Original Article written by Eric Dahan: Travel Pulse
The tourism industry has changed irrevocably, and travel is the fastest-growing segment in influencer marketing. Thanks to the rise of travel content from creators who love to share their experiences online, consumers no longer see travel reserved for a privileged few. Influencers sharing candid reviews, travel tips and top location suggestions have lessened people’s fear of the unknown.
Consequently, travelers have become more self-reliant, with many choosing to forgo travel agents in favor of DIYing their vacation planning. So, it’s no surprise that global international tourist arrivals are expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030.
How Brands Can Stand Out in a Sea of Travel Influencers
As travel influencer marketing continues to grow, stiff competition is the natural byproduct. But there are a few ways to rise above the noise and get your target customers’ attention. Let’s dive into the best ways to nail your travel influencer marketing to secure your spot among the greats.
Let Your Creativity Run Wild
Slapdash campaigns won’t cut it in the ultra-competitive travel influencing market. Also, avoid jumping on collaborations and content styles with specific influencers just because everyone else is doing it. Instead, research what your target market counts as envy-inducing, drool-worthy and inspirational imagery, then go out there and make it.
Feed into the travel desires of your target market as these campaigns will have a greater chance of stopping their scrolling to check out your content. Always be on the lookout for ways to keep your target audience excited about your brand and offerings. And aim to inspire an entire segment at once.
For instance, you could host an influencer weekender and invite a group of influencers to a location and request they document their experience on their social media. Also, popular travel influencers often travel together; you could use this to your advantage. Arrange to work with their favorite group simultaneously or put together your own and collaborate with them on a series of vlogs or short videos (they get more engagement than photos). Feature your product(s) and highlight its benefits to drive tons of traffic to your social pages and website. This approach can also create more momentum and long-lasting results.
“Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken”
The well-known quote above is to encourage people but rings true for travel influencer marketing. Many brands fall into the trap of thinking they must present their products in a certain way to get customers. Consequently, they miss out on building a community that vibes with their brand’s true personality and mission by alienating them with content that speaks to an entirely different crowd.
Other companies misrepresent locations to get more customers, only to have it backfire and cause reputational damage. Authenticity is the secret sauce for influencer marketing success. Ninety percent of consumers believe authenticity is an essential factor when deciding whether to back a brand. Places don’t change, but people do. So, influencers can offer new perspectives on your products. Their unique creator voice will always bring a fresh perspective.
A great way to increase authenticity in your campaigns is to blend user-generated content with influencer marketing as shoppers find the former 2.4 times more authentic than brand-created content. So, don’t feel like you must follow the luxe travel trend if you built your brand to serve backpackers or try to make your offerings appear like something they’re not. Embrace your brand’s uniqueness and push what makes your brand different. Your tribe is waiting for you on the other side. Tap into your target customers’ deepest desires and make it attainable – Social media is known for its awe-inspiring posts, especially in travel.
Research Your Customers’ Deepest Desires and Recreate Them in Your Campaigns
From Instagrammable snaps of tropical locales to enviable skiing getaways, there’s something about travel that keeps audiences hooked and coming back for more. Use the human desire for exploration to your advantage.
Dig deep into your target customers’ deepest wants and needs to uncover the experiences and products that will set their souls on fire. For example, do they love escapism content? Perhaps they want to feel free. Does luxury travel content stop them in their tracks? Perhaps they want to feel successful and accomplished. Once you know the feeling they want to achieve, you can set out to create them in your influencer campaigns to inspire them to take action, whether that’s booking a trip or buying a travel-related product.
Lastly, make your offering seem attainable to your target market by carefully selecting influencers your target customers can relate to so you increase the odds of your content resonating with them.
In Times of Crisis, Don’t Take Your Foot Off the Marketing Peddle
One of the biggest ways to hold your business back in the travel niche is to scale back influencer campaigns in crisis. During the recovery phase of the post-pandemic economy, it’s a good idea to take a two-pronged approach to your influencer marketing.
First, think local by pushing more activities people can do on their home turfs like road trips, train journeys and staycations. Then think global. Keep consumers informed about world travel in your influencer campaigns. You can do this by creating helpful micro-moments which promote travel at each stage of the customer journey, in which they get to experience short bursts of travel from their device. This approach will help keep your audience hopeful and inspired for better days ahead where they’ll be able to take trips unhindered. Engage with them to uncover what makes them feel safe so you can tailor your offerings to match.
Helping your customers plan their future trips will put your business in a stronger position to close more sales in the long run. Finally, optimize for mobile viewing. People tend to access social media from a mobile device and even shop on them. Eighty-five percent of shoppers book travel activities via mobile. It pays to lead with a mobile-first approach.