Are you looking for new ways to promote your travel business? Whether you manage a hotel, own a group tour company in your home town, or even operate a popular Airbnb, travel influencer marketing can help you bring in more business.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what travel influencer marketing is, how to find quality influencers that fit your brand, and how to work with them effectively. Let’s get started!
What is Travel Influencer Marketing?
Before we answer that question, we need to establish what a travel influencer is first. Contrary to popular belief, a travel influencer is NOT just anyone with a large social media following who posts pictures about his or her vacations to exotic lands.
A travel influencer is simply a person who wields influence within the travel community. They could have 100 followers or 100,000. And they could exert their influence on social media, through a blog, or by using email marketing. It doesn’t matter.
The point is, a true travel influencer is someone who is able to move the masses to take specific actions. Those are the kind of people you want to work with. The rest of this post will show you how.
Finding the Right Travel Influencers
Before you work with a travel influencer, you first have to find the right ones to represent your business. That’s what we’ll cover in this section. Just remember, you’re looking for influence, not just a large number of Instagram or Pinterest followers.
One of the easiest ways to find travel influencers is to use an influencer platform such as Upfluence, Famebit, or HYPR. Once logged in, you can sort through the many influencers in their databases, analyze stats, form relationships, and even monitor influencer marketing campaign performance.
Of course, all this convenience comes at a price. But for those with a bit of budget to spare, a platform like the ones mentioned above can make influencer marketing much simpler.
The Manual Approach
You can also find travel influencers by manually searching through social media and the web. This approach will be much more time consuming but it’s also free and will allow you to connect with influencers who maybe aren’t associated with any particular influencer platforms.
Here are a few ways to manually find the right travel influencers:
When using the manual approach, Google is the logical first place to start. Simply type into the search bar what you’re looking for and begin sifting through the results. Obviously, the more targeted you can make your search queries, the more usable your results will be.
For example, “travel influencer” is better than just, “influencer”. But honestly, neither of these searches will do you much good. Get even more specific — something like “travel influencer Instagram [location]” or “travel influencer couples [location].”
The exact search queries you use will depend on your specific business and the goals you’re hoping to achieve with travel influencer marketing. But the basic rule always applies: the more direct your searches, the easier it will be for you to find quality results.
While searching for individual travel influencers may be a long and laborious task, searching for travel blogs could prove to be a shortcut to finding the right partner — mostly because there are fewer influencers who blog than there are who only use social media.
Working with travel bloggers has other benefits too. Not only can they have outstanding reach, but they can also give your company quality backlinks which will help your SEO. Many of them will also have strong social media followings so you likely won’t lose out on that front either.
When searching for travel bloggers, we recommend using queries that pertain to specific blog topics. For instance, “top restaurants in [name of city].” If the blogger in question has a strong online presence, they’ll likely rank high for terms like the one just mentioned.
Lastly, take to social media and search for specific hashtags that are relevant to your brand. “Relevant” is the keyword here. There is an endless number of hashtags floating around the internet. You need to search for ones that pertain to your unique business.
A few popular ones in the travel niche include #travel, #adventure, #wanderlust, #travelblgger, #backpacking, #getaway, #instapassport, and #familytravel.
When using hashtags to find potential travel influencers to partner with, be sure to evaluate the number of followers each candidate has, the level of engagement their followers display, and the values the influencer stands by. For example, if your business operates in the budget travel niche, working with a luxury travel influencer just doesn’t make any sense.
Working With Travel Influencers
Once you’ve identified a few potential travel influencers who fit your criteria, it’s time to reach out and attempt to start a working relationship. Here are three steps you need to follow:
1. Get In Touch
At this point, you should have a list of potential travel influencers to work with. The next step is to start contacting them to see if they’d be interested in working with your brand. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind regarding the first contact:
No travel influencer will want to work with you if you’re rude, arrogant, or obnoxious. Most of the folks on your list will likely have other companies contacting them for partnerships as well. They’ll gladly work with other brands if they assume partnering with your company will be a pain. So be respectful and approach travel influencers in a professional manner.
Use Private Messages
Speaking of professionalism, don’t try to conduct business in an open forum. By this we mean, always send any travel influencer you’re hoping to work with a private message rather than simply tweeting at them or commenting on one of their social posts.
Also worth mentioning, personalize your messages! Sending templated communications will save you time but won’t get you good results. People can tell when a message wasn’t written for them. And no influencer wants to work with a company who couldn’t even be bothered to write them a personalized note.
Lastly, it’s important to be completely prepared before contacting any travel influencers. Before you ever send them a private message, you should know what you’re willing to pay to work with someone, what kind of content you’re looking for, and (important!) how working with you will benefit the influencer.
As far as payment goes, in general, the more well-known and influencer is, the more expensive they’ll be to work with. Also, you can typically work out a better deal if you pay for a whole campaign rather than just one sponsored post. We’ll talk more campaigns in the next section.
2. Create Campaigns
So, what’s an influencer marketing campaign? Basically, it’s when you work with a particular influencer on a content series rather than just a single social media post, YouTube video, or blog article.
We almost always suggest that brands try to create influencer campaigns because they’re usually much more successful. A one-off post likely won’t do much to move the needle for your business. Five strategic posts, though, can definitely get people talking. But there are a few things to keep in mind:
Follow the Rules
Yes, there are rules to follow when engaging in travel influencer marketing. According to the FTC, all sponsored social media posts must be disclosed. If you’re paying an influencer to rep your brand, it needs to be clear to the general public. Many influencers do this by including hashtags like #ad or #sponsored.
Allow Creative Freedom
It’s definitely okay for you to cast your own vision and explain to your travel influencer what you’re hoping to achieve by partnering with them. But at the same time, don’t go overboard and attempt to micromanage them. This will not only sour your relationship but its also shortsighted.
Influencers have built up sizeable followings because they excel at creating content and connecting with people. This is their biggest asset. So give them creative freedom to create content for your brand that they know will succeed.
Lastly, a bit of strategy will go a long way to ensuring your travel influencer marketing efforts are a success. If you’re able to work with multiple influencers on multiple campaigns, do what you can to make sure all posts go live at about the same time.
This will give your brand the best chance to build social proof and create a buzz, be seen by your target audience, and sell more of its products and/or services.
3. Measure Your Results
The final piece of the travel influencer marketing puzzle is measuring your results. You need to understand what’s working and what isn’t so that you can optimize your efforts and claim better ROI for your efforts. Here’s how to do it:
Compare Results to Goals
When you first began using travel influencer marketing, you probably had a few goals in mind, right? Some objectives you were hoping to achieve. Remember those aims and compare your results to them. Are you closer to goals? If not, you need to adjust.
Evaluate Campaigns Individually
It’s in your company’s best interest to evaluate influencer marketing campaigns individually. It’s the only way you’ll truly know which strategies and tactics are working and which aren’t. Fortunately, through the use of UTM parameters, this isn’t that difficult to set up.
Leave Vanity at the Door
And finally, don’t get caught up in vanity metrics, tempting as it may be. A vanity metric is something that looks good on paper but doesn’t get your company any closer to its goals. For example, measuring the likes a Facebook post gets is worthless if your goal is to increase sales.
Is Travel Influencer Marketing Right for Your Business?
Travel influencer marketing, when done correctly, can really help build awareness for a company and boost its profits. The trick is to find the right influencers to partner with and then develop working relationships with them that benefit both parties.
Need a better platform to store all your brand images, logos, b-roll footage, and influencer marketing details? Take a look at CleanPix. Our digital asset management (DAM) service is intuitive, affordable, and well-loved by our customers.