After almost two years of lockdown, travel has finally resumed, especially now that more and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19. As a result, travel influencers are getting back on track.
When the pandemic started, the global travel industry took a big unexpected break, but travelers are slowly picking up where they left off with their travel plans as travel restrictions start loosening up. As people revisit their travel bucket lists, they get inspo from some of their most trusted sources—friends, family, and, best of all, travel influencers.
This recovery also means businesses now source the best travel influencers and content creators to collaborate with. So, we’ve got you covered whether you want to become a travel influencer or creator, know the top travel influencers, or source the best influencer for your brand.
What are travel influencers?
Influencers are everywhere today. You can see them on almost all social media platforms with different niches. But what does it mean to be a travel influencer?
Before the internet and social media rose to fame, travelers found it hard to concoct a great travel plan. The only way to get information about a place is through a guide or word of mouth. Travelers needed to go the extra mile to discover a country’s top tourist destinations and get real-time and updated information in printed guides.
Fortunately, traveling is much easier today. All thanks to the internet and social media, any relevant information on your travel destination is one click away. And it is crucial to acknowledge that travel content creators and influencers are behind a well-written travel blog, scenic travel vlog, or amazing getaway photos.
Travel influencers create quality content about anything travel-related—dream destinations, traveling tips and tricks, and favorite trips. Their primary objective is to share their experiences and encourage their followers to go on unique adventures and satisfy their souls. The most popular ones are Instagram travel influencers, but they may also be present on Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube.
A big part of a travel influencer’s career includes brand partnerships and collaborations. These influencers leverage their social media presence to promote brands’ products or services and influence their followers’ decision-making. Travel influencers mostly create sponsored posts that resonate with their followers.
Aside from sponsored posts, these influencers are also big on word-of-mouth concepts. Most of them give shout-outs and words of thanks to airlines, resorts, or restaurants for superb treatment. And many of their followers, even non-followers, take their word.
Travel influencers travel for leisure and work—talk about getting the best of both worlds!
How do you become a travel influencer?
Because of the success of many influencers, numerous people today aspire to follow in their footsteps. Generally, most of these travel influencers started with vlogging and blogging as hobbies. Then, they discovered how to monetize their content and turn it into their source of income.
While we often see them sipping martinis by the beach and eating sumptuous food, becoming an influencer takes hard work, persistence, and dedication.
If you want to be like your favorite travel influencers, you need to devote time to taking beautiful photos and videos and editing them before posting them on social media. On top of that, you will have to write blog posts and travel guides, engage with your followers and fans, develop marketing strategies, and meet brand deadlines. For inspiration, you could check out this impressive Planet D Adventure Travel Blog.
If you aim to become a travel influencer and rack up thousands of followers, here are some ways to get started:
Discover your niche.
While traveling is your primary niche and industry, there are opportunities for a crossover between different niches. Your niche can be both traveling and fashion where you can show your followers the best outfits for every destination. Or if you are a parent, your target audience can be parents who are eyeing to travel with their kids and give them the best tips to survive.
What niche crossover you want to take highly depends on your interest and expertise. This step will also determine the brands you will collaborate with or work with.
Market your brand.
As an influencer, you are your own brand. Hence, you need to learn the ins and outs of marketing yourself to land brand collaborations, partnerships, and sponsorships. Initially, you need to build the resources to reach brands, including a portfolio, press kit, and testimonials.
Additionally, you may also collaborate with other influencers to increase your exposure and reach.
If you are already a content creator or influencer with a decent number of followers and are looking to partner with interested brands, you may turn to an influencer marketing agency to get started. Learn more about this by reading our HireInfluence review.
Compare various earning opportunities.
Travel influencers make earnings or get free goods through affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and giveaways, to name a few. But how much do travel influencers make? There’s really no definite answer to this because their earnings vary depending on several factors.
According to ZipRecruiter, US travel influencers’ annual salaries may range from $23,000 to $53,500. Although, the majority of the top influencers earn $46,500 annually.
Of course, you don’t need to pursue graduate studies to become an influencer. Heck, you don’t even have to be a college graduate. However, if you want your viewers to trust you, you must establish credibility and polish your reputation. Your followers love you because you add value to their lives, and they are able to learn from your content.
So, there’s no way you put your followers down. Always strive to educate yourself in your chosen niche to give genuine and factual content.
