June 20, 2023 / Thought Leadership

How Influencers Are Changing the Game in Tourism Marketing

Skye Stewart, Public Relations & Social Media Supervisor

According to a recent 2023 Travel Trends Report released by Hopper, travelers have significantly changed the way they’ve booked their trips in the “post-pandemic” world and it’s expected that they will be booking more last-minute travel than ever. Stemming from that, Hopper’s report has also found that travelers are more flexible when it comes time to book a vacation, and they are willing to go just about anywhere as long as a great deal is involved. So, how are they learning about these destinations? Today, millennials and Gen-Zers are primarily using social media to discover destinations and influencers are playing a key role in that.

Let’s dive into how and why influencers are game-changers for tourism boards and travel organizations by helping them drive awareness of their destination’s unique offerings.

Helping Consumers Uncover a New Destination Through a Unique Lens

By partnering with influencers and subject matter experts that align with your mission and goals, you’re offering potential travelers a firsthand look into what your destination offers before they book their tickets. During a time when cost concerns are prevalent, partnering with influencers who can showcase convenience and accessibility is important. Not only can they highlight activities, hotels, and restaurants in your destination, but they can also share how safe and comfortable they feel there. In addition to itinerary ideas and cost-saving opportunities, these are important items that help to create an experience they’ll enjoy–which forms a domino effect as they recommend their trip to others and share about it on social media.

Influencers Provide a Humanized Look Into Travel That’s Organic and Real

At the end of the day, we’re all guilty of a little (or a lot) of mindless social media scrolling, and let’s face it–entertaining travel and lifestyle content are some of our favorites. Consuming real-time footage of someone else’s trip on social media is much more personal than checking out a brand’s website, for example. Content that’s posted by influencers offers a real and unique perspective that you might not find anywhere else as you look to make your travel decisions. Posting in real-time also showcases more raw content that resembles what an average person’s trip may look like–allowing travelers to truly step into someone else’s shoes and picture themselves there.

As Travel Trends Change, so Does Your Destination’s Story

While we see travel habits fluctuate due to the world we live in, destinations can work with influencers to test the waters. In particular, influencers can help bring trends to life quickly and efficiently as a component of an entire ad campaign. For example, we know that wellness vacations are trending in 2023. With that in mind, what does your destination offer that can help someone rejuvenate and unwind? Whether it’s an itinerary curated with salt spas and massages or activities that help you spend time in the great outdoors, partnering with a niche influencer who values wellness and self-care can help highlight your destination’s story through a lens that ultimately provides a more personalized touch and experience.

Driving Positive Sentiment in an Authentic Way

Through influencer partnerships, not only are you raising awareness in general of your destination, but you’re also helping to build trust among your target audience by driving positive sentiment authentically. While potential travelers can see beautiful content captured by an influencer, they are also hearing honest opinions and reviews directly from someone who’s been there and experienced it. You can’t get any more candid than that!

While these are just a few of the benefits your destination can get by partnering with influencers, there are so many more. These are just the tip of the iceberg! To take it a step further, you might even consider providing your influencer partners with special deals or discount codes to offer their followers as a way to successfully turn wanderlust into actual travel. In the end, we’re all influenced by others’ recommendations whether we mean to be or not! Use that to your advantage and the possibilities are endless.

Want to learn more about our influencer marketing experience at Connelly Partners? Click here.

Image courtesy of Rio Travelers