The marketing industry is constantly evolving and so are new, better ways of communicating and delivering your brand online. One of them, influencer marketing, has proved to be a successful model, particularly effective for travel and tourism businesses. It comes under the spotlight of this post as one of the most cost-effective methods for customer acquisition and building brand awareness.
Read on to learn more about influencer marketing and how to successfully partner with influencers in 3 easy steps!
Ready? Let’s go!
What is influencer marketing?
Even if you haven’t come across the term before, you probably already know what it’s all about.
Influencer marketing is a form of online marketing that has been rapidly growing during the past decade. Some describe it as a hybrid of old and new marketing tools where celebrity endorsement is utilized in the contemporary marketing mix. The main difference being that celebrities in the modern context are actual individuals who have dedicated social followers and are called influencers.
Based on their network and expertise, influencers usually serve one industry. For example, food and entertainment, healthcare, fashion and beauty, travel and lifestyle, etc. After spending a few months or years building a community of loyal followers, they often have the chance to work with brands representing other industries and sectors.
Let’s say you’ve been a travel influencer for a while. Once you become established you are likely to get proposals from a wide variety of companies. You can be invited to promote swimwear, a local gym, perhaps a book or event.
Anyway, our point is that as social media becomes integral to our lives, trust in influencers is growing significantly. Many see them as reliable experts, and what’s more, after years of following the relationship between user and influencer goes even further. A study shows that the intimacy and emotional intensity of this unique communication make us feel like friends.
As a result of this and also the rise of social media in general, influencer marketing is gaining increasing attention as a marketing tool. You’ve probably seen a ton of sponsored campaigns, giveaways, and collaborations on your Instagram feed. The truth is that companies reach out to influencers more and more often because of the genuine engagement they get. According to The State of Influencer Marketing 2020 Benchmark Report, the majority of people believe that influencer marketing is effective. Another research by Twitter shows that consumers not only seek product recommendations, but 40% of them actually had purchased something after seeing it used by an influencer.
And lastly, if you associate influencer marketing with Instagram, remember that it’s not the only social platform where it can happen. TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Amazon, are some of the other major channels where collaboration and sponsored promotion happen all the time.
Should you partner with influencers?
As we explored how influencer marketing is steadily taking over social platforms, dedicating part of your budget to it is definitely worth it.
Partnering with influencers can be beneficial to your tour and activity business in many ways.
Firstly, they can help you grow your own network of followers from all over the world. Perhaps, you might get on other travelers’ to-do lists when they visit your country.
Influencer marketing is also good for increasing sales and in-person interaction. A good collaboration is likely to attract more inquiries from local followers. Even if you are a relatively new or small business, it can give you a kick by spreading the word about you.
And despite the outbreak of Coronavirus which undoubtedly affected the travel and lifestyle sectors, relevant influencers are still finding ways to inspire and talk to their audiences.
What’s more, some travel and lifestyle influencers serve as ambassadors who pitch services and maintain a relationship with new and potential clients.
How to work with influencers to grow your tour & activity sales
Now you might wonder how influencer marketing can work for your tour and activity business. Since there is no straightforward answer to this question, here are 3 easy steps to follow for ultimate success.
1. Set a budget
Many leisure, travel, and activity businesses have a set budget for influencer marketing. So those of you who plan to give it a try need to allocate some funds for it too.
The cost of working with influencers depends on many factors. The number of their followers and engagement rate is of course the main one. As their audience grows, influencers have a wider reach and thus can charge more. Specific rates apply for set ranges like 0-1000 followers, 1000 -10 000 followers, 10 000 – 50 000, and so on.
Still, the cost varies across different platforms. On average, Facebook influencers charge about $25 per 1000 followers while Instagram ones come cheaper at $10.
Other factors that affect the pricing are the type of post you agree to. Is it an image, video, or perhaps hosting a giveaway? How well does it fit with the influencer’s channel? Who supplies the featured content and imagery?
There are thousands of travel influencers out there so finding the right ones can take a while. Knowing how much you can afford will not only ease your search but also help you plan the right kind of strategy going forward.
