In the years leading up to 2020, influencers became a more frequently used marketing tool within the travel industry. Photos of the most beautiful beaches or picturesque city spots became commonplace, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t stop at these luxury snaps on their feed and romanticise over a trip abroad?
But, with the global travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic, let’s take a look at how travel influencers have changed their content in 2020.
Travel content prior to this year
Before the 2020 pandemic, we saw a sharp rise in travel influencers emerging. For a long time, social media content has been seen from travellers, typically as YouTube vlogs and Instagram photos from trips away. However, more recently we have seen this content becoming sponsored by brands. With foreign travel becoming more accessible and affordable, travel content on social media is having much more of an impact on people’s lives. There is a huge market for budgeteer travel content, with influencers sharing how to travel cheap, for those who may not have time to do this research themselves.
According to Heepsy, these are the top travel influencers of 2020. Many have been social media influencers for a while, but some have grown throughout 2020 through various means of content.
If we take a look at Murad Osmann (@muradosmann) as an example. He has recently been named a top travel influencer and photographer, with it all beginning in 2012 when he posted holiday snaps with his wife Natalia Zakharova. They started their “Follow Me To” series, capturing shots all over the world, and now being sponsored by some of the biggest brands and deals.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the pair have been unable to travel for several months and have taken a different approach to maintain their social media following. Like others, they have been posting throwback pictures from previous trips, combined with sharing positive messages during these dark times. They have also been asking questions in their captions that help to engage their followers.
Travel content in 2020
Since the global pandemic has affected almost the whole of 2020, travel influencers can be said to be one of the worst affected in the industry. Their content has needed to be totally re-evaluated since they have been unable to travel – the whole reason behind their rise to influence. Across social media we have seen several different approaches with most influencers choosing to post throwback photos to previous travels or attempting to change their content to something different such as lifestyle or cooking.
If we take a look at Francesca Murray (@onegrloneworld), we can see how she has kept up some of her striking pictures by discovering her stunning home island of Martinique in the French Caribbean. She has also taken to her platform as a woman of colour in an influential position to share important messages and discuss key issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition, a post pictured in Paris shares a caption discussing the downsides of travelling – something that influencers don’t tend to talk about – allowing followers to engage with her and remember that influencers are real people like you and me.
Predictions for 2021 travel content
So, 2020 has definitely seen a strong U-turn for the travelling community. Looking into 2021, with little likelihood of travel restrictions being eased anytime soon, it seems that a change in content will need to be maintained by influencers. Going forward, there is more of a need for creativity and authenticity from travel influencers.
We have seen how influencers like Murad have been temporarily posting throwbacks, Francesca using her platform to spread awareness of societal issues, and others moving into different lines of work. However some, like travelling couple Kara and Nate (@karaandnate), have taken a different approach whilst staying within the realms of travel. This year, influencers and the general public alike have taken to domestic travel within their home countries. For some this has meant weekend road trips, but others like Kara and Nate, have used caravans and motorhomes to travel around their country.
Kara and Nate began a YouTube channel many years ago to encourage people to follow their adventures to 100 countries. They reached this goal in 2019 and have since continued their travels and vlogs, eventually ending up stranded in the Philippines when the coronavirus pandemic hit. After managing to travel back to the US, they purchased a van and set off on their journey to discover the wonders of their home country, retaining many sponsorships and finding new brand deals along the way.
A lot of people have taken after YouTube influencers like Kara and Nate, deciding to embark on the van life themselves, and see where it takes them. Instead of finding an already renovated van, Emilie and Christos (@thesuncruisers) decided to take on the task of renovating one themselves! Originally from France and Cyprus, the couple packed up their lives in Scotland and began exploring their way through Europe to the most southern point of Spain. Once European restrictions are lifted, they plan to make their way to Eastern Europe, vlogging about it on their YouTube channel The Sun Cruisers.
Although there was a sudden difficulty in the travel industry this year, many brands have still managed to find influencers that can work well with their business.
To sum up, travel influencers have managed to adapt their content in a way that continues to inform their followers of key issues, and to inspire them with creative ways of travelling.
If you are interested in searching for travel influencers for your campaigns, then head over to Heepsy, where you can define your search by the travel category specifically. To learn how best to use the search platform, why not book a free demo with a sales specialist, who can guide you through the influencer search process step-by-step.