travel influencers

How Travel Brands Can Use Influencer Marketing to Stay Afloat as the Pandemic Continues

Initially, when the COVID pandemic hit, most of the world went into lockdown. As a result, traveling was not a top priority and effectively came to a halt. Staying safe during this stressful time became a more significant focus overall. As a result, the travel industry suffered since many local government agencies banned non-essential travel.

Because of this change, the travel industry had to change its tactics to promote its businesses. As a result, the travel industry saw a rapid rise in digital video consumption and a flourishing rapport for influencer content during the pandemic.

How COVID-19 Affected the Travel Industry

As COVID-19 has impacted the travel industry, people have adopted new trends.

People Appreciate Travel More

Because of the stay-at-home restrictions, consumers have been scoping the internet to stay motivated. They are becoming excited about new travel opportunities when the regulations are finally lifted. In addition, consumers coming out of isolation are learning to appreciate travel more since the pandemic took access away from them.

People Have Had Time to Reset

A positive aspect of the pandemic has been that people have been able to rest from the daily grind and reset their priorities. In addition, it has allowed some people to spend extra time with their families, especially for those who have to assist their children with virtual education. 

The free time at home has allowed people to dream about future possibilities, such as planning a memorable trip once the pandemic is over. In addition, being stuck indoors for a while gives consumers the desire to explore out in the open, which leads to an influx of future travel aspirations.

People Want to Explore Locally 

You often hear the word “stay-cation,” where people choose to vacation around their town. The pursuit of local tourist attractions and what they offer has increased. This move to local holidays is in part because of several factors, including: 

  • Government restrictions on international travel
  • A desire to support local businesses during economic hardships 
  • Focusing on visiting families and friends in the same country or geographical location

Support Hard-Hit Destinations

Some consumers want to visit destinations that are struggling because of a dramatic drop in tourism. They want to assist these countries by helping their economy. 

Some of these people are used to luxury travel conditions and are eager to get back to it. Others seek a peaceful, tropical paradise where distancing is possible while enjoying a serene escape. 

Many families choose to support the National Parks System by planning trips to National Parks, such as Yosemite or Yellowstone.

Vacationing to Visit Family People Haven’t Seen in Years

During this pandemic, the family has become a new priority. When local governments first put people on lockdown, you could not safely visit extended family members. Individuals used video chats, like Zoom or Facetime, to connect with extended family. 

In this new era of travel, people want to see those extended family members they have not seen in a while because of the pandemic. Visiting family has become a top priority over destination travel. Visiting elderly extended family has also become a priority since this pandemic has put them at risk.

Car Travel Over Plane Travel

Since many people are extra cautious because of the pandemic, they are reluctant to pursue air transportation. Therefore, this is an era where there will be an increase in domestic and local travel. 

Driving to these destinations seems to be the safest option that people are pursuing. Current government travel restrictions also play a part in where individuals will travel. Rather than choosing a plane to an international destination, driving across the country to alternative vacation spots is more feasible. 

Using a personal vehicle reduces the number of individuals they contact and gives travelers more control over their vacation plans.

People Are Looking to Experience Travel Safely

Not only have expectations changed for traveling, but the places where people seek advice also took a 180-degree turn.

Online Video 

Early in the pandemic, we saw video viewership increase. According to insights from Warc, online video consumption jumped from one hour per day pre-pandemic to four hours per day in April 2020. Again, this was because consumers were stuck indoors.

Living Vicariously Through Influencers in Other Countries/States 

Even the top travel influencers’ businesses have suffered the repercussions of COVID because of their newfound lack of resources that once helped them make their money traveling the world. This income included sponsored trips promoting hotels, destinations, airlines, and tourism-related brands. 

With most of the population in lockdown, we have cut travel influencers off at the source. A lot of long-term endorsements and contracts are in a perpetual waiting period. Content creators and businesses alike are dealing with the uncertainty that comes with it until they get back to normal.

Digital influencers have been earning money in the past by working with brands on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and other social media outlets. Travel bloggers are among those influencers. 

However, travel influencer marketing became more popular during the pandemic than ever. Presently, 63% of people engage with travel influencer content versus statistics before the pandemic. 

People are stuck indoors, imagining what it would be like to experience the outdoors again finally. Thus, they yearn to immerse themselves in travel influencer content, to feel that they are experiencing the destination with them.

Source Local Influencers

Because consumers are confined to the indoors and with travel restrictions, we recommend that people work with influencers who can provide local advice. The option to visit local locations becomes more attainable through their help. You do not have to travel far to seek their help. You are helping your local economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt influencers’ income by dropping brand collaborations, but the pandemic has not extinguished them. According to Destinations International, the World Health Organization has worked with several influencers to encourage proper hand washing during the pandemic. 

Travel content creators who typically use Instagram to help pay their way through a trip have been put on lockdown. Destination International also reported that because of their limitations during the COVID-19 pandemic, travel influencers have reported feeling anxious (18%) and stressed (14%), while few said they were happy.

Most of the respondents – 88% – reported seeing at least one of their projects canceled. One influencer event reported losing more than $100,000 in project fees. About 36% of influencers reported losing $1-10,000 in costs since the onset of COVID-19, while 41% have lost $10-50,000. 

Some travel influencers are exploring other types of content writing to make a living during this pandemic. 

One influencer, however, summed up how they could remain connected to travel. They elaborated that “I’m working with some tourism boards on future campaigns, so we can be prepared to go for it when ‘travel is safe again.'” 

