IZEA Worldwide, Inc., the premier provider of influencer marketing technology, data, and services for the world’s leading brands, published a brief today which provides its first public analysis of the influencer marketing industry within the travel and tourism industry since the outbreak of COVID-19. The industry brief is based on data surfaced by BrandGraph, IZEA’s proprietary social intelligence platform focused on the influencer marketing space. The platform is used to identify, compare, and contrast momentum across brands, topics, and concepts in social media. BrandGraph leverages IZEA’s proprietary content classification engine and datasets to classify content across more than 4 million influencers and 600 million pieces of social content. For this study IZEA analyzed 520 million pieces of content from August 2019 to July 2020.
Influencer Sponsorship Hit its Lowest Point in April
Both the absolute count and relative content volume of sponsored influencer content among travel and tourism brands dropped significantly from the beginning of February to the end of April, 2020. In that three-month period, the industry saw a 66% decrease in relative content volume, with hotel brands seeing an 80% drop and airline brands seeing a 77% drop during that time period. April marked the low point for the overall travel and tourism industry as well as each sub-category measured within the industry.
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July marked a three-month high for sponsored influencer content in the travel and tourism space, with relative content volume bouncing back 34% from the lowest point in April. However, the relative content is still less than half of what it was at this time last year, as illustrated in BrandGraph. Hotels have seen the largest increase in sponsored content volume since hitting bottom. Airlines have seen little recovery and remain down 75% year over year.
“While larger influencer marketing categories such as media and technology have seen meaningful increases in sponsored content since the onset of COVID-19, the travel and tourism vertical is among those sectors hit the hardest,” said Ted Murphy, Founder and CEO of IZEA. “Influencer marketing for travel and tourism largely relies on an influencer visiting a location and sharing that experience with others. That was extremely difficult if not impossible when much of the country was on lock-down in March and April, but as restrictions started to loosen, we began to see more and more brands reengaging influencers.”
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IZEA recently released a Coronavirus study that indicated a growing interest among consumers to visit a hotel within the next 4 weeks. While air travel remains a strong concern for most, 30% of all respondents indicated that they plan to take a road trip this fall. The same study revealed that 94% of all respondents surveyed indicated that they would be willing to wear a mask, if required, to visit their favorite retailer or restaurant. A consumer’s willingness to wear a mask opens the door for many travel and tourism destinations to require social distancing and masks for customers.
“Travel and tourism brands are turning to influencers as they navigate reopening to the public,” continued Murphy. “Negative consumer sentiment for the travel and tourism industry is a significant challenge right now, particularly for airlines. Marketers are turning to influencers to educate consumers on what to expect from their company and what they have done to keep their customers safe. It is a definitively different narrative for travel and tourism brands, but one that is incredibly important to share as they seek to keep people safe and make customers comfortable with the idea of travel again. We believe that the bounce in travel influencer sponsorships since the bottom indicator in April is reflective of the opportunity that brands see in working with influencers to regain business. This is a natural marketing channel for them to both educate consumers and create desire for them to travel safely again.”
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