Influencer Marketing Best Practices for DMOs and Travel Brands
Working with influencers isn’t something reserved for fashion brands. According to RhythmOne‘s 2015 Influencer Marketing Benchmarks Report, destination and tourism brands’ earned media value is $12.50 for every $1 spent – with earned media value referring to the “media value that can be attributed to publicity, social sharing and endorsement.”
Travel and destination brands can partner with influencers to get in front of new audiences and make sure their destination is top of mind when those people are researching future trips. And one of the key platforms brands discover and work with influencers on is Youtube. We spoke with two notable travel influencers, Nadine Sykora and Kristen Sarah, to learn from their past brand partnership experiences.
For more, download the full Millennial Marketing For Destinations & Travel Brands guide for more interviews and examples from marketers, influencers and real travelers.
CHUTE: In a recent report we conducted on young travelers, we asked which platforms were more influential for travel planning, and Youtube came second only to Facebook. Why do you think people find Youtube so important in making travel plans?
NADINE: Because people are visual learners. I like seeing someone do things hands on. If I want to go explore a part of the world, I look up a video to get an idea of what it looks like. Video is just a really easy form of media to consume.
KRISTEN: It’s visual and real. People love to see visuals of the places they want to visit. While reading something with photos is great, there is something really special about video that pulls an audience in, captivates and inspired them. Also, YouTubecreators are real people who build relationships with their viewers. When you watch videos of someone online, you feel like you know them, that they are your friend. So, when they give you advice about a place or share their experience, it’s like a friend giving another friend advice or recommendations. You know you can trust them. Then, the viewers can ask the creators questions by leaving them comments and they reply and may even give you a shout ur in an upcoming video. It’s a very personal experience. You can’t get that same experience when yo watch a travel show on television.
C: What would be your top tip for a destination brand who wanted to try and launch their own Youtube channel?
N: Hire a videographer and get them to do a series that will both 1. stand alone on youtube itself, and 2. be of some use on their [other existing social] platforms. Continuity and consistence is KEY when you first start out. Then you can branch off once you’ve established yourself.
K: Work with travel YouTubers to help build up your channel and content. We have the audience made up of travel enthusiasts you want to reach and have come over and subscribe to your channel. By partnering with us, you will be able to reach out to the audience you want to reach which is extremely valuable. This will be the best and fastest way to grow your own channel, hands down.
C: Can you give an example of past work you’ve done with a brand? What were the goals? And the results?
N: I’ve worked with several different brands. A lot of it is brand awareness, introducing the product and it’s uses. Or trying to showcase a certain tour or destination and push sales for those. Or it’s creating a story where the brand happens to be apart of in some form or another. Each brand is different, but at the end of the day, great content is always the end goal. I am a creator, my goal is to create fun, engaging, entertaining, educational, and just great content. If I can create a great video for a brand, destination or client, then everyone wins because audiences will enjoy watching that content and then look favourably at the brand.
K: I’ve done many successful brand and destination partnerships. Since I am on my way to work with Finland Tourism for the second time, I will share the first campaign I did with them last year.
My husband and I spent 1 week in Finland shooting daily videos of our experience as well as 2 featured videos for our “Food Porn” series (which is where we try local dishes from the country we are in). In the past year, we have received over 2 million views on these videos plus over 300,000 page views on the articles written for HopscotchTheGlobe.com about the experience. This video project was so successful, that Finland invited us back a second time because they were so happy not just with the numbers, but more important the quality of the content we provide and the engagement on the content. They have received many travellers to Finland to do the exact same itinerary we had just because they watched our videos and were inspired.
While destinations and brands can buy placements in newspapers and magazines, they won’t know the actual number of people they are reaching who will buy their products or visit their destination just because they saw the add. When you work with influencers, we provide you (well I always do) the results of how many travellers are buying the product or booking trips because of us sharing our experience.
C:What are some best practices that travel brands should keep in mind when seeking a partnership with travel creators?
N: Make sure they know the creator’s style going into the partnership. Watch several of the creators videos before hand to really get an idea of how they create stuff. If you like what they create, GREAT. Then, let them create in their style. The biggest mistake brands make is not researching the creator enough before hand and trying to get them to create content different than what they usually create. This typically leads to one of the two parties not being satisfied with the end product and the process.
K: Make sure you reach out to an influencer who is a good fit for your brand. Also, share with the creator what you want to achieve from this partnership. This will help the creator determine what type of brand integration would be the most beneficial in terms of the budget you have to work with and the content that can be created with that budget. I also always prefer long term partnerships rather than short. Creating a long term partnership between a brand and influencer is best for both parties. This way the influencer will be showcasing your product several times over a period of several months and even years. They become a true ambassador to your product which is much more powerful than a one off project.
C: What about things these brands should avoid?
N: The biggest issue that arises on the field between brands and creators is not enough communication. Make sure to have many initial calls with the creator, have detailed outlines of what is expected, and make sure that you provide the creator with the resources they will need while filming.
Also, don’t treat travel videographers the same as travel bloggers. This is a huge mistake brands and destinations fall into. Video is a whole other beast, and video makers have MANY different needs than travel bloggers. Video takes A LOT more time to do then blogging: there is gear, setup and filming, which takes time to do. So don’t rush and allow for this.
K: Give the creator as much creative control as possible. The reason why you want to work with them is because they are creating content that works. If you make the brand integration too structured it won’t be a good experience for either parties.