This month sees the end of a first of its kind partnership between a travel company and travel writers, which succeeded in creating hot debate among the travel writing community and redefining a new way for travel companies and writers to work together. ‘Grantourismo', a year-long partnership between writer-photographer team Lara Dunston and Terence Carter and holiday rentals website HomeAway.co.uk, closed with the final allocation of prizes to the winners of the twelfth travel writing contest held on the blog over the last year.
Grantourismo was a yearlong travel experiment aimed at exploring more enriching and meaningful ways of travelling and showing how staying in holiday rentals instead of hotels can facilitate this. Lara and Terence had around two weeks in each ‘home’ they stayed in, enabling them to slow down and travel more sustainably, gain a deeper insight in to the local culture and life (food and cooking being a key theme!), learn and do things and, where possible, give something back to the places they visited.
The Grantourismo blog launched on 1st January 2010 and the couple set off from London in February, following a launch party with canapés and cocktails at their home for that week, a chic penthouse apartment in trendy Battersea. Over the course of the next 12 months the couple visited 34 destinations and travelled 88,417km (54,940 miles) by plane, train, bus, boat and car. They also clocked up 499 blog posts totalling 424,150 words, Terence took some 57,000 photographs and the blog received 70,737 comments.
Lara and Terence stayed in 36 different holiday homes from HomeAway.co.uk, which lists over 200,000 properties worldwide, including a Moroccan Riad, a hut in Kenya, a Grand Canal palazzo in Venice, a conical trullo in Puglia, a Mexican casita, stunning architecturally designed homes and 21 different city apartments. The couple’s inspiring blog posts, ranging from evocative narratives about their cultural experiences, to practical guides and mouth-watering recipes for local dishes were read by people from 184 countries around the world. Their 3,800+ followers interacted daily with them on Twitter and the blog’s current Alexa ranking is 108,007 globally and 68,989 in the UK, impressive for a site started just over a year ago.
Lara comments, “After a year living in homes around the world, most of them in everyday neighbourhoods, I think we’re going to find it very hard to return to hotels. We’ve not only loved having the space, flexibility and privacy a holiday rental offers, but most of all we’ve loved the opportunities it gave us to engage with locals and learn how they live their lives. For us, that’s a far more satisfying way to travel. The trip was transformational.”
Tim Boughton, GM for HomeAway.co.uk said, “The great content Lara and Terence produced for Grantourismo truly showcases the different type of holiday you can enjoy in a real home and provides a fantastic source of inspiration for travellers looking for a more authentic way to travel.”
“Grantourismo essentially gave us two global ambassadors for our service and the travel experience rentals offer, who promoted it every day, online, in social media, and, most importantly, in person to the countless travellers they met along the way. We were delighted with the performance of the blog, but these benefits were immeasurable.”
High resolution photos of the holiday homes and destinations featured on Grantourismo are available on request.
PR Manager, HomeAway.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8846 3430
Lara Dunston & Terence Carter
Tel: + 971 50 720 8690