Why I Include the Price
I e-mailed my dad the other day and asked him what he thought of the hyperlinking I've been doing for the price of things recently—time well spent or obtrusive. His reply articulated a sentiment I've received feedback on before.
Overkill. [Your brother] and I seem to agree you spend too much time talking about the (usually too high) prices of stuff. It's get tiresome and a bit boring for your faithful readers, I think. I think a recap of your observations on prices after you leave a country would be plenty.
Faithful readers—that got me to thinking about such things. I haven't paid much attention to the visitor/traffic statistical reports available through the company that hosts Travelvice, but at the beginning of the year I integrated into the site a substantially more sophisticated tool to gather and aggregate visitor information. This is generally referred to as web analytics.
Visitor loyalty is the term used to describe what my father referred to as "faithful readers," and according to the stats, only account for 5–10% of this Web site's visitors. That means somewhere between 90–95% of the folks who accessed a page on this Web site did not return during the sample size used (a time period, the month of February, 2007, in this case).
I could have drilled down to see what percentage of those 90–95% used a link from a search engine to access the site, as well as the keywords used when doing so, but I already knew the answer to this question. Travelvice is not only a creative outlet for me, but it is an information depot, and people find this site when searching for answers to their questions. Some find them, some don't. Some keep coming back after discovering the site.
If you're a repeat reader, you've probably noticed that sprinkled in with stories of pleasure, pain, and observation, I have a tendency to (intentionally) include things like transport schedules, prices, and thoughts on my accommodations. If I think it has relevance to a future traveler, I'll typically include it in the post somewhere.
Yes, constantly reading about the price of things can be boring—and annoying to some, as I've received hate mail/comments about such things—but somewhere out there, there is someone who actually wants to know how much an empanada in Peru costs. And the statistical fact is that those people, the information hunters, are the majority, not the minority of visitors.
We could probably play the game of what if all night, as it pertains to the content of this site. What if I stopped including such details? Would my visitor loyalty stats increase? Would it be proportional to the decrease of non-repeat visitors? Who knows—I don't really care, as neither make me any money.
My personal preference is split both ways. The faithful readers are, without a doubt, a wonderful thing to have, and I love to receive and respond to comments and e-mails. I also get comments and e-mails from people who are doing searches for information, and have found the detail of my writing to be useful to them.
Back on the subject of price, I suppose I have a tendency to try and frame my subjective opinions of value by inserting tangible fact into the statements. You may or may not agree (or even care) that I think something is inexpensive or expensive, but I do care about adding a reference point to such statements—price is often that anchor.
What can I say, I'm also a budget-driven traveler. I did not sell a vineyard and I'm not on holiday—this is my life, and squeezing every dollar is part of the game. I talk about it when I am happy, and when I am not. It makes sense to me that my writing reflect this daily battle, as that comprises such a huge part of this lifestyle. If you as a reader are trying to gain insight into this type of travel, or are just enjoying it through my experiences, then it only makes sense to me to impart a sense of importance such things have on my daily life.
In a perfect Web site world I would have some sort of script integrated into the site that would allow a visitor to dynamically change the price displayed in the text to the currency of there preference. I would type in the local currency, and the visitor would read theirs, inline with the post—in yen, euros, pesos, whatever.
Until such a time as that option is viable, I'm going to keep making currency conversion as easy as I can by hyperlinking to Google's conversion engine. And seeing as 75% of Travelvice visitors are from the United States, the U.S. dollar will continue as the currency converted to.