Influencer marketing has become a major trend across all possible industries and consumer segments, and it is forecasted to keep growing in 2019. According to the study published by AdWeek, the influencer market is projected to reach $10 billion by 2020, meaning there is a lot of opportunities for brands. It is especially true for the tourism & hospitality industry, as travel influencer marketing is thought to be one of the most powerful and efficient when it comes to reaching consumers.
The travel industry is all about the visual inspiration, which is why travel influencers are thought to have the most power over customers’ minds and buying habits. To illustrate, according to the recent study conducted by We Swap, 41% of millennial consumers aged 18-34 stated that travel influencers inspire their holiday destinations. Moreover, 31% of them acknowledged that posting holiday pictures online is just as important as the holiday itself
Why travel brands collaborate with social media influencers?
There are several reasons why influencer marketing is vital for modern travel brands. First of all, it is a way to break through the tons of paid ads and competition on OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) and to add a touch of creativity to your brand. To illustrate, collaborating with travel influencers involves the production of unique content and helps to deliver your brand messages in a special way.
Moreover, travel influencers provide you with access to their audiences and help to build trust among your target consumers, which results in using a more cost-efficient way to reach the audiences (especially since in travel industry many deals are based on barter). However, all this is only true when travel and hotel brands manage to develop a strategic approach to influencer marketing and have a clear plan of actions.
Let’s see what are the steps toward making the travel influencer marketing truly profitable!
Collaborate with travel influencers that really match your audience
First of all, just like any media channels, influencer marketing can be divided into many segments and areas depending on the target audience. To illustrate, millennial customers and Generation X will follow completely different travel bloggers. At the same time, luxury hotels would prefer to work with luxury travel bloggers, while budget hostels are better to approach younger and adventurous influencers.
Overall, there are several ways you can measure the relevance of the travel influencer:
- Firstly, you should look at the type of content published and the keywords used. Overall, it is really easy to define what is the core area of interest of each specific person after a quick content analysis.
- Secondly, you can and should ask for a media kit, where you will get access to demographic and geographic data on their follower base and a general description of the influencer channel.
Measure the authenticity of your potential collaborators
It is essential to note that although hospitality brands tend to receive dozens of influencer requests, usually these contacts do not represent a lot of value for the brand. Besides, it is recommended to conduct the research on your own. According to Stephanie Schwab, a well-known expert in the influence marketing, in many cases, influencers that are actively sending offers to hundreds of companies are mostly interested in freebies, which is definitely not something companies should be looking for.
There several ways of measuring the authenticity of the travel influencer you are considering:
- The first thing you should look at is the engagement rate (engagement per post divided by the total number of followers).
- Then analyze the comments.
- Check the proportion of bots among their followers.
Stay tuned and read more about picking the right influencer in the upcoming article!
Clearly define your goals and expectations from the travel influencer collaboration
Before deciding on launching a travel influencer campaign, it is essential to determine the exact results you expect to get from this project and share your vision with the blogger. It will determine the format of the collaboration, the channel and the guidelines you will be providing the influencers with. For example, while collaborations on Instagram are highly efficient at raising the brand awareness, a YouTube vlog could help you to bring people to the website, and a blog article with do-follow links is a way to improve your website’s SEO.
In general, managers in travel and hospitality companies should realize that working with travel influencers might not bring immediate bookings since going on a journey and picking the holiday accommodation is not always a quick decision. However, it is a great way to reach people in their zero moments of truth and win their share of mind. Thereby, travel influencers will help you to both promote your destination and make your potential customers directly associate it with your brand.
Then, it is key to explain to the blogger what you are expecting from this project. However, you should bear in mind that influencers know their audience better and want to stay creative. That is why there is just no sense in trying to control every single step of the campaign if you really aim to make it successful. In fact, you are recommended to set the overall guidelines & essential requirements and let the influencers figure out the rest.
Get the most of your travel influencer marketing campaign
Overall, there are two main assets you would like to get as a result of an influencer collaboration. Firstly, it is the access to your target audience and promotion of your brand. Secondly, it is the digital content that you will be able to reuse for various marketing purposes. Making sure that you are getting both of them is a way to make the most of the project.
There are different types of travel content an influence marketing campaign can provide you with: pictures for your social media pages and the website, materials for a blog article, video content. What is special about this type of content and differentiates from the one you could create on your own is the unique vision of each creator and the adaptation to what is really trending on social media. Thereby, it is a way to offer your customers something they would feel excited about.
Finally, you are advised to list the types of content the influencer will pledge to create and your specific requirements in the collaboration contract. Wondering how to draw up a perfect travel influencer contract? Contact us & and we will create it for you!
Ensure that your owned media pages look attractive
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If your goal is to drive more people to your website and to increase the number of your company’s social media followers, it is essential to make sure that your owned media channels are in good condition. In other words, your website and social media pages should look attractive and be filled with valuable content that your readers will be able to relate to and would like to share.
Needless to say, no travel influence marketing campaign will help you to gain followers and increase conversions if your own channels do not look compelling to the users. It is a mistake that many hotels and other travel brands tend to make, which makes them think that influencer marketing is not efficient. However, in reality, each collaboration campaign you create should support your overall marketing strategy and stay in line with your vision.
There are many examples of travel and hospitality brands that are doing great in terms of their owned media. Take, for the example, the Instagram account of Luxury Retreats, a luxury villa platform – their efforts in combining their owned and curated content have become a big success.
Create value for all the parties involved in the project
The rule of thumb is to remember that only mutually beneficial actions can be truly effective. In our case, it means that both the blogger and the brand should feel satisfied with the conditions of their collaboration. Just like any other relationship, influence projects assume listening to each other and making concessions when necessary. Eventually, you should remember that all this is done to create value for your customers. For this, you need to make sure that your influence marketing actions aim to create something they are really interested in (which brings us back to measuring the relevance of the influencers and the content they are producing).
Besides, making sure that interests and wishes of your collaborators are satisfied is a way to improve your reputation and create long-lasting relationships. Even when the campaign is over, the influencer you made friends with can remain your brand ambassador both with other travel bloggers and his own followers. Furthermore, if the first project has become a great success, you might probably want to proceed with another one to reinforce the effect and create a more significant connection with the customers.
By the way, there are numerous ways you can strengthen the effect of each travel influencer campaign individually. For instance, after organizing a hosted stay, you can then send interview questions to the influencer and create an article for your corporate travel blog. Next, the influencer would, of course, be happy to link back to this article, creating a great awareness. Finally, other travel blogs and magazines, as well as individual users that find this content interesting might share your article, driving traffic to your website and social media channels.
It’s time to become a rock star in influence marketing
Modern travel consumer is evolving at a fast pace, and so should the travel and hospitality companies. Now it is time to build a new level of connection with our audiences, and improving your travel influencer marketing campaigns is a great way to start this process. Contact us to sign up for a free influence marketing consultation & step in the travel industry of tomorrow!