The ultimate guide to travel influencer marketing
Learn how Creator Commerce™ can drive travel, tourism, and hospitality brands with influencer recommendations to increase brand awareness, improve brand sentiment, and exceed growth goals.
Consumer wanderlust is rampant, and travel and tourism brands are trying to tap into this territory to exceed growth goals.
Travel brands that work with influencers can fuel that wanderlust and boost their brand awareness among paying travelers.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to implement an influencer strategy that will help your travel brand stand out in a sea of breathtaking travel content by aligning with the right travel creators.
What is travel and tourism influencer marketing?
Travel influencer marketing started as simple travel blogging – a blogger or travel vlogger who reviewed and documented their adventures on one platform. Now, you can expect to see endless travel content across every social media platform.
With a data-based strategy, you’ll work with a variety of influencers who display sought-after destinations through aesthetic content that also promotes your brand as part of their journey.
What travelers want
Your travel consumers are day dreamers looking for their next adventure. They’re weighing their options for transportation, lodging, entertainment, and every other aspect of planning a trip. But planning can be stressful and expensive. They want affordable and convenient options that will make their dreams more attainable and their decisions easier.
Whether you’re speaking to a business traveler, a Gen Z thrill-seeker, or a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary, there are a few things every trip planner is looking for in a travel brand:
Convenience and flexibility
Planning a trip can feel like high stakes. travelers are looking for easy, fast booking and just-as-easy canceling. Travel brands that use smart digital tools to give their consumers power and flexibility over their itinerary see success.
Safety and comfort
According to McKinsey Research, today’s travelers care about safety, hygiene, and wellness first and foremost. Implementing health and safety protocols can be challenging, but travel brands that do it without making the travel experience more difficult will make their customers feel safe in their hands.
Deals and discounts
60 percent of respondents to a PwC survey said the most important reason they switched travel brands was due to better pricing, offers, or packages. Almost half of top-tier loyalty members said that loyalty programs were even more important now than before the pandemic. Influencers effectively promote your brand’s sales, packages, and discounts across their channels to incentivize travel.
The modern consumer is more aware than ever of the impact mass tourism has on the planet and its global communities. A recent Expedia Group Travel Outlook found that 67 percent of Gen Z travelers are booking sustainable travel and are more likely to consider travel businesses that prioritize sustainable practices. Influencers help spread an authentic message around your eco-friendly initiatives.
The same Expedia Group Travel Outlook states that three in four Gen Z Americans are looking for travel businesses that value diversity and inclusion, with locals at the center of promoted destinations. With a 30+ million influencer community on social media, you can find plenty of influencers of diverse backgrounds.
Travelers are looking for services that make the experience feel personal. Influencers help humanize larger corporate brands with content that shows personalized experiences.
What is a travel influencer?
Travel influencers are creators that make travel seem more possible by sharing photos, travel tips, discount codes, local recommendations, and more.
As popular digital nomads, travel enthusiasts, and content creators, they publicly document their traveling experiences and the brands and products they use along the way.
With improved brand awareness and relatability through travel-related content, your brand can also become the mouthpiece for travel updates, changes, and the future of tourism.
Travel and tourism influencers:
Travel content creation that fuels wanderlust
Travel influencers create stylish and aesthetic content that helps the consumer imagine themselves in the promoted destination. Often, travel and lifestyle influencers will collaborate and travel together, bringing even more layered awareness to a brand.
While most creator content is known for being unpolished and unposed, travel content is generally of higher quality with striking backgrounds, bright lighting, and eye-catching colors. Travel is an ultra-competitive space, with content filling up social feeds.
Travel and tourism influencer content:
- Informs consumers of new places and experiences
- Fuels consumer wanderlust and the need for escapism
- Smooths over the nuances of travel
- Brings fresh perspectives to your existing services
- Creates urgency and demand for planning trips
- Tags and highlights travel providers and suppliers
- Is more effective than corporate travel shots and commercials
- Brings comfort to hesitant travelers about safety protocols
- Can be spontaneous and raw, as well as produced
Whether through live stories, streams, TikTok videos, or dreamy Instagram posts, travel influencers know how to connect with and inspire their followers to get out and live their best lives.