Influencers who became stars overnight are very rare. A lot of today’s widely-known influencers started from scratch with zero viewers. Hence, you need a lot of patience and persistence as you strive for success in your influencer career.
Aside from that, it will take time for brands to notice your name and collaborate with you, especially if you are still a newbie. So, be patient and take the time to build your brand, improve in creating content, and engage with potential followers.
Brands will eventually see your worth and potential if you consistently improve your content and earn followers.
The best and most vital step in becoming a travel influencer is authenticity. Many social media users can quickly sense overly-produced or copied content. So, it pays to be authentic and to create content you truly like.
It’s crucial to focus on subjects you’re most knowledgeable and passionate about. Then, carve unique and creative content about these subjects to stand out from a pool of influencers.
Ultimately, there’s really no correct way to build a following because every influencer’s approach varies. There can only be tips and recommendations, but the best way is the way that works for you and your followers.
It is also crucial for influencers, in general, to use a content calendar and scheduler to make sure they post their content at the right time to avoid missing out on their followers. In this Dash Hudson review, you can check out one of the best social media management tools in the market.
What are the benefits of working with travel influencers?
Influencer marketing sure does have plenty of benefits. Travel influencers have the ability to shore up leads for brands and businesses, particularly hotels, airlines, and tourist boards. They are glowing TripAdvisor reviews in human form, plus the added value of their aesthetically pleasing and enticing content.
Most travelers trust the opinion of their favorite travel influencers. According to statistics, 89% of millennial travelers plan their activities based on social media content posted by their friends. Furthermore, 73% of users get vacation ideas from social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Additionally, working with travel influencers help brands connect with a wide range of audiences. And working with more than one influencer doubles or triples the number of new viewers. Viewers rely more on this organic reach rather than on paid advertising.
Working with influencers also increases the audience’s trust rate. As repeatedly mentioned in this article, viewers are more likely to believe content and recommendations from their favorite influencers than advertisements. As a result, your sales will increase because travel influencers can influence their viewers’ decision-making.
What brands pay influencers to travel?
Many brands collaborate with travel influencers. However, there are also brands that pay influencers to travel, regardless of whether these influencers are in the travel industry.
If you follow Instagram influencers, you may find most of them going on sponsored trips. That is because many brands successfully sent popular influencers on trips, resulting in more brands applying this strategy.
Here are some brands that pay influencers to travel:
Revolve is a clothing company renowned for sending some of the most popular beauty, fashion, and travel Instagram influencers on extravagant trips to beautiful destinations like Croatia, Thailand, and Bermuda. Revolve provides influencers with various activities and lavish meals, so they can have Instagrammable photos to promote the brand’s clothing and aesthetics.
The ever-luxurious Ritz Carlton currently partners with micro and macro travel influencers for further brand exposure. Consequently, younger audiences are now drawn toward the hotel. The Ritz Carlton offers sponsorships of free stays to its partner influencers.
Like Revolve, Boohoo is a fast-fashion brand known for working with travel influencers often. One of the brand’s successful campaigns saw it sending tons of popular influencers to a high-end resort in Mexico. During the trip, influencers took shots to promote the brand’s swimwear collection for their spring break campaign. Boohoo featured the influencers in multiple lookbooks.
Benefit Cosmetics is a famous beauty brand that gave a group of British influencers a trip to a beautiful resort in the Maldives, while it sent another group of US influencers to a luxury resort in Utah. The brand’s influencer marketing strategy was effective in launching its mascara lines and increasing brand awareness across social media.
Tarte is another cosmetics line that has taken YouTube and Instagram influencers to beautiful places like Bora Bora, Kauai, and Turks and Caicos. Tarte took the influencers to engage in different fun activities, such as zip-lining, snorkeling, and a whole lot of boat rides. The brand asks the influencers to use #trippinwithtarte on their posted content to make the strategy more popular.
Learn a thing or two from travel influencers
Becoming a travel influencer, or an influencer in general, is no easy thing. Unless you can afford to hire personal editors and other employees, you have to do everything by yourself. Therefore, becoming an influencer takes effort, passion, and persistence. Everybody starts small, but with the right approach and attitude, you can become a certified influencer who is able to score brand partnerships.
Now that you know what travel influencers are and what it takes to become one, you might want to supplement your knowledge by reading this “How to Become An Influencer: 5 Easy Steps” article.