The travel marketing industry is always evolving. When you as a marketing firm pitch your company to a potential client you are, in essence, selling “reach”. In other words, how many people can you engage with your content, or, more literally, how many pairs of eyes will see what you’re trying to sell. Traditional reach in print media signifies circulation, but in today’s modern landscape, “reach” equates to “followers” and nobody understands this better than influencers.
As we know, reach on its own is not enough. Yes, we want eyes on our content, but engagement is far more valuable. As marketing professionals, we want to convert this reach into action. We not only want visibility, we want follow-through. We want to take our audience on a compelling journey that results in a “click” and we want that conversion to be worth their while.
Because of this, collaborating with influencers is an incredibly powerful tool for any travel marketing firm. Influencers are individuals who’ve built their names into personal brands, advocating for certain experiences and products and thereby “influencing” their followers to follow suit.
How can we, as travel marketing agencies, build meaningful relationships with influencers who align with our own brand’s vision and strategy and thereby, increase our own reach?
We’ve broken down the do’s and don’ts of collaborating with influencers below.
Do your research and identify influencers who speak to your brand’s target audience. Ask yourself if their content aligns with your brand’s values and niche market within the travel industry. Are their followers genuinely engaged, or are they merely there to look at aspirational content? Do these individuals have an authentic love for travel? When identifying which influencers to approach, allow your brand’s identity to guide you.
Once you’ve identified and approached relevant influencers, remember that transparency is key when it comes to building trust with your audience. Encourage influencers to share their authentic experiences with your travel business. Authenticity rings true and helps to build a connection with your followers. Allow influencers the creative freedom to showcase your offerings in a way that resonates with their unique style and voice. Remember, it’s their individual brand you’ve sought out, which is why the first step of identifying relevant influencers is so important.
One of the wonderful aspects of travel is that, often, the destination sells itself!
Travel is a visually appealing industry, and influencers can leverage their creativity to capture stunning visuals. Encourage influencers to create high-quality photos, videos, and stories that highlight the unique aspects of your destination or services. Reels, in particular, are an incredibly powerful medium that audiences love to engage with.
This visual content can inspire and motivate their followers to explore and engage with your brand.
Collaborate with influencers to host giveaways or contests that offer their followers a chance to win travel experiences or exclusive perks. This can generate buzz, increase engagement, and attract new audiences to your travel business.
We’ve all subscribed to competitions on Instagram – you know how simple and effective this is. Get involved! It’s a win-win win for all parties involved and yields high returns for relatively little input.
All good businessmen and women will tell you that building strong relationships is vital. Consider building long-term relationships with influencers who consistently deliver results and align with your brand values.
Long-term partnerships allow for deeper storytelling, repeated exposure, and the opportunity to cultivate a loyal community around your travel brand. We gravitate to voices and individuals we trust. If an influencer’s content is tried and true, the odds of increased engagement heightens with every post.
Set clear goals and key performance indicators for influencer campaigns. Track relevant metrics such as engagement, reach, website traffic, bookings, or conversions. This data will help you assess the effectiveness of your influencer collaborations and make informed decisions for future campaigns.
As mentioned above, good reach is essential, but conversions are far more important. In this sense, influencers with a smaller, but more loyal following can often outweigh the benefit of engaging an influencer with a huge following that yields few conversions.
Ensure compliance with advertising regulations by clearly communicating the influencer partnership and disclosure requirements. Transparency is essential to maintaining trust with your audience and avoiding any legal complications.
Your audience deserves to know that you’ve engaged an influencer to promote a certain aspect of your business, be it an experience or a location. When they are in the know, they feel more empowered to make an informed decision regarding your content.
This is why authenticity is so important on behalf of your influencer. In an Instagram collaboration, for instance, influencers should feel free to disclose any challenges they face along the way when dealing with your offering. If there are none, great! But if there are, and this goes unmentioned, it could make for unhappy customers in future. In today’s digital world, trust is hard-earned and quickly lost.
Remember, every influencer collaboration is unique, and it’s important to tailor your approach based on your specific business goals, target audience, and the influencers you partner with.
By forging authentic and mutually beneficial relationships, travel businesses can leverage the power of influencers to amplify their brand message and attract new customers.
Here, the word “partnership” is key. You are both relying on one another, both business and individual influencers, to put out content that is to the benefit of both parties. With savvy audiences out there, who are wide awake to the pitfalls of social media, you want to ensure you place trust and transparency with your audience above all else.
Once trust is established, and your audience knows they can rely on you to paint the full picture, your conversion statistics will climb. Happiness!