You will have probably noticed by now that we love (and I mean seriously love) helping marketers, PR professionals, small businesses, sole traders and start-ups find their mojo when it comes to influencer marketing.
A while back, we shared an article on 10 ways that fashion brands can work with influencers to help anyone and everyone in the international fashion industry dream up an influencer strategy that works for them. So in this post, I wanted to share the love to our friends in the travel industry! Whether your brand is a travel-related product (luggage, gear, tech accessories etc), service, experience or an official tourism organization, these campaign ideas will help you start formulating an influencer marketing strategy from the ground up.
Here are 10 ways travel brands can work with influencers...
Let Them Be The Host
If your brand is a travel experience, service or location, get an influencer to join your team as a one-off special event, for a period of time or as long-term arrangement. It could be an influencer that you already have a good partnership with, someone you have worked with previously or even an influencer who is just a really great fit with your brand. The possibilities are endless, and it really depends on what your business is actually about, but some ideas to get you started are…
- A tour company could engage an influencer to host a 10-day trip around a particular region and engage their target market to join the influencer for a truly unique perspective of a group tour, with the influencer as the tour leader. This can work well because the influencer will be a great incentive for people to join the tour, and the collaboration will ensure you receive some promotion across the influencer’s channels too, which is great for customer acquisition and brand awareness.
- A tourism board could engage an influencer to do regular food tours, sightseeing tours or themed city tours, depending on their area of interest and expertise. This could be over a period of time, so that anyone travelling through Berlin (for example) during the month of February (for example) could join a walking tour with a well-known American travel influencer to really get to know the city. For best results, this collaboration should happen in peak tourist seasons and the influencer should have a good connection with the target audience you want to attract.
Send Them On A Famil Trip
A famil trip is the industry term for an “all expenses paid for media trip in exchange for promotion.” Famil trips aren’t new in the world of traditional media and travel journalism, but for influencers, it is becoming increasingly popular too, and the invites roll in left right and centre. A famil trip could be a complimentary hotel stay and travel expenses covered, or it could be a complete multi-day itinerary that is packed with “the best” of a particular location, city or region.
A famil trip is a great way to introduce a travel brand to a new audience or re-engage an old audience and ultimately increase brand awareness and conversions, whether that be ticket sales, international visitors or revenue. For example, if you want more Australians to visit New Zealand during winter, send a bunch of Australian travel influencers on a 7-day trip around the north islandto create content and share the experience with their followers.
The best thing about famil trips is that you can tailor them to your budget, strategy goals and plans, so you go start small with a couple of complimentary meals and overnight stays, or go big with a complete itinerary, flights, sightseeing trips and more.
Influencers are expert content creators, so if you need content created for or about your travel brand, influencer marketing is a great place to get the job done. Instead of hiring a freelance photographer or outsourcing copy-writing, work with an influencer to create the content you need, whether it be imagery for a new product, catalogue or service, or an eproduct to share with your community. Influencers can help make magic happen in the content creation space and you will really see their passion and creativity in the work.
In addition to getting the content you need, you’ll also likely receive, or be able to negotiate, promotion of the content through the influencer’s channels, so you can generate exposure and awareness among their audience too.
Create A Bespoke Product or Service
Another way an influencer can join your team and contribute to the growth of the brand is through a bespoke product or service offering, designed by the influencer. This type of collaboration works well in the fashion industry, where influencers are regularly engaged to design a capsule collection or work with the design team to some capacity to develop products.
The same goes in the travel industry, when an influencer can be engaged to create a bespoke product or service offering that they can then share with their followers. It’s more of a long-term collaboration process, however, it has the potential to drive big results. Some ideas to inspire this type of collaboration...
- A tour company could engage an influencer to design a travel itinerary that becomes one of the brand's regular offerings.
- A luggage brand could engage an influencer to design a new range of luggage and travel accessories that becomes available to consumers. It could be a new stylish collection for the fashion conscious, or perhaps something that is made from eco-friendly products. The more the product aligns with the influencer, the better!
