How travel influencers have been impacted by Covid-19

Uyen Le
Digital Marketing Exec
April 9, 2020
May 12, 2021
8
min read

Travelling in the midst of Covid-19 is certainly not a good idea, right?

However, when your income depends much on travelling, staying at home has a cost. As the travel and tourism industry have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, travel influencers are definitely facing a hard time in their career. But to what extent travel influencers have been impacted by the pandemic, and how they are adjusting their strategy to cope with difficults situations, let’s find out now!

How travel influencers have been impacted by Covid-19 

First, let’s take a quick look into the current context. As a global attempt to prevent the Covid-19 from spreading, countries around the world have closed their borders and imposed travel restrictions for foreign tourists. Such action resulted in a record low demand for flying, leading to the temporary suspension and reduction in flights of the global airlines. As travel is now nearly impossible, influencers are struggling to cope with how to move forward in the uncertain time. 

In order to better understand how Covid-19 has impacted travel influencer’s activities on social media, we used our Brands Comparison tool to select the 5 most active Asian airline brands on social media and see how many influencers mentioned these airline brands in their posts amidst the pandemic. Overall, it can be seen that there is a rapid decline in the number of influencers (down 54%) from the week of March 9th, 2020 till the end of March 2020. This decline is predictable as Covid-19 has not started escalating in this region until early March 2020, followed by national lockdown and travel restrictions in many countries. While the general downward trend indicates the negative impact of Covid-19 on travel influencers, the slight upward trend in the week of March 23th may represent influencer's efforts in adapting their strategy amidst the pandemic.

The number of influencers mentioning airline brands in their posts from December 30th, 2019 to march 30th, 2020

How travel influencers are adapting their strategy amidst Covid-19 crisis

1. Staycation could be an ideal alternative

Travel-related content is considered a sensitive topic given the current situation. Recently, local celebrities and influencers are facing backlash over their travel photos amid the Covid-19 as they are criticized for being ‘stubborn’ and irresponsible for their content. While travelling to different countries is not encouraged at the moment, spending the vacation at home could be an alternative.  

“Staycation” refers to a vacation that people spend at their own country (or stay at home) rather than going abroad. While #staycation is not a new term among travellers, it has not gained its popularity until Covid-19 started taking off in March. By shifting the focus from traveling abroad to domestic travel, influencers can now share their travel stories without facing criticism, at the same time, take this chance to promote the local travel industry in their countries. 

Jerilynmoon, a famous travel & lifestyle instagram influencer, received a lot of compliments from her followers for the picture of her staycation at @Marinabaysands hotel

Staycation is considered a good alternative for travel influencers to continue sharing about their travel stories...

… And the opportunity to support the local travel industry in their hometown

2. Making the best of their old photos

Since late March 2020, many countries have imposed national shutdown and encouraged their citizens to self-quarantine at home. This means that everyone has to stay indoors, and travel influencers can no longer enjoy their staycation, so what’s next?

Numerous travel influencers, including Lingweiix, Xinlinnn and Yuni, decided to have throwbacks of their old travel photos to keep their Instagram feed active during the period of self-quarantine. Singaporean instagram influencer Yuni also started producing high-quality content that provides travel guidelines and detailed feedback of destinations where she went to. This change in the content strategy has gained her a lot of traffic and compliment from her followers.

 

Another strategy to help influencers make the best of their old photos is to mention the brands that were featured in their images. Todayweexplore, a famous travel & lifestyle instagram influencer couple, made a smart move by having a throwback of their Bali trip while promoting the airline brand AirAsia amidst Covid-19 without facing criticism. 

Other travel influencers such as Chloetwl and Alexis also adapt their travel-related content by having a throwback of their previous travel and tagging the cruise and hotel they were staying during that time. 

3. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in 1 Basket!

Don’t put all your money and effort into one investment, because you will place yourself at higher risk of losing everything when it fails. 

Influencers may not be investors, but they’re definitely taking it seriously. Recently, we have seen a gradual shift in the content of travel influencers as they started partnering with more brands outside the travel industry. Famous travel and lifestyle instagram influencer zippyzipeng wowed her followers by posting a glamorous picture of her featuring Huawei Mobile in Singapore. Other influencers including Lingweiix and thewinterchee are also widening their product category (cosmetic, fashion brands), and they still received great engagement and compliments from their fans.

Producing the right content is always the key to social media engagement. While the Covid-19 pandemic has been creating a negative impact on the travel industry in general, travel influencers could consider this challenge as an opportunity to be flexible with their content strategy or capture social media’s attention by being creative with their posts.

All examples mentioned in this blog are obtained by using Affable’s Content Discovery tool.

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