking a flight.” It would go against everything I’ve ever written about looking for cheap flight.
So there’s never one recommended company for flights.
Now, I do have an affiliate agreement with a few companies that means I earn a commission when you, my readers, use those companies. I worked out a deal with G Adventures that gets readers 10% off their tours (use the code “2014GONOMADIC” when you book).
But I loved G Adventures before this agreement – they were the first company I ever traveled with all the way back in 2003! Does G have competitors that offer similar products? Yup, but what I love about G Adventures is their fun culture and their strong commitment to sustainable tourism, which is why they are here. (Same goes for World Nomads. They work for me, but in my travel insurance article, I provide alternatives in case they don’t work for you!)
Companies I recommend are here because I use their products and they have proven track records. Do they all have competitors? Sure, and some are really good. Take Airbnb.com for example. There are plenty of great rental companies out there: VRBO, Homeaway, Housetrip, and Wimdu. All offer the same service. So why does Airbnb make it? Because they have the largest inventory, a good user interface, and I like them the best, so they’re on the resource page and the others aren’t.
There is nothing more to it than that.
Travel companies get mentioned here because I love them, use them, and think they are the most useful for the type of travel I recommend.