Guest Post: Tapping into travel influencers’ experiences

Guest Post: Tapping into travel influencers’ experiences

The challenge is to identify right suitor for your brand, says Joel Davis of agency:2

The challenge is to identify right suitor for your brand, says Joel Davis of agency:2

When the bucketlist family post a new update they are pretty certain to capture a good percentage of their 1.7 million Instagram followers and 660K You Tube subscribers. Their passion for travelling ‘en famille’, meshed with highly visual posts puts them high up the list of travel influencers.

Australian Keira Rumble on the other hand combines nutritional food tips and cookery with her travel posts, and Slovanian Sanya Bambam fuses fashion and style with travel.

There is no doubt that the travel industry seems to be a natural fit for influencer marketing. It lends itself well to breathtaking images and videos and is a perfect draw card for anyone browsing the internet for travel inspiration.

Gone are the days when holiday brochures were poured over. Millennials in particular are much more likely to be drawn to where their favourite influencers are holidaying.

According to statistics, up to 82% of travellers follow travel blogs or travel and lifestyle influencers on social media, and as growing numbers of people are jumping on the travel-influencer band wagon, marketers in the travel sector are increasingly tapping into the largest crowdsourcing of human opinion in history.

Now the new challenge is to identify the best influencer to suit their brand.

Picking the right destination is fuelled by so many different factors. Personalised travel has become ‘de rigueur’. Those keen on glamping won’t automatically be drawn to hand-crafted luxury.  Solo-adventure tours are not likely to engage with backpackers, finding the right influencer for a given travel brand has involved, until recently, a fair degree of guess work.

New generation Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to change this in a number of ways.

Travel marketers now have the tools to go beyond demographics and social reach as they leverage AI and the science of social to find the highest quality matches between a given travel brand and the most relevant influencer.

AI can now be used to measure sentiment and emotion and find the deeper connections that influencers naturally exhibit when creating their content.

By analysing millions of images and videos online in a matter of seconds AI can help marketers identify those with pre-determined characteristics, all at scale. This goes beyond ‘merely’ identifying relevant social influencers, as marketers can now tap into when and how their audience posts images that are related to their brand.

For example, if an influencer posts about Curacao which gets shared millions of times by their followers and other influencers, these posts can be tracked by the brand.

Furthermore, AI can define when people are likely to experience an increase or a decrease in their influence and adjust incentives accordingly.

AI is also being used to eliminate spam bots and filter out fake and toxic engagement, thereby helping brands determine real engagement metrics such as the number of likes their influencers get per post or the number of followers they have gained.

As it sifts through past performance data AI can assess what types of brands influencers have been associated with previously, and which influencers continuously drive high, qualified engagement around particular products or content.

By tracking the type of content and domains an influencer shares most travel marketers can finally take a scientific and scalable approach to influencer marketing that is based on predictive behavioural data rather than ‘claimed responses’ that come from syndicated studies.

The quantifiable results AI offer now have the potential to make influencer marketing programs highly effective. However,  those who  genuinely wish to get closer to their audiences need to ensure they infuse the influencer ecosystem with transparency to empower consumers to decide for themselves how they journey into this new era of communication.

After all pure marketing campaigns are now often seen merely as a sales boost. We live in an era where a brand is, generally, only trusted once third party creators affirm it delivers what it promises. As a consequence it makes perfect sense that consumers are more inclined to value authentic, organic content created by someone they engage with. Now, finding that relevant person has become a much simpler exercise.