Episode Description

Trevor AND Joe Cortez (yay!) are off gallavanting, so I called up Leslie Harvey from Trips with Tykes to discuss hosted media previews and bias in blogging/media coverage. Both of us have experience in this area as it results to Disney, but we also discuss how it may or may not creep into the miles and points space. Speaking of media previews, Leslie just checked out Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout in Disneyland and I visited Pandora the World of Avatar at Disney World, so we end the podcast with some Disney discussion! Recorded 16 Jun, 2017.

Episode Notes

Leslie’s post on hosted trips, media previews, and truth in travel blogging.

3:42 – Leslie’s background/travel hacking/blog background

6:28 – How does Leslie save money for her family’s travels?

9:24 – History of #sponsored rules by the FTC and thoughts on influencers

16:40 – Do influencers still affect us even if we see the #sponsored?

18:02 – Similarity between influencers and miles/points world. Do some people still not disclose properly?

22:27 – Do bloggers get the hardest rap for taking endorsements? Do we worry about how readers perceive hosted trips? How do you keep from being too biased?

32:24 – How can consumers find bloggers influencers they trust?

35:59 – Begin Disney discussion! How do we remain objective about Disney – what do Disney media events look like?

42:50 – Leslie’s thoughts when gotg announced

45:17 – Description of Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout ride (mile spoilers)

51:50 – How long would you wait in line for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout?

54:40 – Joe’s feelings when Pandora was announced

57:33 – Weak spots in Pandora

1:00:57 – How will Pandora be for young families, including food?

1:07:00 – What Pandora tells us about the future of Star Wars Land

Let us know your thoughts in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.

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Music: “She” by Still Pluto


Joe: Hello and welcome to the Savorocity Observation Deck where we are always #hosted. It is Tuesday June twentieth and it is Episode fifty eight and I just want to thank you so much for listening and I want to before we get started I want to give a special shout out to J. customer that is K U S N E R without an H so not that guy for leaving us kind review on iTunes You know we really appreciate if you rate US or review us on I Tunes or stitcher Google play anywhere where you listen and podcast so that’s really helped us to grow the podcast so Joe Cortez he is off working a con. A convention like an Ocean’s eleven type con and Trevor is in Austin visiting some friends so I grabbed Leslie Harvey from chips with tykes. She wrote a very interesting article the other day just about hosted trips media trips and I guess pulling back the current a little bit and just showing what that looks like and so I want to get her on just to discuss that talk about disclosures you know #ads and I guess kind of how that space is evolving both in the influencer world of the mom blog world where she operates quite a bit but also in the travel hacking miles and points world where that’s been an issue as well. Also, both Leslie and I had the chance to be #hosted at Disney World for me and Disneyland for Leslie I was at the media preview for Pandora the world of Avatar and Leslie got to check out Guardians of The Galaxy mission breakout which is the remake of Tower of Terror. So, we end the podcast talking a bit about that I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea so you know we left that stuff till the end. You know you can check the show notes if you want to skip the media talk and go right to that go ahead and skip ahead and if you are not interested in the Disney stuff then you’re welcome to end the podcast early when we get there but we hope that you listen to all of it just because you know well as always I mean when do I have a guest on that I don’t find fascinating but you know less than I just had a great talk and you know I think I don’t know I mean personally my thoughts are still evolving and growing about you know what it’s like to be a member of hosted media you know.

What is that look like? What is it? How does that affect you know how I write things? How does that affect my bias? I mean I believe and Leslie says this somewhere in the pockets but you know we all have our inherent biases and that’s what I believe but you know how do we kind of curtail that as much as possible and try to remain as objective as possible while still recognizing that you know some bias is always going to exist and we talk a little bit about you know what can consumers do to you know make sure that they find people that they trust out there because in the end everyone’s going to always have an angle.

All right so without further ado let’s get to Leslie and I hope you enjoy the show and hope one last thing Joe Trevor and I have talked and we’re going to try to commit to being a little bit more regular with the podcast a little bit less haphazard about when we’re going to release so starting today where going to be hoping to release every other Tuesday. So today if you listen to this it’s June twentieth and so the next part guess would be around July fourth maybe it will sneak in some extra pod casts here and there but at the very least you can expect to hear from the Savorocity observation deck every other Tuesday starting today so thanks so much for listening we appreciate it and hope you enjoy the show.

