She’s a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world….or IS she? Travel Edits recently caught up with Lauren di Marco, the vivacious editor of Lolastravels.com to get the inside story.
Q1. Hi Lauren, thanks for taking the time out for this interview. Firstly – what is the philosophy behind your website ‘Where in the World is Lola’?
Many people love to travel & of course have fun. why would you ever set out on an adventure and plan NOT to have fun? With Lola’s Travels – I try to show that you can see a lot, do a lot & have a lot of fun even if it’s just for a long weekend or up to a 5 day stay. People seem to get locked into travel as a lifestyle or that you need 2 weeks to see a place. I relay my “fun tips for quick trips” in a light-hearted and playful yet informative way.
Q2. When did you first decide that you wanted to write about your travel experiences?
It was by accident. Honest to God’s truth. I DO love to travel and decided I wanted to pursue a career in it. My ideal was a job writing for a company reviewing properties so I thought “well get reviewing what you do on your own”. irony is, the closer i got to a project with said company, the less i actually wanted to work for them. I was beginning to build my own audience and it was FAR more rewarding.
Q3. Travel blogging opens up all sorts of new opportunities – what have been your favourites so far?
It has helped me to connect to another world outside of the town I live in. for that, I’m forever grateful. i have made LOVELY new friends with similar interests & seen places i never planned to go because of travel blogging. I’d say that’s a BIG SUCCESS if you love to travel & make new friends. thanks for asking me. i sometimes forget to smell the roses!
Q4. In ‘Where in the World is Lola’ you tend to take a lot of mini-trips for just a few days – what are the positives and negatives of this type of travel?
Well the negative is that there’s never enough time to do EVERYTHING. but really, is there ever? guess it depends on the location. For me, the benefit is two-fold. I’m able to go more places because i’m not spending the entire wad on one or two big trips. The other bonus is i almost always leave wanting more and this is a good feeling. It means you had fun, there’s more to discover, and the memories will be fond. Having said that, there’s NO WAY I’m returning everywhere but it’s nice that I’d like to – should the occasion arise – feel free to invite me. 🙂
Q5. If you were limited to travelling with just 5 essentials what would they be?
Great Q Fiona. and, of course, not an easy answer. iPhone, eye cream, flip flops, perfume, lipgloss! (I assume passport is a given and not to be included in an essential list!)
Q6.Your travel site has brought you all over the world – what’s been your favourite destination so far? Why?
Oooo toughie. I LOVE so many places. I truly adore the Caribbean and St. Barts was the BEST. but I also, really really really, loved my trip to Greece. it has been on my bucket list forever & i guess because I was there less than a week, well, i was left wanting A LOT more! my biggest surprise – due to no expectations – Budapest. I ADORE it and hope I get back some day!
Q7. You feature ‘Lola approved properties’ on your site – what in your opinion makes a good hotel?
It’s gotta be POSH. It’s gotta be HIP. It’s gotta be LUXE. some are more hipster. some are more swanky luxe. That’s why the differentiation but at the end of the day what makes it LOLA APPROVED is that it’s different. It feels small & special even if it’s big. you get superb service. You feel like you are in a country club where they know exactly who you are and want you to be happy. And the surroundings are not sterile and bland but slightly different from the last place you slept. Make sense?!
Q8. What is Lola’s target audience?
Well – I’m thinking it’s 25-whatever age. People out of college who have a buck or two to spend. I’m not suggesting you break the bank. I am actually a conservative traveler. NO, I didn’t say a backpacker (though I have done it before). I am not flying first class. I am not staying in suites. I like to stay POSH but I like to get it for a deal. AND there’s too many good deals out there not to find one these days. basically, my audience isn’t afraid to spend a little (not a lot) but i suggest doing this multiple times a year – using all your vacay budget up over time and seeing a lot more than one locale!
Q9. How important is your site’s alter ego and how do you market the ‘Lola’ brand?
My alter ego kinda happened by accident, too, but i think it’s important. I think it differentiates me from other sites. I am a travel ‘persona’. so, FOR REAL, I go to the places i write about but not every second am I wearing a boa and flirting with the bartender. (just most of the time – HAHA) all I’m trying to do is present what is the same content in a different way. Lola is a fun-loving gal that never tires of her cocktails, flirting and making new friends, especially in far-flung destinations. I love to find the yummiest, newest or top resto. I love to sample drinks and learn about the ‘specialty’ in a location and why? this always leads to other conversations which leads to making friends. I’m in search of what makes a place special. it could even be the best gyro and dive bar. I’m actually a dive bar chick at heart drinking the house signature cocktail, of course 😉
How do I market myself? Boa distribution & general Lola likability. IAM the brand! the rest is my secret special sauce…
Q10. What’s next for ‘Where in the World is Lola’?
After I marry Will Peach, world domination! Okay, seriously, just travel blog domination. NOW, really seriously…I already have big plans for this year and I have NO IDEA where they will take me but generally speaking, one only goes up from here. The future is so bright, I gotta wear shades.