Industry Report

Marketing Analysis Report: How the Travel Industry is Utilizing Influencer Marketing in 2020

By Editorial Staff

With the COVID-19 pandemic taking precedence in 2020, many brands in various industries have been negatively affected by a loss of sales. More specifically, the travel industry has taken a huge hit, as some destinations have closed off their borders and consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about traveling during the global pandemic.

With domestic air travel down over 50% in 2020 as a result of decreased tourism, brands in the travel industry are beginning to look to influencer marketing to help increase their sales and encourage consumers to travel safely.2019 vs 2020 domestic air travel

2020 decrease in travelers

Overall, numerous airlines, tourism boards, resorts, and travel booking websites have used this time to streamline their media strategies and reach entirely new audiences that love travel content.

Going Beyond Traditional Travel Ads

According to the Mobility Market Outlook on COVID-19, the global revenue for the travel and tourism industry will be an estimated $396.37B U.S. dollars in 2020 – a decrease of around 42.1 percent from the previous year. With these massive changes, brands in the travel industry are straying away from traditional media advertisements and have turned to running travel ads on social media through the power of influencers. Through influencer marketing, the travel industry aimed to restore consumers’ confidence in traveling during the pandemic by promoting their safety regulations and encouraging influencers’ to share their experiences on their trips during the pandemic.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by (@bookingcom)

In fact, since the onset of the pandemic, 17.3% of American travelers say they have received new ideas for places to visit from digital influencers. By reaching out to several travel influencers that have strong social media presence on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, the travel industry was able to reach millions of users that are already interested in travel content and are eager to start traveling again. 

Travel Campaigns on Social Media

After analyzing sponsored posts from various sectors of the travel industry, it was clear that

  • Airline-sponsored posts focused on promoting airline safety precautions during the pandemic and messaging surrounding spending time with family/friends.
  • Tourist Boards’ sponsored posts focused on the idea of returning to the country/promoting places where tourists can visit once travel reopens and the idea of staycations in states/cities that consumers reside in.
  • Travel Booking websites’ sponsored posts focused on the ability to book responsible, COVID-safe trips to open destinations with their services. 
  • Resort-sponsored posts focused on having the getaway that consumers need. 
  • Hotel Booking websites’ sponsored posts focused on supporting local businesses by traveling to new destinations.

Furthermore, in terms of content type, Instagram in-feed posts were most common across the travel industry. Besides promoting the brand, the main calls to action involve direct sales initiatives, clicking a link in bio or direct purchase page to capitalize on the influencer content.

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The travel-related brands that ran influencer marketing campaigns during the pandemic that were analyzed for this report include:

  • British Airways
  • United
  • Qatar Airways
  • JetBlue
  • Sydney Seaplanes
  • GermanyTourism
  • App in the Air
  • Expedia
  • The Philippines’ Tourism Board
  • Downtown Alliance NYC
  • VisitMaine
  • KayakEurope
  • Soneva Resorts
  • Hotwire
  • VisitDubai

Standout Influencers in the Travel Industry

Despite the hit that the travel industry took in 2020 due to the pandemic, plenty of airlines, tourism boards, resorts, and travel booking websites have used this time to encourage their followers to travel safely. In terms of standout creators, influencers each saw massive engagement and great feedback from consumers on their sponsored social media posts. The creators that were activated most by the travel industry for online campaigns or who received the most engagement on their posts include:

1. Lauren Bullen

2. Kara and Nate


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A post shared by Kara and Nate (@karaandnate)

3. The Blonde Abroad

4. Louis Cole

5. Dean Unglert

6. Oneika Raymond

These seven influencers alone currently reach a combined 5.5M followers on Instagram typically gain thousands to millions of views on their posts, achieving viral status and millions of dollars in IMV.

This article was written by Selena Ponton

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