What travel content creators want in a brand
Influencers deliver content to a specific audience. To keep those loyal followers and inspire them to buy, influencers must maintain their authenticity. Travel influencers work with brands based on very unique and specific qualities that align with their own brand, but here are key characteristics they’re looking for:
The unique content creator is looking for the next new destination or exciting trip idea to promote. Where possible, tap into your most unique services, features, and offerings to highlight across your influencer marketing campaigns.
Does your brand have any environmentally conscious values, statements, or initiatives? Influencers can spread the word, improving your brand perception and setting your business apart.
Brands that align with their travel preferences
To remain authentic to their dedicated followers, travel influencers partner with brands that make sense for their personal aesthetic, beliefs, and travel preferences.
If they lose authenticity, they lose followers, and you don’t get results. Working with an expert in influencer management helps you sift through the sea of influencers for best-fit casting from the start.
Customer care is more important than ever. Influencers want to promote brands that value the customer. They don’t want to feel like a number in the crowd. Influencers can show their followers the personalized experience you provide on their travels.
Health and safety narrative
With travel optimism back on the rise, brands must remain cautious and continue promoting their views and protocols on health, safety, and hygiene. Influencers do an excellent job of not just telling but showing what brands are doing to keep them safe.
Freedom to imagine and create
Influencers know their audience. Trust the relationship they have with their followers and allow them to interpret campaigns and create content that balances your brand identity with their persona.
Flexibility and offers
Where an influencer can offer their followers something special, they will. Offers and discounts on travel are effective, especially for frugal consumers who trust their favorite influencers enough to go straight to booking.
Clear contractual terms and conditions
Your contract is the start of a collaborative partnership. Provide your influencers talking points, brand information, and helpful tips for deliverables without being too prescriptive. Facilitating communication and creating an influencer proposal template can be a challenge. Work with an expert enabled by the most advanced influencer marketing software.
Can your travel brand benefit from influencer marketing?
Any travel supplier, hospitality brand, destination, or tourism brand can benefit from influencer marketing. Whether you’re a hotel, airline, or online travel agency, there are influencers ready to work with you to improve your brand perception.
Influencer marketing for boutique travel brands
Influencer marketing can put a small brand on the map by spreading brand awareness across social media. Smaller travel brands with great services, prices, and destinations can see great success when using the right mix of influencers – both global and local – who have historically driven revenue for the travel niche.
It happens all the time: a highly engaged influencer features a boutique hotel or online travel agency (OTA), and their audience is hooked.
Influencer marketing has helped some brands reach audiences in different parts of the country or the world, or even led to discovery by other potential business partners.
Don’t have the budget for a full influencer campaign? LTK offers other placements at lower flat fees to help spread brand awareness.
Helping larger travel brands scale
Influencer marketing can help larger travel, tourism, and hospitality brands scale their approach, keep them on-trend, and create fresh content around existing services.
Whether you’re a large airline with a new flight route or a corporate luxury hotel chain looking to improve brand sentiment, influencers can help you reach your goals. Meanwhile, you’re helping them reach their goals, in a mutually beneficial and collaborative partnership. Larger brands in all industries work with us to develop a layered, full-funnel approach to scale their influencer marketing program with new influencers, test new channels and verticals, and create different multi-channel campaign strategies.
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Top Travel Trends
Consider the following travel trends when starting new influencer campaigns.
How can you position your brand to speak to these trends authentically? Your brand may not align with all of them, but it’s critical to know which ones will resonate with your target audience – and which influencers will be a fit for those trends.
High-end travel was once made popular by celebrities, but it’s now much more attainable in the eyes of consumers who follow influencers. Whether it’s a luxury honeymoon, girls’ trip, or tropical getaway, younger generations are indulging.
Many travelers today are looking for more than a typical getaway. Millennials and Gen Z especially are seeking adventure, exploration, and discovery. Whether it’s a bucket list trip or a group of daredevils, there is a segment of travelers looking for an adrenaline-packed experience they can talk about for years.
Almost the opposite of luxury, some travelers today are looking for an off-grid, “roughing it” experience. Especially with the uptick in remote work, people all over are taking to the road and going rural. Depending on your brand’s audience, you could be there for them along the way.
