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Travel industry: 5 successful Influencer Marketing campaigns

With the global pandemic we are experiencing, the travel industry has been hit hard. The figures speak for themselves: airlines lost more than $250 billion last year and experts predict that it will take years for hotels to return to pre-crisis levels. As for tourism spending, it will also take until 2024 for it to recover. The good news is that borders are now gradually starting to reopen around the world. After being stuck at home for a while, everyone wants to travel again, whether it's in France or abroad. Today, we'd like to take a look at 5 successful Influence Marketing campaigns in the travel sector, just to take a breath of fresh air... virtually, for the moment.

Landscape over the ocean
Landscape over the ocean

Airbnb, "Live There" for international expansion

In less than 10 years, Airbnb has gone from a startup that struggled to find funding to a $31 billion company that is disrupting the hotel industry and threatening the world’s largest hotel chains. Its Influence Marketing strategy is one of the factors that has helped fuel its international growth.

A growth that started in the United States before expanding globally, as Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, explains: “At the beginning of 2011, we were mainly a US company. But it became very clear that being international was really important. We are a travel company. Not being international is like your phone not having email,… So it became very clear that we had to be international – we had to be a global travel network.”

This international growth has been achieved in part through the various local Influence Marketing campaigns the brand has implemented around the globe. For example, in 2016, as part of its “Live There” campaign, Airbnb’s London team designed a townhouse where visitors could come and experience local food and music. The aim was to show travellers “the real London” that is not found in guidebooks. Airbnb then called on 25 local influencers to amplify the event on social networks. The results? 1,400 guests visited the house in just four days and several million people heard about it online thanks to the engagement of the activated influencers.

The “Live There” campaign aims to bring a new dimension to travel and communicate to its audience the unique value Airbnb offers to travellers. Created by TBWACHIATDAY, the global campaign includes social activations across networks as well as 15-, 30- and 60-second TV spots and digital, outdoor and print ads.

The campaign also leverages user-generated content via the hashtag #LiveThere (used over 40K times on Instagram at the time of writing), which showcases the unique travel experiences available with Airbnb. The campaign created a high level of awareness and engagement with its target audience, resulting in a 4-point increase in purchase intent in the UK and India, and a 6-point increase in purchase intent in Germany and Australia, according to research from Nielsen Brand Effect.

By collaborating with local content creators and directly using user-generated content, Airbnb has succeeded and is no longer considered a solution available only in the United States, but throughout the world.

Inspired by Ireland to enhance the island's image and inspire travel

The eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökul in 2010 led to the closure of the skies over the whole of Europe and had a major impact on the attractiveness of Iceland for tourist travel. In response to this natural disaster, the Icelandic government joined forces with the city of Reykjavik, various airlines (Icelandair, Iceland Express,…) and nearly 80 other tourism-related companies to create the “Inspired by Iceland” campaign. The official website states that “Inspired by Iceland is a public-private communication platform to promote Iceland and Icelandic products“.

An Instagram account was also created and now has over 158K followers. On the account, UGC (User Generated Contents) content is featured to promote the beauty of the island and its breathtaking landscapes. A specific hashtag for the campaign has also been set up #inspiredbyiceland and has already been used over 463K times. It’s enough to make travellers want to set down their bags on the island again.

But the campaign is not limited to Instagram, Youtube was also used extensively in this Icelandic promotional campaign. Iceland relied heavily on TrueView ads and various banner ads that can be activated on the social network. Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir, the programme director, explained this choice by the profitability offered by this service: “TrueView works on a cost-per-view model based on performance, which means that Inspired by Iceland only pays when the audience chooses to watch the film. Inspired by Iceland only pays when the audience chooses to watch the ad, generating quality leads.”

The three main objectives of the campaign were to:

  • Decrease seasonality and present Iceland as a year-round destination,
  • To encourage tourists to travel further and stay longer,
  • Connect Icelandic tourism businesses with consumers.

