Social Media Inspires Travel Choices
Travel blogger Shane Dallas recently wrote an insightful post here on the ATM blog about how social media influences consumer travel decisions. He hit the nail on the head. The content that people consume on social media has a measurable effect on travel decisions, and it’s been documented many times.
According to Think With Google’s 2014 Traveler’s Road To Decision Report, more than 60% of travelers agreed with the statement, “I generally begin researching online before I decide where or how I want to travel,” and 83% said that they found inspiration on “social networking, video, or photo sites.”
These kinds of statistics are often cited in conferences and whitepapers as reasons that all travel brands need to have a social media presence.
What is not discussed often enough, however, is how these decision-making trends enable travel bloggers to encourage travelers to choose your travel destination, product, or service.
Every company can and should build up it’s own social media following to increase brand visibility and customer loyalty. But online marketing doesn’t end with an in-house social media plan.
How Travel Bloggers Create Sales
There are thousands of travel bloggers around the world and they’re helping their followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, as well as their blogs, to choose not only which destination they’ll visit, but also the hotel they’ll book, the restaurants where they’ll dine, and the leisure activities they’ll purchase.
While social media is effective for inspiring travel destination choices, bloggers are not only able to reach consumers who are seeking inspiration for their next vacation, but also those who are searching for information because they are ready to make an online purchase, such as an airport shuttle reservation, hotel room, tour, or restaurant reservation.
Just look at this example from travel blogger Aileen Adalid
And this one from my own blog:
This is why maximizing your business’s visibility on travel blogs is essential.
How To Work With Travel Bloggers
Many brands are hesitant to work with travel bloggers because they’re unsure of the process. The practice of working with travel bloggers is still very young. Procedures and prices haven’t yet become standardized. And we’ve all heard stories of companies having bad experiences with unprofessional bloggers.
Hiring travel bloggers to spread awareness company may have been difficult and risky a few years ago, but the industry has matured greatly in the past few years.
The Professional Travel Bloggers Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating ethical and professional standards for bloggers, and helping companies to choose bloggers who are honor agreements, charge fairly, and offer measurable online influence.
Choosing the right travel blogger for your brand is fairly straightforward. The blogger should:
• Have an audience that includes your target customers
• Be willing to share their Google Analytics and Facebook Insights data to demonstrate reach, influence, and reader demographic
• Have a track record of providing services reliably and professionally
There are many firms and consultants that offer help choosing appropriate bloggers. The PTBA facilitates this process by vetting all of its members based on blog traffic and experience, and by providing a search engine that enables users to search the organization’s 300+ members by blog topic, location, and traffic.
Once you have chosen the bloggers you wish to work with, it’s crucial to negotiate a fair price and clearly define deliverables and deadlines to avoid misunderstandings.
A bit of planning, good research, and a clear work for hire agreement is all that’s needed to put your brand in front of the growing numbers of travelers who are finding inspiration, researching purchases, and seeking advice from knowledgeable, trustworthy online travel professionals.