While project fees are diminishing momentarily, there is hope for destination and digital travel influencer marketing growth. For instance, 80% of respondents still had some projects to complete. 

Find Influencers Advocating for Sustainable Travel 

If you are a person who thrives on helping the environment, then find an influencer who advocates for sustainable travel. 

Influencers are trying to create a new way to market their travel endeavors to prepare for a return to destination travel and tourism. There will be new themes, habits, and values that will apply to the travel industry. Some influencers will focus on safe and clean travel. Others will try to promote local and domestic travel. It is a new and ever-changing era of travel standards.

The Wanderful Blog is full of top sustainability influencers who teach people how to be better travelers and better caretakers of the Earth. There are influencers out there that specialize in sustainability and conservation fields. In addition, the Wanderful Blog highlights female content creators that focus on sustainable travel.

Influencers Are Professional Content Creators-Follow Their Lead

While prior generations have prioritized investing their finances around family livelihood, such as purchasing a home and starting a family, travel was seen only as a luxury. 

These days, Millennials and Gen Z focus on more physically immersive experiences, such as travel and social events. As a result, critical financial milestones have become less of a priority than the opportunity of experiences. In addition, this new generation is digitally savvy, with many being drawn to watching travel influencers and their content to help them plan for future travel endeavors.

A collection of travel influencers started exploring new places, where they saw an opportunity to build brand strategies. Travel influencer marketing began to entice consumers with content containing idealistic experiences, such as romantic or exotic destinations, encouraging their viewers to join their trip or take one of their own.

The appeal of travel influencers stems from their influence and capabilities to make their audience feel connected to their experiences.

Travel influencers have privileges that most people could only dream of affording, with the ability to visit luxury destinations and stay in luxury hotels. What helps them access such endeavors is that they get paid for the vacation itself.

Think Long-Term When it Comes to Travel Influencer Partnerships

Travel influencers have the potential to change the travel industry for the better. As more people emphasize genuine long-term relationships with people that they deem as dependable, the more power that influencers are shown to have.

As a result, influencer partnerships can create an engaging user experience that will encourage other followers to follow suit. Lately, travel influencers have driven traffic and consumer awareness targeted towards certain aspects of the travel industry. For example, influencers have emphasized responsible, eco-conscious tourism and elite luxury travel experiences.

Consider Micro-Influencers

Consumer advertising is constantly changing, with many travel organizations already harnessing relationships with celebrities or macro-influencers. Macro-influencers are social media users with 1 million followers or more. 

Alternatively, partnering with micro-influencers, who garner 10,000 or more followers, also presents an opportunity for brand awareness and delivering highly relevant, authentic content to consumers. Current campaigns may not be reaching all consumers, making micro-influencers an ideal outlet.

Explore Different Content Formats for Your Travel Brand

To deal with current work-from-home circumstances, bloggers like Yaya and Lloyd have had to shift and create content on their channels to experiment with different formats. 

Measure and Iterate

Many influencers put long hours in organically growing their media outlets. Measuring follower and engagement rates are some of the quickest and easiest ways to gauge your influencer’s credibility before you hire them. 

An engagement rate measures the level of interaction between followers from content created by a specific user. Therefore, it can provide a more accurate representation of their digital content performance. 

This rate is a better measurement than simply looking at their likes, shares, and comments.

It would help if you noticed several metrics while tracking an influencer campaign: 

  • The reach of an influencer’s post 
  • How many people have seen or have come across the post 
  • Post engagement
  • Post interaction

Also, take notice of the influencers with higher engagement and cost per engagement. 

HypeAudior

The measurements described above can be hard to track if you are not using any tool. However, an influencer tool like HypeAuditor can track these metrics in a matter of seconds. HypeAuditor collates all information for you with their campaign tracker.  

With the campaign tracker, you can: 

  • Learn impressions and engagement metrics for all your influencers in one dashboard.
  • Understand overall engagement, audience reach, and total spending. The engagement vs. spending chart gives quality data on how your engagement changes with the expenditure. 
  • Compare the performance of all influencers with the influencer list. The influencer list highlights the influencer’s audience, total engagement, engagement rate, posts, and price per post. If you like an influencer’s performance, you can add them to the campaign again with the “add to campaign” button.

Find Travel Influencers for Your Brand

User-generated content is an excellent resource when marketing your brand, whether you’re an advertiser or a business. User-generated content marketing is created by clients and customers and promotes your service for you. 

This type of content creates trust and shows other potential customers that you are a positive influence and someone to purchase from or interact with. 

Sideqik.com

If you create a digital marketing campaign that includes travel influencers, you can use Sideqik.com to improve your influencer marketing strategies. 

Nancy Rothman

Nancy Rothman

Nancy is a passionate, results-driven marketing executive with more than a decade of experience in building robust integrated marketing programs for brands of all sizes, with specific expertise in the martech space. Prior to Sideqik, Nancy held roles at four successful martech startups, each of which received multiple series of fundraising and included two acquisitions. At CallRail, specifically, Nancy served as the director of marketing where she built the company’s brand and established it as a leader in its space. She also held roles at MeetEdgar, where she oversaw the entire sales and marketing practice, increasing the company's user base and annual recurring revenue, as well as PureCars, which was acquired by Raycom Media in 2015. As vice president of marketing for Sideqik, Nancy is responsible for developing and executing on the company's marketing strategy to drive overall business growth.

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