A DMO’s Guide to Understanding Travel Influencers

A DMO's Guide to Understanding Travel Influencers

You didn’t really go on vacation if you didn’t post a picture of it on Instagram, right?

Your social media posts about your latest trip are doing more than inducing FOMO in all of your friends – they’re starting to inspire and influence the travel decisions of others. And since we all know that consumers trust recommendations from people over branded content, it makes sense that destinations are turning to travel influencers to help promote their assets.

Working with influencers may seem like uncharted territory, so I’ve provided some tips to help you get started.

what is a travel influencer

First things first, what is a travel influencer? 

An individual who creates appealing content (blogs, videos, photos, etc.) that shows off destinations, dining and experiences, and shares it on various social media platforms in an authentic way.

Depending on the person, they may also identify themselves as a blogger, consultant, content creator, producer or travel personality, among others.

What to consider when working with travel influencers

What to consider when working with travel influencers?

Tone. Skim their social media accounts to see how they speak in both sponsored and non-sponsored posts. Pay attention to how they describe other destinations and ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Are they relatively positive?
  2. Does their overall style and tone mesh with your brand?
  3. Would you want this person showing off your destination? They would be representing you, so make sure they would do it well.

Quality over quantity. Don’t get stuck on the number of followers they have. Instead, look to see how many people are engaging with their posts, and if the influencer is responding to questions and comments. Look at who their audience is, and see if it matches your target audience. Smaller influencers with high engagement levels that fit your niche will be more beneficial to you than an influencer with a broad following, but little engagement.

Compensation. Are they looking for financial assistance? This may range from covering meals, accommodations or travel, to paying for a certain number of posts. Find out what they will deliver and if you will get the rights to the content, then consider if their ask seems reasonable. Remember, they’re providing a service and value for your destination. Think about the price tag you usually put on content creation.

Tips to working with travel influencers

Tips to working with travel influencers

Set expectations. This is important for both sides of the equation. Before partnering with influencers, find out what they are expecting from you and your destination before, during and after their visit. Make sure they are interested in the assets and activities your destination has to offer before committing to a trip.

Help them help you. Find out what they need from you. Do they want you to plan an itinerary with scheduled stops? Or do they want a list of suggested stops that they’ll visit in their own time and order? Provide additional information to help them craft their posts with interesting (and accurate!) facts.

Open understanding. Although social media may just be a hobby for you, it is part of a travel influencer’s job. Understand and respect how much time goes into crafting quality content. That may mean that they’ll need downtime during their visit to develop posts, so ask them about their work schedule before developing an itinerary.

Develop a story. Choose stops that fit the overall feel of their social pages. Posts won’t seem genuine if they don’t fit. Find an angle and tailor their trip. Whenever possible, provide VIP experiences that provide an insiders feel or give them access to the best views.

Amplify the message. If an influencer is creating great content, make sure to share it! By promoting or engaging with their post, you’re furthering the message and reach. And you’re providing an easy way for their followers to find (and follow!) your destination’s account.

But don’t stop the support once they leave. A travel influencer is more likely to become a long-term advocate if you continue to engage with them even after their visit.

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