According to National Geographic, there are roughly 500 million plus active users on Instagram and an average of 80 million images shared daily. You can bet a portion of these are travel-related.
In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find an Instagram user (or Internet user in general) who hasn’t seen an image of someone relaxing on a beautiful white-sand beach, overlooking a clear blue ocean.
Who doesn’t want to skip out on work, book a flight to whatever country that image is from, and go out on the beach?
As you can imagine, Instagram—no, social media in general—has changed the way we travel. Just an image of a beautiful travel destination posted on Twitter is enough to spark several minutes of google searching and TripAdvisor reviews.
That said, read on to find out how influencers are changing the way we travel.
1. Why Influencers Influence Us
Influencers—or those with a large following, be it celebrity, athlete, or YouTube star—have changed the way marketers advertise.
One of the reasons companies have jumped on the influencer bandwagon has much to do with trustworthiness. According to Forbes, 92% of consumers put their trust in influencers over traditional endorsements and advertising.
This Includes the Travel Industry.
Often times, when we think of marketing, travel doesn’t come to mind. Yet it is projected that the travel industry in the US will generate roughly $17.3 billion by 2020. To put it simply, the travel industry depends on marketing just as much as any other industry.
So, you can bet travel companies are leveraging influencers’ trustworthiness to draw in curious travelers.
2. Using Influencers Pays Off for Travel Companies
And, using influencers works. National Geographic goes on to state that in 2015 the tourism board for Wanaka, New Zealand invited influencers (to visit). From this, the country saw tourism shoot up to a whopping 14% increase—the fastest tourism growth ever for that country.
3. It Isn’t Just Any Influencer Companies Want
However, any influencer isn’t going to do it; according to Travel Weekly, “authentic influencers”—influencers who spread the message in a natural and effortless way—are in high demand.
And it’s no wonder given that companies—traveling companies being no exception—want someone whose style matches up with their own.
4. Not Just Your Standard Social Media Platforms
And it’s not just people who you could consider influencers. TripAdvisor is one of the top influencing travel review sites. People browse through the photos, reviews, and ratings to see if said hotel, vacation rental, or restaurant is travel-worthy.
As Entrepreneur states, people are looking for travel validation and inspiration from one another. TripAdvisor is one platform where people can do this.
Whether you are flying from LA or arriving in Singapore, you can bet an influencer has snapped and uploaded a like-worthy image of that travel destination.
Nonetheless, know that there may be some smoke and mirrors behind that amazing image. As National Geographic admits, what you don’t see is the line of several other hikers waiting for their turn to get that once-in-a-lifetime, Instagram-worthy pic.
Still, that’s not to say you should always swipe right and ignore that beautiful waterfall or tropical rainforest. Perhaps just look on TripAdvisor for another influencing opinion.
From viewing the photos, ratings, check-ins, and reviews, you may just be on your way to booking your next vacation and experiencing a new adventure.
Do you think influencers have changed the way we travel? Do you agree or disagree with what we have to say? Let us know by sharing your opinion with us in the comment section below.
By: Wendy Dessler