This year, the appeal of out-of-state business travel has improved among American travelers. According to Destination Analysts, nearly 46 percent of employed American travelers say they would be happy to take an out-of-state business trip in the next six months. With more conferences, conventions, and group meetings on the horizon, travel brands that support the business traveler will stand out.
Today, many people are seeking personal growth through travel and camaraderie. A growing trend in travel right now is the retreat, where travelers learn new skills, bond, and become better versions of themselves. Influencers can align your brand with these consumer needs and desires.
Casting the right travel influencers
Casting influencers is a complex process, with millions of available content creators. From our experience as an influencer network, with a decade of influencer data, we’ve helped tons of travel brands get more visits through the right influencers. Here are some best practices for casting the best travel influencers for your brand.
Overcoming influencer marketing challenges
Tackling influencer marketing independently can be overwhelming for marketing teams. Without the right data and resources, in-house influencer marketing programs may result in:
- The wrong influencer relationships
- Inconsistent influencer outreach
- Unclear influencer-brand communication
- Lack of ROI
- Messy influencer contracts and proposals
- Lack of campaign focus
- Wasted time on the wrong metrics
With substantial influencer data from an influencer marketing platform, the right travel and lifestyle influencers can help you reach aspiring and seasoned travelers, foster customer loyalty, spread brand awareness, build brand identity, and create a fresh narrative around your brand in the marketplace.
Creating successful travel influencer campaigns
Consider these tips for a successful travel campaign strategy.
1 — Budget strategically
Make sure to allocate a budget that will allow you to meet all your campaign goals. Stretching a small budget across too many goals will likely yield an unsuccessful campaign.
2 — Help your influencers incentivize travel
Give your influencers something of value they can offer their followers, such as promo codes, discounts, a free service – all incentivizing them to go from just planning a trip to booking it.
3 — Be generous with gifting
Be as generous as possible with gifting, especially if your brand is new to the influencer. This sweetens the influencer’s experience and what they share with their audience.
4 — Be clear about campaign expectations
Be direct with your influencers about what you expect from the campaign, especially about anything your brand does and does not want included in content. This keeps the relationship healthy and content on-brand.
5 — Use branded hashtags
Branded hashtags are valuable for all travel brands, especially newer ones. They help spread the word about your business while making it easy to find content created by you, your influencers, and your followers.
6 — Grow influence
When managing your influencer marketing campaign, return on ad spend and results don’t always happen instantly. Influence and reputation, just like with other marketing media, is built over time with travel influencers.
The LTK team goes above and beyond to identify progress and areas for improvement to GROW (Gather, Reach, Optimize and Win!) influence. The LTK Score™, provides insights into how your brand’s influence ranks and the best opportunities to improve.
7 — Consider the travel timeline
Make sure you consider the timeline for planning travel and what kind of content you would like produced before, during, and after the experience. Factor in the duration of the influencer’s stay, peak travel seasons, and travel events.
8 — Stay adaptable
Roll with the punches as you work through your influencer campaign. As powerful as influencers are, unexpected things happen. Should any issues arise, the LTK team goes above and beyond to troubleshoot and find a solution during an influencer campaign.
Benefits of an influencer marketing management platform
Influencer marketing campaigns can be complex. You need to:
At LTK, we help you and all of your departments every step of the way and amplify your in-house efforts. As an influencer marketing platform designed for creator management, we help you do it all in-house, so you have the influencer intelligence to run effective influencer marketing campaigns without completely outsourcing to an agency.
Where to start your influencer marketing journey
New to influencer marketing? Start with a test campaign, guided by influencer data to get a strategy going strong. As the leading influencer marketing hub for the last 10 years, LTK has solved influencer marketing challenges through:
- Amplified distribution through the largest creator shopping channel: shopLTK.com with 8M+ shoppers
- Full-service creator programs that deliver on your unique objectives
- Strategic planning based on historical brand performance data
- Expert brand consulting, planning, executing, and reporting
- End-to-end campaign execution and influencer casting
- Access to the most successful influencer platform in the world
- Licensed imagery from premium creators for your own marketing channels
- Conference and event integration to build long-term relationships
- Access to real-time measurable results on the top influencer campaign management software
Use your test campaign as an opportunity to discover best-match travel and lifestyle influencers who convert. As you think longer-term strategy down the road, our influencer marketing platform will help you secure those influencers as your ambassadors.