Influencers, powered by technology, uses one of the most powerful forms of marketing: word-of-mouth.
Selected appropriately, the right influencers can catapult potential travelers into the buying stage of the marketing funnel.
Yet, despite the power influencers hold, many destinations remain unclear about how to tap this marketing channel.
There are several types of influencers with whom destinations may consider partnering:
Industry Professional Endorsements
The cream and cherry of influencers – an industry professional who knows about what’s out there globally and who has experience from a multifarious amount of tours, establishments and tourism related services and who absolutely know what they’re talking about. And endorsement from such a person is as good as it gets.
Similar to the celebrities of yesteryear, these influencers have 35,000+ followers. Because of the wide variety of audience segments they reach, macro-influencers are often best for wide awareness campaigns, elevating a brand’s status among social media users, and fully integrated marketing campaigns.
Ideal for making an impact within a specific niche market by hyper-targeting a certain audience, micro-influencers land between macro- and nano-influencers. They are best for brands seeking a higher level of engagement.
With 4,000-10,000 followers, nano-influencers are “popular” consumers or highly niche experts best for destinations that want an authentic look and feel around their content. These influencers also have a meaningful reach within their communities and are more likely to drive quality leads in smaller markets.
Engaging the right influencer in a destination’s marketing campaign requires consideration of the timeline, budget, audience, goals and desired outcome, and experience level of working with influencers.
Like any marketing strategy, this is just one part of an overarching plan. Influencer marketing can take a variety of forms in the marketing mix, but the most important thing is that the engagement generates content that educates consumers about a destination and inspires people to move from a stage of casual interest in travel to genuine investment in a visit.
Because influencer marketing is such a rocky channel for reaching desired audiences, destinations and influencers often encounter challenges in establishing successful partnerships that meet both parties’ needs.
Unmanaged expectations – Understandably, most influencers need a certain degree of creative freedom so that the content they share resonates with their audiences, but most destinations require that this content is on-message, portraying the authenticness of the palace and likely to generate engagements that lead to demonstrable return on investment – which often does not happen.
Striking that balance and communicating expectations clearly from the very beginning are foundational to the success of any brand-and-influencer partnership.
Rogue and undisciplined influencers – With unruly and unprofessional behaviour have angered the industry with their disrespecting and ilogic demands, creating distrust from establishments.
Despite the learning curve that comes with any new kind of outreach, understanding how to tap into the influencer marketing space – and carefully organised and managed – can help establishments reach potential travelers in a meaningful way.
Well-connected, experienced and authentic, ethical influencers can generate appropriate content about a destination to interested followers who are just a few clicks away from booking a trip.
There are very valid reasons why traditional PR professionals like myself traditionally managed press and media trips with methodical expertise – perfecting the execution of a responsible, successful event and gaining the highest ROI as far as possible, guarding the professional and ethical execution thereof with tooth and nail.
It was to assure our clients:
- Of the highest amount of awareness of an event, product or service represented in all media channels using personal connections and relationships
- Of the utmost professionalism, morals and ethics
- Of conducting business in reputable authentic and credible manner in so to protect and enhance the client’s reputation
With the same criteria, RD organises and manages influencer review trips and devise a strategy that is most beneficial to everyone, delivering on all its objectives.
As the largest living population to date at , it’s obvious that millennials dominate the travel industry They are experience-driven and search for integrated, packaged activities to document.
With a deep curiosity about the world, the millennial traveler thrives for interaction with locals, hands-on activities and cultural education.
With a “millennial see, millennial do” mentality, this group’s travel decisions are highly influenced by videos and photos from people they trust, choosing travel locations based on friend recommendations
Then there’s the over 50s
According to Skift 2017 Travel Mega Trends, travelers in their 50s are the next emerging travel demographic. They are connected to social media, influenced by their millennial-aged children, and have the financial means to build a comfortable trip.
The recent empty-nesters might dig up their bucket-list for the first time in years, and spend extra time planning the perfect itinerary. This group is both wise with spending, and curious and hip like younger generations. They own the world of “bleisure” travel, and often extend work vacations into personal vacations.