- An official tourism board could engage an influencer to create a new and unique travel experience for visitors to the location.
Produce Video Content and Other Owned Media
I'll say it once and I'll say it again, influencers are (typically) the kings and queens of content creation. They know what works, they have a backlog of ideas, they're passionate and resourceful, and they're super talented. So businesses, and particularly those in the travel space, can work with influencer to produce their own library of owned media. It could be using them as actors to appear in a commercial, models in your upcoming campaign images, the host of a webinar series or for everyday content creation. This style of collaboration is great for tourism boards and big brands that work with impressive budgets and have the resources to many multiple creative projects at once.
Make Them Part Of Your Team
Influencers know digital and they have a whole range of skills to draw upon, especially influencers in the travel space. From photography, videography and multimedia content production to content writing, digital trends, social media, audience analysis and more, travel influencers have a range of skills and insider knowledge that is highly valuable to a travel brand. So instead of working with them ad a third party, bring them into your team as an advisor and draw on their expertise in the travel space.
A great example of this type of collaboration in play is Nicole Warne’s appointment as Digital Consultant for Qantas. Nicole, who is the brain behind the Gary Pepper Girl brand, has experience in a number of digital areas and, since October 2015, she has been putting her knowledge into practice for Qantas to provide creative and strategic expertise in the digital space and help shape their future innovative digital campaigns (you can read more about the partnership here).
Old School Promotional Activities
While the influencer marketing space is always evolving and new campaign ideas are coming to fruition, traditional promotional activities in the digital space still have a place in the influencer landscape. Travel brands can engage influencers to share content about a particular destination and ultimately recommend a brand, product, service or experience to their community. It’s important to keep in mind that consumers are becoming super savvy and can see through collaborations and promotional activities that are not genuine or blatantly push a sales agenda without creativity and authenticity, so keep this in mind when implementing promotional activities for your brand.
Traditional promotional activities include a sponsored blog or social media post or coverage secured via a press release with a newsworthy angle. This campaign strategy can work and is relatively easy to implement when working with a small budget or minimal resources, and is great for brand awareness and exposure, especially for a new brand.
Get Them To Review You
Speaking of traditional promotional activities, the humble product review is a great way to collaborate with an influencer on a small scale, especially when budgets are tight. By providing a sample of your product or service offering to an influencer in exchange for a product review on their platform/s, you are receiving invaluable consumer feedback and having that honest review shared with consumers who align with your brand. While in some cases, a content development fee may be required in addition to the product sample, product reviews are a fairly cost-effective means of collaborating with an influencer and they contribute to the digital conversation about your brand in a positive way.
Let Them Take Over
A fun and creative way to work with travel influencers is to allow them to "take over" one or all or your channels for a period of time, such as an "Instagram takeover." The "take over" strategy is great because it builds hype and engagement, increases followers and gives your brand great content that can be shared and repurposed on other platforms. You don't have to give the influencer complete and unrestricted access to your accounts, they could simply submit and image and caption twice a day over the "take over" period, or there could be an arrangement in place to have all content approved before it is published by the influencer if they have access to your account. of course, the logistics or the collaboration would need to be determined to suit you and the influencer involved, however it's a great idea to consider for brand awareness, content creation and general hype.
Recruit Them As An Ambassador
Many brands across a range of industries have found great success by recruiting an influencer to be an ambassador or spokesperson for the brand. It's like the celebrity endorsement of traditional media, where a brand attaches themselves to a high-profile public figure to gain traction and credibility. In the travel space, this is also a great way great brand awareness and exposure, and ultimately creates desire among consumers.
A great example of this style of collaboration in play in the travel industry is when official tourism boards work with an influencer as the official ambassador of a location, such as Australian actor Chris Hemsworth and his collaboration with Tourism Australia.
So, are you a travel brand that is ready to kick-start an influencer marketing campaign? Be inspired by one of these 10 campaign ideas and creative concepts and start finding the influencers that are the perfect fit for your brand. If you haven't already, take advantage of our 7-day free trial here and find the right influencers the smarter way.