Travel influencers with ‘no experience’ are getting paid by marketers to do the ‘best job in the world’

Travel influencers are getting paid by marketers to do “the best job in the world” with “no experience”, according to Lisa Squillace, director of program partnerships at Seven Network.

“I don’t believe in them”, Squillace told the audience at Mumbrella’s Travel Marketing Summit today.

“Are they actually relaying the best brand messages for your brand? Let’s go back a little more old school than influencers… think about people that have a legitimate background in what you’re trying to say and what you’re trying to talk about – that have some credibility.”

Lisa Squilace Kim McKay Sam Ramlu Sueanne Carr

Sueanne Carr, partner at Queensland based marketing consulting firm Customer Frame, agreed with Squillace that the influencer market was potentially problematic, adding: “For us it’s just word of mouth on crack.”

“We’ve had a bit of an issue in the last few years around authenticity of social influencers, for us it’s about the authenticity of the person that you choose to represent your business.

“There’s no point being a five star spa retreat and having somebody that has an Instagram feed where they’re rocking out at Soho House in London every weekend getting drunk. That’s not in line with your brand.”

Despite the issues around macro influencers who are not properly vetted, Kim McKay, founder of Klick Communications, noted that micro-influencers were still a viable marketing method for travel.

“Something incredible I saw happen a couple of years ago, someone in my office was trying to decide where to go on holiday, they went on Instagram and checked #beach, and just went to the prettiest beach they saw,” she recalled.

Carr agreed, adding that the most effective influencers are those in your target audience to begin with.

“People are a little bit sceptical of it. It’s more about driving influencers in your customer group, and in your audience, because that’s far more authentic than any paid influencer.”

Overall, Carr stressed that influencers need to be just one strand of the entire marketing mix, and brands should avoid putting all their eggs in one basket.

“Often times we can bring social media so close to our faces that we don’t see anything else. If we’re so focussed on one thing, be it social influencers or social media – whatever it is that everybody else is doing – if we’ve got [our phone] up in our face, we’re missing a lot of things.

“That is a real challenge that we don’t put all our eggs in one basket.”


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