Elite and young independent travelers are crucial to the recovery of the travel sector as they are likely to be the first tourists to embark on international travel, however according to a survey by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, *35% of Gen Z and *48% of Gen Y are still extremely concerned about COVID-19.
Many travel and tourism influencers are drawn from this traveler group, and what they think of and write about in their travel experiences can be highly useful to travel marketing and so they will be indispensable for destination recovery if utilized effectively.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Amid the pandemic, consumer habits have changed and the importance of having an effective social media presence has been heightened. Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) should engage with influencers and operate across multi-channel platforms to ensure a stronger position for recovery.”
Rather than an induced image brought by a TV ad or campaign, an authentic perception of a destination brought on by another traveler will likely be more credible.
According to GlobalData’s Destination Influencer Dashboard, both VisitGreece and FailteIreland are two of the top ranking on the network. Both DMOs have utilized influencers in marketing campaigns in the past to captivate travelers’ interests bringing real-time engagement worldwide.
Bonhill-Smith continues: “DMOs should recognize the overriding power of an influencer to promote new activities, experiences or even to gain traction within a new market.”
Twitter and YouTube have been the most widely used platforms for travel campaigning during COVID-19, but it is clear that platforms such as TikTok also have untapped marketing potential. Some campaigns released by DMOs, such as #DreamNowVisitLater (VisitNorway), have gained considerable interest on TikTok and this is likely to reflect positively on the perception of the destination among younger demographics.
Bonhill-Smith adds: “Social media traffic has dramatically increased as consumers have utilized this as a tool to escape stringent lockdown restrictions. Certain changes are likely to become long-standing as individuals will be more dependent on this to alleviate anxieties and influencers should be a key consideration in travel recovery strategies.”
*Survey conducted between 25th-31st May