Travelers are increasingly focusing on bloggers when planning their trip. Anyway, in the USA – evidenced by data Morning Consult survey.
According to the study, which was attended by more than 1.5 thousand people, the most popular among tourists – 57% of respondents – are travel planning sites such as Tripadvisor and Expedia, 38% of respondents turn to social networks and only 19% go to travel agents.
Of course, preferences differ from group to group. So, travelers of generation Z (born in 1997-2012) use travel sites and social networks equally, millennials (1981-1996) trust bloggers a little less, the older generation is even more indifferent to the opinions of influencers, but 49% of them still are subscribed to at least one travel blogger.
Moreover, 84% of those who trust influencers turn to them for advice, and 63% said that they now pay more attention to publications and reviews of Internet users than before the pandemic.
“Many travel companies are starting to use the global network and influencer bloggers to plan their campaigns more often to advertise their products,” explains Liz Montiel, VP of Partnerships, Marketing Agency Social Native. According to her, TikTok is becoming more and more popular in this regard, airlines, in particular, pay flight attendants to publish videos, but travelers often use Twitter to complain to various support services.
Jenna Isken, representative of the strategic branding company Omnicom Group Inc. Siegel + Gale, agrees with a colleague that TikTok is the perfect platform for starting conversations about travel. In addition, she noted that Instagram is also good for posting content for travel brands, but companies often “sin” in it with overly advertising, not too authentic, so-called glossy photos. And if before the pandemic they could have attracted some consumers, now users are looking for more reliable and prompt answers to the ever-changing list of travel safety questions. According to many, these are the parameters that blogs meet.
Isken said big brands are now using influencers for short-term investments to get the industry back to normal faster, but if successful, they can make those investments a part of their marketing campaign in the future.
In Russia, it is also impossible not to notice the growing role of bloggers in promoting tourism products and destinations. Organizing blog tours has become commonplace for tour operators and tourism offices. Operators and travel agents are switching to work with social networks, the latter often become bloggers themselves with an impressive number of subscribers.
“I felt that social networks could become the main source of clients, seven years ago, then I created my first community. As a result, within six years, 90% of my clients come from Facebook. At the same time, I do not invest a dime in advertising. I also develop other social networks, probably there is not a single one where I do not have my own site, ”she shared her experience director of the travel agency “Belmare” Diana Ferdman. According to the expert, the market is now divided into travelers who want to do everything themselves using aggregators and online platforms, and those who prefer the concept of human to human. “Now tourists pay attention not to strong brands, not to strong companies, but to a person and they want to buy a tour from a specific agent. This trend came from the West, there is a growing number of consulting agents, ”she added.
At the same time, according to Diana Ferdman, bloggers cannot seriously compete with agents actively leading their pages on social networks. “All that bloggers can give to the hotel is a few beautiful photos, I work with b2b and b2c audiences and not only talk about objects, but also sell them,” the expert emphasized. “Now, even in a pandemic, I am often invited on promotional tours, I share my experience with readers, and sales literally follow in the footsteps of my trips, clients trust my experience,” she added.
“I would recommend all agents to promote their personal brand, create platforms in social networks, we have a huge amount of material for this,” concluded Ferdman.
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