2. Plan your campaign
The Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report shows that 68% of people prefer their influencer marketing to be campaign-based rather than a long-term relationship which could be more restraining.
There are various influencer marketing campaigns you can launch based on your budget and goals. We’ve done your research and here are the best options for tour and activity companies.
This type of collaboration is particularly good for businesses that want to work on their brand awareness and customer acquisition. You will be paying influencers to create content featuring your brand and share it on their story or feed.
For this purpose, you will need to invite them to try your activity or services for free. This will give them the necessary insight to openly speak about your brand and promote it. Additionally, you will have quality content to re-post and highlight on your feed and stories.
Brand rep program
Depending on your budget, you can arrange a one-off or regular collaboration with the influencer. The second option means they have a permanent discount for your services but will feature you in stories or posts more than once. You can arrange a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule, or even just set the number of posts for the duration of the campaign.
This kind of collaboration is particularly appropriate for businesses that want to give their sales a boost and also build a relationship with their online audience.
This option usually comes cheaper and is easier to arrange with influencers who have a smaller number of followers. How does it work? You let them try and experience your products or services and then they share their impressions online with the audience.
Some of them would try out a few times before they recommend you to other people. What’s more, you have no guarantee that the review will be positive so need to be extra careful with this option.
This is a type of contest where influencers giveaway your products to randomly selected users who satisfy certain criteria. This could be following your account, commenting on a post, using your brand hashtag, or anything else that can get you closer to your goals.
This way, in addition to increasing your network of followers, you get access to great user-generated content that can be re-shared online.
3. Find the right influencer
Social media is used by a wide variety of people with many different backgrounds. From political leaders, through celebrities and popular brands, to ordinary people, influencers are diverse. Of course, not all of them can promote your brand but still, it is not easy to cut the list down and approach the right ones.
If you already know a travel influencer who visits your area, you are lucky! Most people don’t. So need to go to the platform you want to run your campaign on and start searching. You can use a relevant hashtag like #sponsored and #promotion to find the ones who do collaborations. Searching by location hashtag is also a good idea. For those of you who haven’t got the time, there are external platforms where you can search by desired criteria. Influence.co is a good example where you can perform custom searches by industry, location, and follower count.
Once you’ve shortlisted about 10-20 potential accounts, there are many ways to reach out to the influencers behind them. You can either contact them directly or through the agency that represents them – it will often be mentioned in the Bio.
Lastly, be alert for frauds as they are quite common. Influencer fraud is increasing and so is the concern among businesses. Many people have already experienced it so you need to check the account thoroughly before agreeing to pay anything. Check the ratio between followers count and actual likes and comments. Scroll through the followers and see whether the majority of accounts are authentic. You can also use this free Instagram Audit tool to spot fake profiles.
Influencer marketing in action
Now to see influencer marketing in action, here are two great examples of ongoing and one-off collaborations.
Cavotagoosantorini is a luxury hotel in Santorini, Greece. They have an impressive 267K followers which have been gained through outstanding content and imagery. So what is the secret? The hotel relies on travel influencers who feature it in great posts and stories. All services provided in the hotel like Spa procedures, world-class cuisine, sunset view, pool beds, and more, are beautifully presented by hundreds of influencers who visit the destination.
While Instagram is amazing for hotels, restaurants, and luxury resorts, when it comes to experiences and tours nothing works better than a good YouTube video.
Funk Bros are 2 brothers with over 6 million followers on YouTube. They are doing various challenges, experiments, tricks, and crazy adventures. These often involve visiting theme parks, water attractions, trampoline parks, and other challenging activities.
In their YouTube collabs playlist, you can explore the wide variety of places and activities they visit and feature. This is definitely among the best ways to show people out there the exciting things you offer and of course attract more visitors to try them out.
We believe influencer marketing is among the most authentic and engaging ways of promoting your tours and activities online. It will give people an actual glimpse into the experience and help you genuinely attract them to try out what you offer.
But what we love most about influencer marketing is that you get out of it even more than you expect. At the end of the collaboration, you usually have some fascinating photos, videos, and copy that you can repost and feature in other promotional materials.
So if you’re looking for that extra push in your recovery, maybe it’s time to consider influencer marketing as your next big channel?
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