Promoting your destination and highlighting the fantastic choice of activities or services available is essential when it comes to raising awareness, increasing footfall and generating revenue. While social media, search engine optimisation (SEO), media relations and advertising can really help spark an interest in visiting your attraction or location, there’s an another highly effective way promote your destination with its target audiences.
Working with travel influencers can drive exposure of your destination or attraction and create a buzz around your offering. As research has found that 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising, it’s time to get more creative with your destination marketing by building relationships with travel influencers.
In the digital world, bloggers, vloggers and social influencers are a more powerful marketing tool than ever before and can be a fantastic way for brands to target those who are looking to swap the daily grind for a spot of rest and relaxation, or for those looking for their next family day out.
55% of people take just one or two holidays a year so they put a lot of thought and research into planning their trips before splashing the cash. Equally, with 52 weeks in the year – there’s plenty of weekends to get people to come and visit your attraction or leisure destination for shorter breaks so it’s vital to make use of influencers to tap into these opportunities.
Recent studies have found that many prefer to check online recommendations from those that have already visited the destination. Unsurprisingly, it is third party reviews which hold the most credibility as, while nine out of ten travellers feel that reading online reviews is important, almost half of travellers (45%) don’t trust reviews on tour operators own sites - while 95% of travellers trust reviews on third party sites.
How to identify key influencers for your destination
Before you start firing off invitations to every blogger, vlogger and social influencer you can find, you need to make sure they are the right fit for your brand – in almost all cases, relevance is more desirable than reach.
Your chosen influencer might have an excellent reputation and thousands of followers but, if the people you’re looking to attract aren’t reading that blog it’s best to look elsewhere. The best influencer for your brand will be the person with the ability to influence your ideal visitors to take action. The key is to get into the minds of your target audience and discover where it is they go for information, the people they follow on Instagram, or the blogs they go back to time and time again.
By identifying and collaborating with influencers who are relevant to your audience and your brand, you’re likely to see genuine and authentic content which reflects not just how you see your brand but how potential visitors see and interact with it.
Influencers are often keen to ensure that any content they’re publishing is in line with their own native content as they respect that their audiences expect certain topics or content to be covered, so this needs to be considered too. The partnership needs to be a good fit for the blogger or influencer, as well as for your brand.
How influencer marketing works
With influencer marketing, there’s often an exchange of goods or services. A destination marketing organisation may offer an overnight stay at a hotel, vouchers for the local shopping centre and a meal for the influencer and their partner. A visitor attraction may offer free entry and a VIP experience with a guided tour, or free cake and coffee. There may also be opportunities to partner with influencers for paid-for sponsored content.
Whatever is offered in exchange for a review, both influencers and marketers should know and understand that the review or content should remain as authentic as possible to give confidence to potential visitors and supporting the influencer’s ability to remain independent and trustworthy (which is the whole point of working with them). It is always worth recommending a disclaimer is used by the influencer in reference to their relationship with your brand to ensure any content remains as credible as possible.
Here at r//evolution marketing, many of our destination marketing clients are seeing real value in collaborating with influential bloggers, vloggers and social influencers.
If you’d like to find out more about working with us and our extensive network of bloggers and digital influencers, please get in touch.