Tourism is one industry that has suffered the most due to the effects of the pandemic. Though the worst is almost over, it will take a lot of time for travel brands to achieve pre-pandemic business levels.
For this to happen, brands will have to find various methods to get footfalls while assuring tourists about their safety and health. The most resource-efficient way to do this?
Marketers have realized the importance of word-of-mouth marketing. Conventional marketing strategies used for paid adverts on TV, radio, or print media do not work. People trust their influencer’s recommendations as a friend or a role model. They like to interact with the influencer’s content and get motivated to visit a place that the influencer recommends. This is done in many ways-
What motivates someone to visit a place? Usually, they choose a place based on what they hear or see from friends or as per their budget. When an influencer geotags their photo posts, followers can see just exactly where the photo was taken.
This motivates many followers to research the destination and plan their holidays accordingly. Many want to pose in the exact same spot as the influencer did. This is particularly useful for those places off the beaten track, which can help increase footfalls in regions that generally don’t see too many tourists.
Getting people interested via user-generated content (UGC)
With people the world over hesitant to travel, UGC is the best type of word-of-mouth publicity to reaffirm the safety of travel to tourists. Travel brands can hire influencers with large followings to explore a place and show their followers how to enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes without worrying about their health and safety. Travel brands (hotels, attractions, national parks, and other businesses dependent on tourism) can use influencers to inform people how to enjoy their vacations and yet protect their health.
Travelocity, an online travel agent, hired a couple of well-known travel influencers to show people how they can travel while staying safe. Calling their campaign National Gnomads, they forged long-term relationships with various influencers who regularly post about their trips. This not only helps to show people how traveling was safe, but it also helps to promote its service across geographies.
Matching influencer profiles with brand values
This is a trick used extensively in the influencer marketing realm. Picture this, a luxury branded hotel chain can hire an influencer who specializes in luxury travel. This influencer will show off the property from a guest’s point of view. This helps in brand awareness and can help increase sales in the long run.
Many airlines like British Airways, Qantas, and Alaska Air have used this strategy in the best way. They hired local travel influencers to document their travels using the airline and tag them wherever they go. For this, the brands even created special hashtags like #WeekendWanderer in the case of Alaska Airlines or #BLeisure in the case of British Airlines. This helped the posts to go viral and increase brand awareness.
With the brand’s traditional following coupled with influencer’s following in the hundreds of thousands, the content posted by these influencers gets to the whole target audience as required.
Benefits in Partnering with Influencers for travel brands
With the COVID-19 induced pandemic wiping out billions of dollars spent on tourism, travel brands have to go the extra mile to entice people to come back. Travel influencers are the most resource-efficient medium brands have to convince people to travel, here is how this will benefit travel brands.
Boost consumer trust- Influencers work hard to create content that engages and interests their followers. When any influencer suggests visiting a place through their posts, the followers trust the influencer and are motivated to visit the place.
Offer genuine advice- Whenever an influencer visits a place, they post everything about that place- what they saw, where they went, what they ate, and who they met. Based on their experiences, they offer advice that people find genuine.
Help tourists with safety and health guidelines- As influencers post content from a tourists’ standpoint, they help bust myths people believe when it comes to travel. Influencers keep their followers posted about the various norms and guidelines they have to follow at various locations.
They help spread curiosity and excitement- Many have not had the chance to travel ever since the lockdown started a year ago. People are eager to travel but do not know how to go about it, as travel is restricted in various places. Travel content helps reinforce the excitement and curiosity of travel amongst people across the world who are gradually moving towards normality.
The travel and tourism industry was perhaps the worst hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Influencer marketing is the best marketing medium travel brands’ can trust when it comes to reaching the pre-Covid levels of tourism footfalls that were prevailing back then.