Experience the powerful impact that influencer marketing can have on your travel and tourism business.
In the competitive travel and tourism sector, brands need to do everything they can to shine the brightest and stand out from their competitors. There are countless ways that businesses can market themselves but sometimes, getting a little help from the people and organizations who are already trusted by your target audience can make all the difference to your marketing efforts.
A look at the travel and tourism sector
In 2016, there were a number of different factors that affected the travel industry such as the global economy, natural disasters and the political environment and there’s a very real chance that we can expect more of the same in 2017 but according to a recent industry analysis report by Deloitte, travel businesses that focus on being more innovative have a much better chance of overcoming any challenges they might experience this year.
When we look at the growth of the travel and tourism sector over the last year, things are still looking positive. According to the U.S Travel Association, there was a 1.2% increase in domestic trips in 2016 and a report by the Department of Commerce showed that the US received 77 million international visitors last year, which shows that people still have a strong propensity to travel for both business and leisure.
Differentiating your travel business using influencer marketing
Travel is personal and consumers are far more likely to trust a recommendation from someone they know than trust an advert.
Today’s consumers are no longer engaging with businesses that are trying to talk at them. Instead, they’re looking for authentic conversations with real people. When someone is planning a trip, whether it’s for business or a holiday, there’s a 4 times higher chance that they’ll act on a recommendation from a friend, family member or colleague first before they turn to the internet to research various brands.
However, this is not to say that people don’t like to do their own research when it comes to travel options but when they do, it’s up to you to make sure that they’ve heard about your brand in all the right places if you want to increase the chances of being chosen as their travel service provider of choice.
Influencer marketing builds credibility and can be integrated into your other marketing efforts to enhance your results.
How travel businesses can use influencer marketing to their advantage
So what are some of the ways that you can incorporate influencer marketing into your overall strategy?
Collaborate and create engaging content
In 2017, you’ll be pressed to find a strategy that doesn’t contain some form of content marketing. A 2017 Smart Insights report shows that marketers rate content marketing as the most important technique for driving incremental sales.
Content marketing works because it allows brands to engage with their audiences and show that they have people and personalities behind their logos.
When you add influencers to the content marketing mix, you can really boost your credibility and reach. Start by identifying several different key influencers that your brand would potentially like to partner with, this could be an individual or an organization and pitch them on your ideas.
Whether you own a travel agency, airline or BnB, you can invite an influencer who you know is important to your core target audience to write a review, make a fun video or share photos from their experience on their personal blog or social accounts to help promote your brand.
A great example of an influencer marketing campaign done right is when Marriott partnered with YouTubers Jeana Smith from PrankVsPrank, Louis Cole from FunForLouis, Tom from TheSyndicateProject, Steve Zaragoza from Sourcefed, Meghan Camarena from Strawburry17, and Shira Lazar of What’s Trending to surprise their 1 millionth mobile check-in customer.
The result was a video that generated nearly 4 million views in 4 months.
The more engaging your content is, the more people will share it and the more likely it is that your brand will come to mind the next time they need to book a flight or find a place to stay.
When your potential customers follow a key influencer or organization online, there’s a good chance that they’re sharing their content and commenting on their posts on social media.
Most travel businesses already know how important it is to have a presence on social media but partnering with a key influencer can really enhance your reach and results. Having an influencer spread the word about your brand’s offering or their general experience with your brand is a big online thumbs up and is enough for people to start following your brand too.
If you’re already partnering with an influencer to create engaging content, work social media into the mix by getting them to share your content online while your brand does the same on your own platforms. Remember that the content has to be creative and worth sharing if you want it to have any impact on social media.
Travel brands who got it right
Top brand such as Airbnb, TripIt, and Expedia have fully embraced the power of pairing influencers with content marketing.
The Viewfinder blog by Expedia allows travelers to blog about their experiences, giving potential travelers a real inside look into various destinations from the eyes of an actual traveler.
Airbnb has truly embraced storytelling and has given travelers multiple reasons to return to their online platforms and keep engaging with their brand. By offering unique insights into a variety of travel destinations, they’re giving their customers something of value that will keep them coming back. Their social media pages are filled with recommendations and photos from actual travelers too, giving it a very vibe.
TripIt partnered with influencers Matt Long and Lee Abbamonte to develop #TripItChat, a monthly Twitter discussion that allows travelers to voice their opinions on a variety of travel related topics.
In order for travel businesses to reach out to today’s consumer, they need to generate as much trust, credibility, and hype as possible and working with influencers to develop and distribute content is proving to be one of the most effective ways to stand out in 2017 and beyond.
For more reading on how you can work with influencers to increase your content’s reach, click here.