Meet the Swiss Army Knife of Marketing: The Travel Influencer

Picture this: You’ve got an influencer representing your brand. Descriptive writer, incredible photographer, even makes gorgeous videos. They shoot from breathtaking locales around the world, engage with thousands of followers, and more seem to join every week. And the best part? Versatility. Activewear? Sure. New tech gadget? Love to. Vitamin supplement? Gotta keep the immune system up. Laptop case? Use one every day, no problem. Meet the travel influencer…or become reacquainted quickly, because they’re arguably the most valuable voices in the influencer marketing world.

Everyday People in Extraordinary Places

There’s a broad appeal to travel writing, and it’s been around for decades. Exotic places, foreign food and cultures…it’s all very exciting and informative. And watching actresses and professional athletes posing on a yacht in the south of France can be enjoyable. But, for most of us, it’s the relatable nature of watching someone a lot like you navigate language barriers, airport crises, and unrecognizable meals, and this is where the marketing magic begins. In truth, you may or may not drink the bubbly water that said celebrity is toasting with at sunset; but, if your travel influencer gets a rash in the jungle, photographs it, and then tells you how a product helped get rid of it, that’s a personality you can relate to. Trust is the gold of the marketing world, and being honest, self-deprecating and conversational about your experiences is the best way to get that. If you can see yourself in another’s shoes, you can see yourself using what they use. Mission accomplished.

What Don’t They Use?

As we talked about above, these travel influencers can represent a wide variety of brands. Obviously, hotels, cruise ships, and other travel and hospitality brands would be a natural fit, and they have seen great success using influencer marketing. Other things like translation and mapping apps, various luggage options, and comfortable socks might fall under the same umbrella. Consider, though, all the everyday items you use at home and in your daily life. Chances are, they’d be useful while travelling. Tweezers, shampoo, air fresheners, restaurant review sites…these are all applicable for showcasing on a traveler blog. Even home-based items like lawn fertilizer or artificial plants might seem strange, but several savvy travel influencers even talk about the things they are happy to come home to, and a healthy lawn might fall on that list.

Content Is King

One of the truly powerful aspects of influencer marketing is the content they produce. It can be repurposed and featured in lots of different ways for years after the initial post. Influencers are content creators…professional writers and photographers who not only excel at their craft, but absorb and incorporate your specific messaging into their work. That means you get a big spark after the post goes live, and a slow but steady burn on your brand awareness. Additionally, hiring freelance content creators and photographers can cost a fortune. Do your research, and find these professionals who do all that plus have thousands of loyal followers who read them everyday. That’s a whole lot of value for one marketing campaign.

Here’s a few tips for identifying and engaging with travel influencers:

  • Messaging: Before you start searching, get a good idea of the basics of your campaign. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but general concepts like tone, mood, and the way you’d like to see your brand represented are good starts. Try to get a good feel for what you’re looking for before you start your search.
  • Research: Find a few sites where the images and writing fit your brand. Make sure to check out their blog and all the linked social channels while you’re at it, and check on other brands they’ve represented before.
  • Outreach: If you’re able to find a good contact, construct a short, concise email. Remember, these folks get lots of emails every day, so get right to the point. Remember to inquire about a fee, also; most influencers do this for a living, and you may not get much of a response rate if you don’t offer compensation. And always use their name, and maybe even reference a specific post that you really liked…it should be a personal relationship.
  • Be Realistic: Once you’ve found a great match, be sure to be clear about what you expect and when. Many travelers end up “off the grid” for weeks and have a fairly rigid editorial calendar, so last-minute changes or requests for extensions can’t always be possible.
  • Hire a Pro: Yes, this type of marketing can be done yourself, but be prepared to spend a lot of time on it. It can feel uncertain at times, and a lot of trial and error is normal. You might want to consider an agency; they have the experience, contacts and relationships in place to get you going in the right direction.

Have questions about how to find the best and brightest travel influencers who would fit perfectly with your brand? Ask us in the comments below, we’re a friendly bunch!

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