The marketing industry is prone to changes due to a number of external factors. Along with it, novel methods of communication and delivery of brand services over the internet are also making their entry into the fray. One of the newest forms of online marketing is ‘influencer marketing’, which is proving to be a very effective model for the travel and tourism sector. It is becoming one of the most cost-effective techniques to acquire fresh clients and at the same time establish brand awareness.
Keep on reading this Pathfndr article to know more about influencer marketing and how one can make partnerships with social media influencers in a handful of simple steps.
What Does ‘Influencer Marketing’ Mean?
Influencer marketing is a type of online marketing that has witnessed a steady rise in use and popularity in the last ten-odd years. Observers have commented that it is in essence a mixture of traditional and latest marketing tools.
Here, the involvement of celebrities is taken into account while pushing a brand in the market. These celebrities and famous people have a huge following on social media, and hence their star power is utilised to promote a particular product.
The influencers generally work for one industry, such as the fashion industry, health and fitness, entertainment, lifestyle and travel, and the like, based on the expertise and coverage they have control over.
These so-called ‘influencers’ are able to get to this point only after investing a lot of their time and energy in building a community of dedicated followers on the social media space. And once they are able to make a name for themselves, they get the chance to tie up with major companies to promote their brands.
Let us say there is someone who has been a travel influencer for a while and has successfully gathered a large number of followers on a platform such as Instagram. Leading travel outfits would then very likely be interested in working with that person to promote themselves.
There are travel influencers active in India who use their sway over their followers to inspire people to travel and explore the world. One such travel influencer is Shivya Nath, who has already authored a book on travel titled ‘The Shooting Star’.
She loves to go around places by herself and believes that the best travel experiences are borne out of local experiences across the planet. She has been contacted by globally recognisable brands like BBC, NatGeo, and TLC for shooting projects. To know more about Shivya Nath, and how she quit her corporate life to find meaning and purpose in travel, find her profile on Instagram.
Due to the rise of social media and its commanding sway over a huge chunk of the global populace, influencer marketing is gaining more and more legitimacy in the eyes of a variety of companies. These companies are reaching out to influencers in order to collaborate, engage and sign them on to sponsored campaigns.
According to an online survey conducted by Twitter, it has been marked out that more than 40 percent of all consumers prefer to purchase products and services that are promoted by their favourite influencers. Not just Instagram, these days a host of other social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Vine, Amazon, and YouTube, join hands with influencers to market their products and services.
How Viable is it to Join Forces with Influencers?
We have already noted that influencer marketing is one of the most dynamic marketing tools to have emerged in the last decade. If you are the head of a travel and tourism company, then you will do your agency a great service by marking out a part of your annual budget to be used in the direction of influencer marketing. Being partners with social media influencers can bring enormous benefits to your travel agency in myriad ways.
By bringing a certain influencer under your fold, you would gain access to a wide pool of new potential clients. That is to say, your network coverage will increase manifold overnight once an influencer agrees to let you engage with their followers directly. Influencer marketing will enable you to see an increase in the number of bookings on your travel website, as the followers of your in-house influencer would more often than not sign up with your company for their respective travel needs.
When you have access to the followers of the influencers, you will inadvertently be equipped with the means to interact with them directly, and not through middlemen or agents. Once your travel outfit has brought a bunch of influencers under its fold, you will witness a spurt in the popularity of your enterprise thanks to word-of-mouth referrals.
Perhaps what works best for influencer marketing is the personal touch it brings to the entire exercise of interaction with an audience. We saw during the pandemic phase, how well influencers were still able to maintain communication with their followers, despite the negative impacts the lockdowns brought on the travel sector.
It is this element of intimacy that influencers share with their followers that works wonders when the former ventures into a commercial role. It is no wonder then why so many big companies hire influencers to act as ambassadors for their services.
How Should You Collaborate with Influencers?
It is quite normal to think now about the steps you should take to get the best out of your investment in influential marketing. In the following section, we have discussed in three separate points the methods you can apply to grow your travel agency using influencer marketing.
Prepare a Budget for Influencer Marketing
First of all, you need to have a clear-cut plan on how much time and money you are willing to invest in influential marketing for the benefit of your business. Getting an idea of how much money you should keep aside will depend on the kind of influencer you are planning to recruit to your cause.
If you have your eyes set on someone with a huge following, that will result in shelling out more money than the rest. A lesser-known influencer will naturally charge a little less for the services given to your company. On average, Facebook influencers tend to charge more than Instagram influencers.
Set Short-Term Goals from Influencer Marketing
As per an influencer marketing benchmark report, almost 70 per cent of responders are inclined toward working with influencers on a campaign-to-campaign basis. This is mainly because it has been reported several times that long-term link-ups with influencers do not necessarily yield favourable results.
So, based on the budget that you have, you can invite an influencer to work for you to promote your services in a single campaign.
Identify the Correct Influencer for your travel business
Perhaps the most difficult task at hand for a travel company interested in going down the lane of influential marketing is finding the right person to do their job. When you look at social media, you will find an increasing number of influencers involved in great work across varied sectors.
Choosing the perfect influencer for your travel agency and then making the decision to approach them can be a very daunting task. You will never be completely sure whether you have made the right choice or not. One of the safe options would be to first prepare a list of the influencers that you have spotted from the social media platforms as your go-to personnel.
Once you have a clear picture of who you would be willing to have a discussion with regard to the targets you have set for your company, then you can take a much better call about the influencer you will come down to out of the selected few.
One of the ways you can look for ideal influencers for your company is via ‘Influence.co’. On this site, you will be able to search influencers by locking in details about your industry, location, preferences, and the like. The moment the search engine gives you a list of matches, you can decide who you are going to connect to.
Final Thoughts about Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is one of the most engaging and genuine methods to promote a travel and tourism company. That is because it has the potential to provide interested parties with a proper view of the services that you have in store for them. This would automatically inspire them to take the next step and avail of your travel services.
However, what works even better with influencer marketing is the additional benefits a travel outfit accrues out of a fruitful relationship with an influencer. Once the partnership runs out its course, you will be left with a grand collection of travel content in the form of stunning photos and videos. These can be easily utilised at a later date for promotional tasks after some retouching and rebranding.
Therefore, in case you are thinking about taking your travel and tourism agency to the next level, we believe it is time you seriously consider looking into influential marketing as your next destination.
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