The world is beginning to return to some sort of normality and no industry could be more relieved or cautious about re-opening its doors than the hospitality industry.
As the travel and hospitality industry begins to ramp up its marketing activity in response to Covid-19, what role can influencer marketing play and how will things have changed from before?
In our latest report, we conducted interviews with four full-time travel influencers for tips on how travel marketing and storytelling needs to change: the very cool and colourful @bei.bei.wei, Italian and honorary Brit @dr_difilippo, Italian creative @sarah___bianchi and @aureliestory who produces some seriously well curated travel goodness.
Travel influencers are not only well equipped to know what people want to see, but they also have a unique understanding of what brands need to do to reassure their guests.
Content creation from home
All the influencers we spoke to experienced fewer communications with brands during lockdown. However, for some this provided an opportunity to find new ways to collaborate with hospitality brands:
“Some of my collaborations have been cancelled, others postponed, but I was also approached more than usual because brands could less easily create content by themselves.”
Influencers are already set up to work from home/remotely, and can produce high quality content without large production budgets. In fact, a recent study by marketing agency found that there is a 50% reduction in creative costs on average when working with influencers in place of a production studio.’
This is a trend that’s now taking shape across many verticals - not just travel and hospitality. Indeed, if you take a look at ASOS and other fashion brands you can see that the move to ‘at home’ content production has grown.
Building trust around the ‘new normal’
We’ve established that working with influencers can help to reduce content creation costs, but how can this content stand out from the noise?
During lockdown, more people turned to social media as a form of escapism. This has provided influencers with an opportunity to hone in on their niche and publish authentic content their audience can relate to from the comfort of their home.
“I think nowadays the contents the public most appreciate is honest and genuine. No heavy filters, no built images of unreal places edited adding baroque settings... just transparency and value.”
A recent report by the Influencer Marketing Hub found that ‘influencer produced content can drive as much as 68% more purchase intent than content produced by brands.' By working with influencers brands have the opportunity to reach audiences exploring social media and connect with them in an authentic and meaningful way.
Rebuilding for the long-term
With the majority of us not likely to book a trip abroad until next year (The Future of Travel report) the trend for staycations and domestic holidays will be around for some time. Many are now curious about where they can visit more locally. In the short-term safety is obviously the main priority, but with an ever growing concern for brand values, influencers are suggesting that sustainability and brand activism will be the big differentiator in the long-term.
Genuine partnerships are more important than ever
There has been a lot of publicity in the media questioning whether influencers are being honest with their audience regarding the nature of their collaborations with other brands. This as a result has made it more likely that audiences will question contrived storytelling and advertising.
Influencers, as well as brands, are feeling the pressure to create genuine, quality content. The need for long-term authentic relationships with brands, over the one-off gifting approach is a sentiment felt by influencers.
"My audience is looking for much more authentic content than previously. They want to see influencers who travel or choose brand partnerships for genuine reasons, not just money. Also with the Black Lives Matter movement, I think my audience wants to see influencers hold their brand partnerships to account.”
Currently fantasising about Nutella in all forms - please send help! 🙏🏻😭 . ad/invite Wishing I had a time machine to take me back to those bombolonis in the bottom right corner 🍩🍩🍩 . Sharing this spread with @the_lazyfoodie @linastores Kings Cross 💗 — . . #seekinspirecreate #prettycitylondon #timeoutlondon #darlingmovement #instapassport #alittlebeautyeveryday #secretlondon #prettylittlelondon #lovegreatbritain #shotoniphone #thisislondon #bbcbritain #cntraveler #visitlondon #forahappymoment #livemoremagic #thatauthenticfeeling #ongooglemaps #tlpicks #wheretofindme #forbestravelguide #anthropologie #hellofrom #coffeeshopcorners #toplondoneats #flatlayforever #coffeeshopvibes #coffeeshopsoftheworld #seekthesimplicity
Changing landscape of travel
With the majority of us not likely to book a trip abroad until next year (The Future of Travel report) the trend for staycations and domestic holidays will be around for some time. Many are now curious about what they can visit locally, so travel/hospitality brands have the opportunity to tap into this and work with local influencers to showcase to people what’s on their doorstep.
“Our audience is reacting well to photos of places they they miss most. I think before the pandemic people were dying to see new things, now they realise how much they have missed what they gave for granted before.”
When you can’t have afternoon tea at @thedorchester restaurant and the afternoon tea comes to you! ☕️ In honour of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, The Dorchester has created these beautiful make it your self hampers so you can enjoy a pretty afternoon tea from home from May 18th until the end of June, perfect if like us you miss scones and finger sandwiches ✨💐 It even comes with a little bottle of Veuve Cliquot! 🥂 #gifted #happyfriday #afternoontea #dccollection #prettylittlelondon
Three reasons why you need to work with influencers now
Opportunity to align values with influencers
With more and more consumers looking to buy from brands that demonstrate real purpose, connecting with influencers who want to work with you for genuine reasons will help your brand to demonstrate its values beyond social-distancing.
Influencers are agile
Many influencers are one-person content production houses that are able to work anywhere and produce content that is more compelling than professional photographers/videoographers.
Influencers can quickly reach target audiences
Speed of communication is one of the most important factors at play here. Because influencers have a more specialised audience, they can cut through more quickly to the heart of your target group. And because influencers know their audience well, they can suss out what kind of content their followers really want to see, and offer insight into what channels they are using.
Influencers not only produce compelling content, they also produce this content more efficiently. Ultimately, working with influencers is a great way to cut down your content production costs.
Good influencer-brand relationships are partnerships where both sides work together for the influencer to get to know the product, build an authentic story and create content that audiences genuinely engage with. A one size fits all approach for every influencer will not maximise performance across each account.”
For more insights from our influencers and the top reasons why brands need to work with influencers now, download the ‘How Influencer Marketing For Travel Will Change Report in full.
It’s a new world out there and we can find a way to navigate it together
Feel free to reach out to us if there’s anything you need help with.