Partnering with influencers is turning out to be a better pay-off than other traditional forms of advertising because of how emotionally invested the community of followers are.
By MediaStreet Staff Writers.
Oh the places you’ll go, and the things you’ll see. Never have Dr. Seuss’ rhymes made more sense to adults today than when you start to examine how influencer marketing has turned the travel industry upside down.
Travel writing was relegated to stuffy travel guides written by yesterday’s travel wordsmiths. Now, influencers …social media stars on all manner of platforms are striking deals with destinations, and with brands, and bringing the places they go and things they see to their dream-filled followers.
Take Tommy Lei, the Hong Kong born / LA raised photographer behind MYBELONGING for example. In the last six months, Tommy has already travelled to Iceland, Punta Cana, Mexico City, New York, London, and Morocco.
Tommy partnered with sandal brand Teva on his last trip through Marrakech to the Sahara, where the goal was a ground-swell of destination specific content – Morocco is an Instagram-worthy destination right now. The program was a smashing success, whereby his branded content generated over 40% engagement from his fans, and he was able to use his talent in photography to deliver a robust package of digital content to the brand. These kinds of collaborations are becoming the new win-win for influence deals, and they will only increase in velocity.
Brands who work with influencers get to be part of aspirational journeys across the globe, capturing audiences in a very visual way. Partnering with influencers is turning out to be a better pay-off than other traditional forms of advertising because of how emotionally invested the community of followers are.
Influencers are using wanderlust apps like Sherpa to share guides with their fans, bringing their trips full circle by establishing themselves as travel experts and brand ambassadors – all rolled into one incredible package.
On the other side of the spectrum, destinations themselves are turning into the clients that want to partner and bring groups of influencers to build the buzz. As David Hoffmann, host for popular YouTube travel channel David’s Been Here, noted, “Influencer marketing has branched out beyond fashion into the travel sphere, giving audiences a taste of what it’s like to quit their jobs, travel the world and create a personal brand doing something that was once considered a far-fetched luxury. Now that millennial influencers have taken Instagram by storm, places like the Maldives and Bali have become some of the hottest destinations, triggering flight deals and affordable hotel packages like never before.”
This is a massive shift in marketing dollars for destinations, and brands are seeing the returns in the form of booked hotels, booked flights and exploding local business. Influencers make travel, that often seems like a far off luxury, real and accessible.
The shift is also changing how other related trades are checking off their own bucket lists. Photographer Champagne Victoria has gone from shooting fashion editorials around Los Angeles to spending a better part of her year across Europe and island chains, because of the global impact of influencer marketing. By bundling trips with several brands projects, Champagne has been able to fully fund these trips, allowing her creativity to expand through different settings, and giving brands – many of which don’t have the big budgets of major labels – the opportunity to be shot in desirable destinations like the islands of Greece, Iceland, St. Lucia and so on.
If you imagine yourself waking up in the south of France, exploring the flower fields of CHANEL No. 5 – well, follow Stephanie of Honey & Silk, and see the dream become a reality. If you wanted to take the best Americana road-trip of your life, say from New Orleans to Boston and back, follow Courtney of Pretty Little Fawn. Influencers + travel are creating an exciting new wave of exploration – and thankfully with so many fashion influencers involved, you’ll finally know what to really wear.
For further reading, you can dig around the content of digital influencer management firm, God & Beauty. They discuss how travel is the new currency of influence and branded content.