Have Travel Influencers Lost Their Influence?

Where they were once an important part of the influencer game, travel influencer content has become closer to that of a celebrity rather than your everyday mid and micro level influencers. And we all know the ineffectiveness of celebrity influencers. Sure, they have the reach and the engagement. But is that really all you need to connect with an audience?

Travel bloggers are celebrities for Generation Y. They live a life that a lot of people want, but only a small minority could ever relate to. For instance, take that recent article by the New York Post that stated a “gramworthy” vacation costs 60 times more than the average American’s vacation. So their pages may be aesthetically pleasing, but their lives are far from realistic. But it’s easy for travel brands to get sucked into the world of travel bloggers on Instagram, especially when accounts like muradosmann have millions of followers and strong engagement. And you’ve been told that those are the two main ingredients for successful influencer marketing, right? Wrong. It is important to understand why people follow them and why they engage with their content. What good is that engagement when the influencer or the brand they’re sponsoring is so disconnected from their audience?

 

Aspirational, or Qualified Engagement?

Recently we had a chance to work with a travel brand that was seeking to partner with a huge travel blogger on Instagram. However, using our platform, we looked deeper into his followers only to find that they didn’t follow him because they also traveled the world everyday. They followed him so they could scroll through beautiful pictures as an escape while they sat at work. Their audience follows them because of an aspiration for travel rather than genuine interest. They aren’t liking these photos because they were considering purchasing that Mercedes G-Class or staying in that hotel in Dubai. It is a fantasy to them, a dream, pure wanderlust. All those Likes feel good but don’t translate to your real goal of driving revenue.

So what is that missing piece that helps drive sales? Why do we trust influencers with what beauty brands to purchase in the summer or the best recipes to cook during the holidays? Relatability is key. Unlike brands, influencers have a face and a personality, and they need to feel like somebody we know; a neighbor, a sibling, or the person we always see at the local coffee shop. They can be any age, live in any town, and be an expert in just about anything. They are just like us (only with a few hundred thousand more followers), but for the most part, their lives are pretty attainable. This idea that we could realistically live like them, and have what they have, is what made influencer marketing so effective to begin with.

Focus on the Audience

What is the solution? Travel brands still should be tapping into influencer marketing, but they need to focus on audience rather than the influencers themselves. Using everyday influencers could be the fix to reaching people for travel. Who knows where your audience might be hiding? Mommy bloggers are perfect to recommend the latest CALPAK luggage for a quick family vacation. Millennial influencers can show their young audience how to do a fun spring break on a college budget using Airbnb. Maybe a mid level lifestyle blogger is taking her annual vacation and can recommend the best flight and hotel deals through Expedia. Their audience trusts them and follows them because of shared interests and relatability. And don’t get me wrong, there are great travel influencers out there with trusted audiences, but I can guarantee their pages don’t quite look like the Jay Alvarrezs of Instagram.

Bottom line, people follow others on social media for many reasons, but they trust those who reflect their own personalities and interests. They need someone to relate to, which is why  it is so important to dive deep into the influencer’s followers to learn if they have the right audience for your brand or campaign. Relying on simple reach and beautiful pictures has gone the way of MySpace.

 

About MATTR

MATTR is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.

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