The power of influence on the promotion and enhancement of a destination

Introduction

 

The digital revolution we are experiencing has radically changed our consumption patterns. Moreover, the evolution of the world takes into consideration the digitalization of all sectors, including tourism. The Internet and the emergence of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) have forced the tourism sector to digitalize and integrate new modes of application in various fields such as management, logistics, marketing and, of course, communication. The world of travel has had to adapt to the new generations that are more demanding, more autonomous, hyper-connected and who use digital technology before, during and after their trip.

 

  • The rise of the internet and social media

 

Unlike the “baby boomers” and generation X, generation Y, born between 1980 and 2000, are generally associated with the “digital natives”. It is a generation that was born at the same time as digital technology and has therefore been at the forefront of its evolution. After generation Y, comes generation Z, born from the year 2000, for whom technology totally dominates their daily life and is fully part of their education. Permanently connected, the young people of this generation are not familiar with the world they used to live in. They can hardly live without the Internet or social networks, which have become essential tools in their environment and habits.

 

According to the 2021 report by Data Portal in collaboration with “We are social” and “Hootsuite”, there are more mobile connections than there are people in France. We also learned that 91% of French people use the internet and that 75.9% of the population is active on social networks. Some are widely used in France, such as YouTube with 79.6% of users per month among 16/64 years old, followed by Facebook with 73.9% of users. Social networks such as Instagram are developing and reaching different generations, other networks are only used by one or two generations as it is the case for TikTok (21.9%).

 

Today, social networks are anchored in our daily lives and are becoming increasingly important in the lives of the new generations, thus leading to the emergence of the influence of social networks.

 

  • The rise of influencers and their different fields of expertise

 

Influencers have undoubtedly become the stars of social networks. They can be youtubers, bloggers or even Instagrammers and are generally specialized in a specific field. Their mission? Share their daily life and their passion through videos or publications, gathering around them a close, intimate community and creating an attachment thanks to their proximity to Internet users. Influencers can be specialized in various fields such as beauty, lifestyle, sports, video games or travel. Travel influencers have found their Eldorado by promoting destinations, sharing their adventures, through a photo album accessible to all, which has ultimately become a real 2.0 tourist guide.

There are different types of “travel” influencers such as luxury influencers who travel the world with a large budget and who set themselves in a paradisiacal setting to make their community dream in destinations deemed “inaccessible”. Their publications are generally in the form of Instagram posts, with a neat image, close to aesthetic perfection

Backpacker influencers are more accessible in their approach as they travel to places, sometimes very little known but more authentic. They travel the world and discover new cultures and customs by mixing with the local population: simple and low-cost trips. Their publications appear in the form of reels, TikTok or Instagram stories in raw settings, and convey the beauty of the destination in all its authenticity

Family influencers mostly choose accessible and safe destinations for their loved ones. However, some have fun showing that parents and children can enjoy their holidays, even on the other side of the world. This type of influencer focuses on children in order to push young (and not so young) parents to travel to these destinations.

 

Nature influencers are on a mission to discover the world in an environmentally friendly way, often promoting “slow tourism”, a new concept that encourages travelers to take time to travel and soak up the world around them. Here again, meeting the locals, the cultural and natural heritage are a priority to live a more authentic experience.

 

All of these influencers have found a distribution channel adapted to their audience, which is why these digital platforms are evolving and are in constant competition. For example, Instagram offers features adapted to influencer tourism by providing users with travel guides.

 

  • The role of influence in promoting a destination

 

One of the major roles of travel influencers is to contribute to the choice of a destination. Who hasn’t added a destination such as Dubai or Santorini to their bucket list after seeing the destination on social media? In a Next Content study for Expedia, the firm asserts that 23% of travelers say they are influenced by influencers when choosing their destination, the activities they do and the accommodation they select. Therefore, tourism professionals are adopting year-round strategies, remaining visible and using digital throughout their customers’ journey, for example by choosing one or more ambassadors.

 

Brands need to rely on structured influencer strategies and create collaborations (talented influencers, photographers or videographers). The Studio by GroupExpression works with its clients in this direction by proposing effective and tailor-made strategies according to their needs.

 

This is the case of the collaboration between Martinique and Isabelle Fabre, who became an influencer for a year and “ambassador” of the destination to her community. Indeed, the yearly influencers, each specialized on a different theme, aim to represent a destination through several communication actions (travel, events, competitions, …). Isabelle promotes Martinique, particularly on the theme of sport. To initiate this partnership, the influencer travelled to the island for several days to discover the destination and highlight the different tourism actors on her social networks (daily stories, Instagram and Facebook publications) and through blog articles. The spin-offs of this trip were beneficial for Martinique with significant engagement of its community, through 8 publications and 62 Instagram stories as well as 9 Facebook publications.

 

To find out more about this collaboration, go here! 

Conclusion

 

Social networks are no longer simple social networking tools but real means of professional communication. Indeed, they allow, for example, to create a link between a destination and the consumer, the tourist, through more accessible ambassadors who evoke a tremendous feeling of trust. Today, social networks have a huge influence on the choice of destination, thanks to these new web stars. The effervescence of this type of media is an asset for tourism professionals who must adapt and use these tools to promote and enhance their territory. The new must-have!