OK so I’m here with Leslie Harvey who writes at troops with tykes. Leslie how you doing today doing today?

Leslie: Great. Thanks for having me.

Joe: Yes, it’s great to have you so we have a lot to get today so you know I just want to get right to it so you write what I guess would be called a mom blog would you say that’s accurate?

Leslie: Sort of there are some it’s a loaded term So Yes

Joe: Yes, so let me let me give you some space to walk us through that but you know also have you on because I knew you definitely are a travel hacker in your own right maybe I know that you don’t engage a mess and you’re not necessarily like that kind of travel hacker but you know you do a lot of travel hacking to save money for your family traveling so why don’t you share a little bit just you know how did you get in travel hacking? Like how does it work for you and your family? And how did I guess how did your blog come about? And how does you know how much does travel hacking make it on to that blog?

Leslie: Sure, so I’d say I’m probably a low hanging fruit kind of travel hacker I’ve been doing it for a pretty long time I remember like the very early days of boarding area it was long before I had kids so my oldest child is now eight so it was before that.

And I just got into it because I was travelling a lot for work I used to be an attorney so we were travelling a ton staying in hotels that were paid for by somebody else and started occurring points in a lot of different programs and miles on a lot of different airlines and realized there was a whole world out there to get more of those and to travel for personal reasons on those miles and points so I got into a kind of casually longtime reader of a lot of the blogs in that space but my blog was born kind of from a very different place. I don’t write a lot about about hacking on my site but I was a first of all my kids of all my friends to have kids and my family lives in the south and I live in California so I was of course getting on airplanes with a baby and I was the first of all my friends to do so when so when they all started having children they were like “How do I take a long-haul flight with a three-month-old Lesley?”

I started writing e-mails to them and someone said hey you should blog about it so I really just and for several years I was just truly a hobby blogger It was something I did whenever I had a spare moment I didn’t really know that people blog for real and kind of blog in obscurity for several years until I kind of woke up and realized hey this could be the thing so that’s how I had stumbled into it and trips was tight with Tykes was born.

Joe: So, for example like I know that you know I think you’ve recently flew from tier to Orlando so in general your travel hacking I guess habits these days like how what are you doing to you know save money with your family save money for your family travel is that like or using airline points or using cash equivalent type points like you know what’s your what’s your general game these days since you’re traveling for four?

Leslie: So, the general plan is I mean I do a lot of credit cards getting big sign up bonuses when those are out but it’s really pretty modest I mean that’s a you know three or four cards for me and also for my husband a year we’re pretty low key and we have a variety we have some airline cards we’re really big fans of of course the chief of staff our reserve and are primarily using that we’ve got cash back cards too.


My husband still does quite a bit of business travel so he’s getting miles and points for that but you know we do all the major programs and whatever’s easiest because obviously as a stay at home mom with little kids my time is my free time is negative. I have no time so I just do what’s easy and sometimes I’m more involved in others and take a little break when I have to because you know can really be all consuming if you let it be.

Joe: And how was frontier? I’ve never flown.

Leslie: Frontier was not that terrible Believe it or not I had read some horror stories but I needed to take a read I tore a window and the only ride I nonstop from the Bay Area is on Frontier and of course it was you know half the price of United and I hate united anyway so I was like you know if there’s ever a time to do it and try and flying solo and I have a carry-on bag this is the time to do it and it was absolutely fine we did have some air traffic control to laze but that was S.F.O. all weather related you know the low ceiling problems as I Phone has had nothing to say every day yeah like every day every day yeah everybody does it for that’s why I always try to play Oakland when I can I live fairly close to Oakland they don’t have the same fog issues or overcrowding issues but you know they didn’t have a choice this time and it was it was find the seat was you know kind of thin the tray table was really you know like the size of a cocktail napkin but I slept. You know got me there cheaply you know not too late so it’s cool.

Joe: Have you ever flown like spirit or anything like that? I myself never hit any of these like super low-cost carriers.

