Is travel Influencer-Inspired? 🤔
900million peeps took international trips ✈️
The world didn't travel this way.
Influencers and traveling for the 'gram have exponentially changed how we travel or perceive travel. The UN Agency for Tourism states around 900M tourists took international trips in 2022 alone.
Can you believe that number? 🤯
While we notice content like 'How I quit my job to travel the world' or 'Why I travel like a nomad' — it's not what inspire(d) us to travel.
For most of us, the urge to travel started with Murad Osmann's content. His signature pictures featuring his wife Nataly Osmann's arm with the hashtag #followmeto have created a cult-like following on the internet. Murad is still one of the most-followed influencers, and the Osmann couple have inspired many couples to choose travel influencing as a way of life.
That brings us to the conversation: Are travel influencers fuelling the travel industry?
Is Travel Now Influencer-Driven?
I asked Shannon Marie, a digital nomad and content creator, how she feels about social media-inspired travel. She says, "Thanks to social media, travel today is more accessible than ever. With the rise of influencers and today's content creators, anyone can get a glimpse of people, places, and cultures around the world from the comfort of their homes. Influencers have given us access to places we could never afford or knew of. This inspired a new generation of travelers who bookmark on social media and then travel with a purpose.”
Content creator Sai Sandesh Makam has a different pov, though. He says, "I think people discover it on the influencer page but only book after carefully checking the reviews."
Sai's experience choosing destinations based on an influencer's recommendation hasn't been great. He says, "I booked a two-night stay when an influencer called it the best resort in a certain town. His reel showed only the best parts — it also looked like the resort ensured it looked good for the video. But on reaching there, I realized the influencer hadn't mentioned the horrible path to the resort, or the abysmal food and facilities. Had to return after a day and swore to myself I’d only trust reviews on Tripadvisor and not a travel influencer.”
Gen Z largely relies on social media and influencers while making decisions — including vacations, but the internet has been vocal about how the travel influencers portray a lifestyle that's not sustainable or fully true. Smaller countries cannot keep up with the travel surge. Shannon says, “In most cases, each country does its best to keep up with the tourism trends and plan accordingly. However, there will still be many unique and remote destinations that cannot prepare and will be inundated with tourism and unable to support this new surge.”
This isn't stopping travel influencers though.
Morning Consult calls travel influencers the new era of travel agents.
👉 Read the piece here.
The article states, “84% of those who do follow travel influencers said they’ve turned to them for recommendations, and 63% said they’re engaging with that content, such as posts and reviews, now more than they were before lockdowns, indicating that influencers could be an important resource for travel brands looking to lure back all types of consumers.”
👉 Check out how Alaska Airlines is working with boomer influencers
Do you plan your travel based on influencer recommendations?
Travel Influencers ➡️ Travel Entrepreneurs
Scott Keyes's entrepreneurial journey started with the desire to travel, and when he was studying at Stanford, he couldn't afford to travel. He'd always look for cheap flights — which led to a newsletter Scott's Cheap Flights.
Cheap Flights is now known as Going, and it functions as a travel publication with travel guides, comprehensive blog posts and according to Entrepreneur (2018), Going has helped people save more than $1,000,000. Today, Going offers diverse tiers of memberships and travelers can sign up for affiliate marketing too.
Have you ever booked flights based on influencer posts?
Impromptu travel, anyone?
Abhishek Vaid quit his corporate job to float Untravel Show — a YouTube channel where you'll see his travel to less explored destinations. He's someone who endorses slow travel, and over the years, he fostered a community of like-minded travelers. Abhishek now hosts and carefully curates trips to various destinations.
An LA-based travel blogger Brianna Seaberg has garnered quite a following on TikTok and Instagram. She now guides travelers or nano creators on how to land travel collaborations or free hotel stays. In a recent Business Insider conversation, she talks about this media kit. 👇
Will she turn into a consultant helping smaller creators with monetization or growth opportunities? Only time will tell, but the day isn't far. It's not just human influencers — automobile companies are collaborating with pet influencers who go camping or trekking with their pet parents.
And whether you take an influencer's recommendation or not, the way we travel is changing. Shannon finally adds, "I have a folder on Instagram to bookmark travel inspiration from influencers and creators. Anytime I travel, I revisit my bookmarks and list out places or attractions.”
For many, travel indeed seems influencer-inspired.
What are your thoughts about this? Do you think traveling for the 'gram will become a thing? We'd love to know your thoughts.
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