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The Best Influencer Marketing in the Travel Industry

Jun 10, 2016

Travel conjures up many emotions, from stress and anxiety to wonder and excitement. The very best marketing campaigns in the travel space play on these themes, and influencers are the secret weapons of choice. Whether it’s building buzz around a new family-friendly resort, or perhaps a new, exotic airline route, influencers can offer up insights that make travel less stressful and more rewarding.

In case you might have missed it, we’ve spent the last few months praising Travelocity for their Gnational Gnomad community of influential travel experts. To catch a full recap, check out the success story:

With so many great influencer programs in the travel industry these days, I wanted to call out a few other brands for exemplary work. What follows is a quick collection of solid influencer marketing work I’ve encountered on my travels through the social web.

1.  Alaska Airlines Weekend Wanderer

This is a bit of a homer pick since I’m a Seattle-area native. Enlisting influencers to highlight Alaska routes results in some refreshingly to-the-point and informative storytelling. Each installment is accompanied by an Instagram takeover (Instagram, so hot right now) which is a great tactic to extend the reach of the post. Whether it’s an outdoor enthusiast visiting Nashville or a professional snowboarder shredding the gnar in Crested Butte, each story is accompanied by compelling visuals.

My only issue with the program is I wish there were more posts!

2. Expedia Viewfinder

Viewfinder, Expedia’s travel blog, is like a gourmet buffet of awesome travel content written by travelers for travelers. Seriously, you can get lost in here. Maybe you are curious to know the best places to take a selfie in Glacier National Park, or perhaps wanted to read up on traditional English pub food before a trip to London. Viewfinder has all that and more, brought to you by people that have been there and done that. Don’t browse at work if you value your productivity.

3. #TripItChat from TripIt

Ever wonder how other professionals approach mixing business and leisure travel? Or perhaps you’ve been looking for fresh destinations for a romantic getaway. Both of these are recent themes in TripIt’s monthly #TripItChat, hosted by travel influencers like Matt Long and Lee Abbamonte. I love the format as it invites a variety of travelers to voice their opinions and viewpoints. These interactive twitter fiestas are a great source of travel tips for a variety of topics.

4. Hilton’s Mom Voyage

As the name suggests, Mom Voyage from Hilton serves up some family-friendly, mom-approved travel tips and stories. Family travel can be a logistical nightmare, which is why tips from moms who have been there and lived to tell the tale are so valuable. Highlighted locations vary from domestic destinations like Minnesota, to international locations such as Colombia (a personal favorite of mine). By allowing outside voices to tell the brand’s story, Hilton boosts its street cred among moms while simultaneously extending the reach of its content.

5. Airbnb Wanderlust

Airbnb’s storytelling style plays off a fundamental truth upon which influencer marketing is built: people trust people over brands. Highlighting hosts, travelers, and local personalities in this blog leads to a rich collection of insights that help would-be visitors “live like a local.” When travelers visit San Francisco, of course they will visit Lombard Street and Ghiradelli Square. But how would you know who makes the best Bloody Mary on Polk Street? (It’s Cabin, by the way. Source: me). For Airbnb, influencers add value by helping to build an authentic experience for their guests.

In conclusion, the travel industry is brimming with high quality influencer marketing programs. With so many travelers seeking advice from experts, it’s only natural for brands to seek out thought leaders. As the use of influencers continue to grow, expect the bar to be pushed higher and higher in order to cut through the noise.

What’s your favorite influencer marketing pick from the travel industry? And with the summer season upon us, where to next? Tweet at me and let me know your top travel picks, I’m always looking for ideas.