Just like other travel jobs, travel influencers also face a huge drawback as the pandemic hit the entire globe. For people that are so accustomed to traveling around for a living like them, staying inside due to social distancing and restrictions not only halt their income but also set their wanderlust on fire.
How have the travel influencers’ conditions of employment changed?
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, countries imposed strict border restrictions and airlines were forced to cancel international flights and ground aircraft for months, which made the global travel industry shattered into pieces. The travel market deteriorated and eventually changed, so travel influencers also need to change to adapt to the new market as their livelihoods depend tremendously on travel.
The majority of enterprises followed the most mainstream solution, which is to cut cost, and the first cost enterprises are more likely to cut is marketing expenses. This directly affected the budget for sponsorship to travel influencers, who need to build their audience engagement with inspiring content in travel.
The travel influencers went from traveling almost monthly on paid campaigns and collaborations with tourism boards and hotels, being on the road consistently to being at home and having to slow down their fast-paced life, especially as most countries are completely shut to visitors and others impose hard quarantines based on their nationality.
Their contacts in hotels/resorts or other service providers were furloughed, and they might miss opportunities to meet new ones when networking events got canceled. Their projects, not just sponsored trips but other events and broadcasts as well since they have become public figures, might also fall apart due to the pandemic.
What can travel influencers do to survive?
Just as millions of other workers have learned to adapt to working from home, travel influencers have also been navigating a new normal. For those who do not work as full-time travel influencers, it may be easier for them to keep their livelihoods as they can still work in the other job. However, with those who heavily rely on income from being travel influencers, it is high time they considered new approaches.
- Travel to new destinations
They may still share the same kind of content on their Instagram account just like what they did pre-pandemic. However, as part of the new normal, they have to adapt to constantly changing restrictions and requirements and to choose destinations accordingly.
Travel influencers can still do a lot more domestic travel by visiting new places, particularly those destinations that are off the beaten path or visiting smaller towns, by taking road trips, which provide natural social distancing, and keep them off public transportation. In Vietnam, Sa Pa, Quang Ninh, Tay Ninh and Phu Quoc can be considered safe destinations for domestic trips. For example, the famous travel influencer Quy Coc Tu decided to travel to Tay Ninh to conquer “the roof of the Southeast of Vietnam” – Black Virgin Mountain; or like the young travel blogger Tran Thai Hung choosing to explore Phu Quoc.
In addition, the destination must definitely ensure the criteria of rich experience. In particular, according to a recent survey on the most searched destination for the second half of 2020 by Agoda, Vietnam ranked 4th in most dreamed destinations in the world, surpassing South Korea, the U.S. and Hongkong. Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Da Nang, Vung Tau, Da Lat, Quy Nhon, Phan Thiet, Ha Long, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City are 10 destinations most interested by international visitors. So with travel influencers, updating, planning smartly before making trips to these places will help them stay ahead of the trend.
If willing to take risk, travel influencers can still travel abroad as long as they stay vigilant and aware of sanitary and safety. They can also visit countries with fewer restrictions and are wide open to tourism like the Balkans, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, or Mexico, etc. Within the Asia-Pacific region, there are countries that implement fewer restrictions and/or no quarantine on Vietnamese visitors like Japan, Singapore, Australia, etc. However, once going on a trip to a foreign country, travel influencers need to be ready both mentally and financially as it is not going to be easy to go back to their home country, especially when Vietnam has yet to open borders to international tourists.
Overall, the most important thing is that they need to keep themselves informed with every situation in their destinations and stay healthy so that they can present much more authentic experiences to the audience.
- Adjust strategies and change the original content
Besides sticking with the content they are originally familiar with, travel influencers can begin posting behind-the-scenes content while shooting for clients and at-home moments since the audience responds very well to that as it is relevant to the current situation around the world. Also, many people want to plan for the future of travel and to have a sense of escape during the madness we are experiencing, so the travel-concentrated content about planning future trips may keep their audience’s engagement at the highest.
Moreover, it is more likely that travel influencers will change up their content and the frequency of their posts they were publishing at the height of the pandemic since they were not traveling, and occasionally substitute a throwback image in lieu of new content. Other tactics they can adopt are live chats and question-and-answer sessions on Instagram, which brings them closer to their audience.
On the other hand, the pandemic also gives travel influencers the opportunity to vary the scope of their content. They may start producing more lifestyle content, hosting podcasts and interviewing people from all over the world about their experiences with COVID-19, or choosing to post cooking clips about the exotic dishes they once tried during the trip.
- Time for personal growth
Some travel influencers take this chance to self-educate and prepare for the launch of their new projects, like becoming the pioneer to start cruising again, doing vlog with fresh content, etc. while some choose to write about the amazing experiences that they previously had to make progress in their writing and for book publishing in the future.
Finally, as holidays are coming, it is promising that more business agreements for travel influencers to look up to. Some travel destinations, travel agents and hotels are going back to the business and to incentivize the customers as well as promoting their brand, they surely need the help of these travel content creators and influencers.