And the results were beyond initial expectations as Inga Hlin Palsdottir observes: “We triumphed with extremely impressive results – over 267 million impressions through PR, social media and paid advertising and over 375 press articles” resulted from the campaign.

In terms of performance, there were also :

  • +1.4 million views of paid videos on YouTube, over 1.5 million views in total,
  • +267 million impressions through PR, social networks and paid advertising,
  • +860,000 potential future visitors added to remarketing lists.

Thanks to this very visual campaign, which highlights the beauty of the wild and varied landscapes present on the island, Inspired by Ireland has succeeded in its challenge. Today, Iceland is no longer sidelined, on the contrary: visiting Iceland seems to be something everyone should do at least once in their life, considering the pictures shared on social networks.

Viajawäy, all about mega-influencers

Viajawäy, a company of the Barceló Group, organises trips to the most popular places in the world, such as the Caribbean, Majorca and Morocco, among others. Thanks to a panel of renowned content creators such as Aída Domenech (3M followers on Instagram), María Pombo (2.3M followers on Instagram), or Marta Lozano (940K followers on Instagram), who have been selected to travel the World with Viajawäy, the company has managed to bring together some of the largest Spanish communities.

Their Influence Marketing strategy is based on 5 main points: a well-defined target audience, well-honed corporate content, large engaged communities, dream destinations and continuous promotions of their services and trips. Thanks to their pool of KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), they organise giveaways to communities in dream destinations through the KOLs’ posts.

The results are more than striking, +2.7M views, more than half a million dollars of Earned Media and a 180% engagement rate obtained with only two videos. Viajawäy’s Instagram account now has nearly 100K followers.

influence marketing secteur du voyage

Deutsche Bahn, "No Need To Fly" to (re)discover Germany by train

Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company, has launched a campaign in 2019 that encourages domestic travel using photos of German locations that reflect famous global tourist destinations.

In particular, the company collaborated with Ogilvy Germany and Getty Images to launch the “No Need To Fly” campaign, inviting Germans to enjoy the benefits of train travel in Germany. The campaign used an algorithm that identified locations in Germany that resembled iconic international destinations that people were searching for online to book their summer travel.

Using Facebook data, they targeted travel enthusiasts and local content creators with dynamic video ads. On the performance side: in 13 days, 750 unique ads were created, generating an impressive conversion rate of 6.61% and resulting in a 24% year-on-year increase in revenue for Deutsche Bahn:

Deutsche Bahn wanted to sell two million special price tickets and they were sold in two thirds of the time it usually takes. We also created almost 10,000 different creative actions. It was crazy. German Rail also achieved the best return on investment in its history for a summer campaign”, enthused Bjoern Bremer, creative director of Ogilvy Germany.

This innovative campaign was very successful thanks to non-traditional targeted advertisements published on social networks that encouraged German nationals to stay in Germany rather than travel to the other side of the world for their summer holidays (and thus before the pandemic).

Ibis Hotels to bring communities to their homes with a 360° campaign

The Ibis Hotels brand, part of the Accor group, and the MRM MCANN agency launched an innovative campaign aimed at millennials: “SNAP’EYES by Ibis”, where Internet users took control from a distance.

Alex Vizeo, a famous Youtube travel KOL with 108K subscribers, equipped with Snapchat’s Spectacles video glasses, set off to discover London, Berlin and Barcelona where he was able to film the discovery of these European cities live via the Ibis Hotel Snapchat account. The strong point of this campaign is, among other things, the strong interaction with the communities. Subscribers could choose what Alex Vizeo would visit during his travels (monuments, tourist spots, restaurants, etc.). Afterwards, Alex was hosted in Ibis hotels as part of this Influence Marketing campaign, the aim of which was to make the offer known to millenials. A bet that was more than successful given the results!

With more than 13 million impressions and high engagement rates on Snapchat, Snap Ads and Youtube, the “Snap’Eyes by Ibis” campaign has helped to increase the brand’s awareness and image among its Millennials target group. A campaign that has had an effect on the right target.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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