According to an online poll 5W Public Relations conducted on April 14, 52 percent of people would prefer to see influencers post raw and authentic content when the pandemic is over, vs. going back to their regular travel, fashion, fitness and food posts. COVID-induced travel restrictions have already forced travel influencers to actualize that preference. The influencers whose revenue once depended on paid trips and picture-perfect content captured from around the world are now leaning into other verticals like wellness, food and grocery delivery and DIY projects to meet consumers where they are during COVI-19.
Over the next two months, the travel industry will suffer an 81 percent decline in revenue while a 45 percent fall is expected for 2020. That’s according to a new report from the US Travel Association and Oxford Economics. Inevitably, a hit to the tourism and travel industries spells bad news for travel influencers’ pockets.
As a result of COVID, influencer marketing is down 22 percent; travel influencers have been hit particularly hard by reduced marketing budgets. The couple behind the popular Couple Travel The World blog recently told HuffPost: “Ad revenue and affiliates on our blog are down by over 40%.”
What’s worse, just one day before the couple’s campaign with a brand was set to go live, the brand pulled out, leaving the couple unpaid for content they had already worked on.
Not only has public fear of traveling and canceled paid trips caused influencers to shift their efforts, but so have pay cuts and job losses. Seventy-seven percent of young consumers agree this is a time where they are evaluating and monitoring their finances more closely, a Fullscreen report which surveyed 500 18-34-year-olds revealed.
While creating content around beauty topics and at-home workouts, travel influencer Lindsay Silberman has found success in a list she compiled of her favorite wines under $30 on her blog.
Mega-influencer Sara Escudero, who goes by @collagevintage on Instagram, where she boasts 1.1 million followers, has leaned into DIY projects and travel photos from previous trips. In early April, after her followers expressed interest in her home-made bracelets, Sara posted an eight-minute IGTV tutorial on creating the beaded bracelets, in hopes of encouraging her followers to stay home.
Travel and fashion influencer Camila Coelho, who has 8.8 million followers on Instagram, has partnered with a local trainer to showcase live at-home workouts which she posts to her IGTV.
“I personally think influencers are probably going to be the first people who travel again. Since they already travel so much, their comfort level with things is a lot higher. So I think they’re going to be showing audiences: “Okay I just checked into this hotel, they’ve changed their check-in process it’s completely contactless, they’ve added an Apple pay, I swipe my phone and enter the room.” They’ll be able to show that exact process on Instagram Stories and how it makes them feel,” said Jade Broadus, vice president and creative director of Travel Mindset