A guide to influencer marketing for tour & activities operators

influencer marketing

49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, according to the Digital Marketing Institute. That’s a crazy number, this means nearly half of travelers will look to influencers before deciding what they’ll do during their travels. 

So, what’s influencer marketing anyway?

influencer marketing in your tour business

In essence, influencer marketing is paying an influencer (individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche) to speak about, or endorse your product. 

But influencers are a scam.

You’ll most likely either have heard a horror story about working with influencers or have experienced the horror of working with an influencer. 

However, nearly 90% of all marketers find return on investment from influencer marketing comparable to or better than other marketing channels (BigCommerce). Here’s the truth; there will be a ton of social media influencers who have bought fake followers, are a nightmare to work with, and are not worth your time. 

But, there are also plenty of influencers who will deliver you plenty of bookings, at a fraction of the cost of other channels. We’ll show you how to find the latter. 

Here’s a great example of influencer marketing for tour operators. 

In February 2020, Welcome to Travel collaborated with Benn TK.

“With Welcome to Travel, we really want our future travelers to know and understand the product before they commit to buying, this is why we teamed up with Benn TK, one of the best travel videographers in the world.” – Adam Ogle, co-founder of Welcome to Travel.

The video showcased the experience of Welcome To Travel’s South Australia tour. 

influencer marketing for tour operators

“Not only is he immensely talented and able to authentically convey what it is like to travel on one of our tours, he also has a loyal audience on several different social channels which have connected with the tour and in turn generated sales.”

To put this into perspective, the video has garnered more than 236,000 views. To drive that number of impressions through paid channels would cost about $23,600 (a view costs roughly $0.10 according to BigCommerce). Welcome to Travel also got an amazing video they can use for future campaigns. 

And come on, you can’t tell me you don’t want to book Welcome To Travel’s tour after watching that video.

So, how do you create a successful influencer marketing campaign like Welcome To Travel?

In this article we’ll take you through:

1) How to find the right influencer

2) How to check that they’re credible 

3) How to use promo-codes to track return on investment


Finding the right influencer for tour operators

influencer marketing for tour operators

There are plenty of influencers out there, and the right one will make or break your campaign. So how do you find the right one? 

1) What’s your objective?

It could be something more general like growing your brand awareness or increasing overall bookings. Or it could be something more specific like boosting bookings during off-peak times or promoting your new product to families. 

2) Who’s your target audience?

Your objective will help you figure out who you want to target. For example, a new product could mean targeting families, while boosting off-peak bookings could mean targeting students, who have more time and can actually make it for off-peak times like between 2-4PM on a weekday.

Knowing who you want to target will greatly impact who you pick as your influencer. 

3) Find the influencer

a) A good place to start, is right under your nose.
Look at your existing followers, in many cases, some of your ex-customers or followers might actually be influencers themselves. Have a look at anyone who has tagged or mentioned you on your socials.

b) Google it.
Be as specific as you can. For example, ‘top family travel influencers Australia’. 

You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that there are actually very niche lists already available. Oftentimes they also have their own communities of influencers so you can even find similar influencers through their social media pages. Eg. people who they tag or comment on their posts. 

c) Use Hashtags
Another great way to find influencers is directly through Instagram. You can type specific phrases into the search bar on Instagram’s explore page. Again, search for phrases related to your target audience. For example, if you were targeting long-term travelers, #digitalnomad would be a good one. 


Check their credibility

influencer marketing for tour operators

As mentioned before, influencers have a bad reputation for having plenty of fake followers, and there’s good reason for that. So make sure you do your due diligence and look into your chosen influencers before agreeing to work with them. 

Here are some quick ways to do this:

Look at their followers-following ratio

A high following count is a sign that they’re following plenty of people in the hopes that those people will follow them back. In most cases, this means that their audience will likely be unengaged and will not be worth your investment. 

Look at the comments

How many comments are they getting on average? A high number of comments is a good sign that their audience cares about what they post. Also, look into the comments themselves, are they generic comments? Do the comments look automated? For example, just an emoji, or phrases like ‘awesome!’. 

Use Social Blade

Social Blade allows you to easily see a summary of the Influencer. You can quickly see their average likes and comments. It even calculates the engagement rate for you.

Of course, the higher the better but for reference, this is what a healthy engagement should look like:

influencer marketing for tour operators

Ask them for their audience insights

If you’re feeling pretty confident about the influencer, you can reach out to propose the campaign and partnership you have in mind. At the same time, ask them if they can share a screenshot of their insights page. 

influencer marketing for tour operators

Instagram allows influencers to look into their followers’ demographics. You can use this to confirm if their audience will be suitable for the campaign you are running. 

Create your influencer marketing plan

Now that you’ve found your influencer, it’s time to work out your deal. In general, a partnership with an influencer consists of several components. 

  • Benefit to the influencer’s audience. This could be anything from a 10% discount to free upgrades. 
  • Benefit to the influencer. This is what the influencer gets out of promoting your products. Generally, this is 10% of the bookings they deliver. 
  • Upfront fee (optional). Some influencers charge an upfront fee. This could range anywhere from the hundreds to the thousands. Generally, this goes towards the influencer taking the time to create the right content for your campaign. Consider the example mentioned above; that video would’ve taken a lot of time to create. 

So for example, a partnership with a micro-influencer with about 20-30k followers could look like 10% off your tours for their followers, and 10% commission to the influencer with a possible $300 upfront fee. So it adds up to about 20%, which is similar if not less than going through an agent or reseller. 

Using promo codes to execute your campaign

Once you’ve got your proposal in place, you’ll need a way to execute it. A great way to easily push out your campaign and keep track of your campaign is to use promo codes. 

For example, if the influencer’s name is Max. Create a code called MAX10 and get your influencer to share it with his/her audience. When someone enters this code at checkout, they’ll automatically get 10% off their tour. You’ll also be able to keep track of how many bookings your influencer has brought you by monitoring how many of your customers booked a tour using the code MAX10. 

Ready to kickstart your influencer marketing campaign? Learn how you can easily set up promo codes with Rezdy here.



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