Leslie: I have never stoop so low as to fly Spirit I do think I do sort of get the impression that frontier is a little bit of a step above but have not done spirit or allegiance but I do if I do frontier again I definitely would.

Joe: All right so let’s move to the reason why I got you here today first of all just a disclosure. You know I have I’m not partially due to Leslie’s influence on my hobby blogging life I have as if you follow me on Twitter as replies you may know that may or may not know that I’ve been kind of entering this mom blog world and so Leslie and I were together at this conference called Disney social media moms that was in February actually I think between the two of us we have hit. Disney parks six times in like the last three months so I think we might have a problem between two of us Lesley.

Leslie: Yeah, we definitely have a dozen problems but you know of all the problems in the world to have it’s not a bad one.

Joe: Yes, so anyway that’s a disclosure there but speaking of disclosures I mean basically I was in a video game progress or the regular video game podcast that I listen to and and they were kind of discussing a few months ago or maybe half a year ago kind of. Streaming live video games is pretty big for You Tube and twitch and things like that but now there’s like a huge amount of disclosures that people need to make the used to. You know just stream games and people who are watching these streams would necessarily know like they stream this game because they love this game or is someone paying them history in this game and so now these You Tube or in these twitchers are making these disclosures but the funny thing was this video game podcast referenced that a lot of these disclosure laws came online because of some issues that were happening in the mom blog world and then you just recently wrote a post about truth in travel blogging kind of talking a little bit about host of trips media previews and I think we’ll hit a lot of obviously put out a show notes and we’ll have a lot of those kind of points when we’re talking today so to start things off I mean obviously I’m joking about being a mom blogger now but now I’m like are sorely involved so I kind of hear these things but I was I wasn’t there a few years ago when all this stuff went down. So, what were things like before these disclosure laws came into effect and can you run me through a little bit of what happened that you know cause these laws to come about?

Leslie: Yes, sure so the laws actually predate me. I think my understanding is that the first sort of big rulemaking on this happened in two thousand and nine. And this course this comes from the F.T.C. a Federal Trade Commission which governs truth in advertising and the rules had not been updated for something like two or three decades at the F.T.C. and it really did not take on the brave new world of blogging social media and what was going on in that space and I think it probably did start with a mom bloggers because a lot of the mom bloggers started as product reviewers that would get a free product from whatever company wanted you know to get the word out to moms so they would write a post and recommend that product but of course there was no disclosure from most bloggers like “hey I got this for free” and so the F.T.C. finally said notice and started making up these rules are just extending the rules that already existed to social media influencers so it really started with that but with each passing year there’s sort of a new thing that happens in the space and the F.T.C. gets wise to it and they issue some new rules now now the big issue is are your disclosures prominent enough they just had something come out about Instagram fairly recently about where your hash tag ad needs to appear in Instagram because of course Instagram descriptions are truncated in the feed so you need to have that where it’s going to appear in the feed and not just if you click on the individual image so it’s really very nuanced at this point but still has a long way to go in my opinion. It’s still not very clear as to what bloggers need to do.

Joe: So, I mean before two thousand and nine was that like kind of an almost like the Wild Wild West? Like you can’t even tell you know who’s writing just because they like a product or who are writing because someone’s paid them to read a product?

Leslie: Yeah it was definitely a while West I’m sure there were legitimate ethical bloggers out there who thought hey maybe my readers know that I got this product for free and I’m going to let them know but there was nothing really guiding. Bloggers to tell them hey you need to do this because really before that time the only big influencers out there were you know celebrities doing ads you know Michael Jordan wearing his Haynes you knew he was being paid but you didn’t really know that about your favorite Bob Larder.

Joe: Yeah and where did this term influencers come from? As in is that something that’s always been around and then just kind of took on a whole new life with social media hours you know? I mean I’m not sure I even heard that term before like last year but now I hear it all time you know because I’m a mom blogger.

Leslie: Yeah, I don’t know where that child came from it’s fairly new to me too it definitely wasn’t around when I was in my early days of blogging and I guess it’s just you know maybe a cooler term than saying mom blogger. But I think it’s loaded I don’t know what you what you think Joe I mean it’s probably arguable as to whether some people who call themselves influencers are really influencing people.

[END OF 15 MIN.]