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How The Travel Industry Is Recovering In 2021 With Influencers


Travel and tourism took a major hit in 2020. Over 2020, the travel industry lost approximately 1.3 trillion dollars in export revenue. A report published in May 2020 even estimated the loss of over 100 million jobs in the travel industry (as per the World Travel and Tourism Council). The passenger revenue of airlines’ plunged by about 314 billion, about 55% of where it was in 2019. 

There is a lot of optimism for travel’s return in 2021. Although we’re globally not out of the woods yet, many countries are allowing more flexible domestic travel. To inspire trust in the safety and cleanliness of travel, tourism and travel brands rely on frontline experiences to showcase authentic experiences. Enter influencers and user-generated content (UGC) – the community-driven method for rebuilding trust in travel. Ultimately, influencers can play an important role in rebuilding the excitement for travel as people readjust to travel.   

Reestablishing Trust

As travel begins to return in a semi-recreational format, many brands are working to re-establish trust. This includes showcasing how clean different experiences are, or how well distanced specific spaces will be. Influencers who are actively participating in these experiences can help build that trust.


The Fairmont Hotels showcase the spacious pool area for travelers looking to avoid crowds and maintain social distancing.

With UGC and influencer marketing, hotels and other travel brands are able to build trust through real pictures from their customers – showcasing how spacious or clean their spaces are to attract guests

Influencers to Build FOMO 

For those who are inclined to travel, but are unsure of travel guidelines and opportunities, influencers can help with the heavy lifting in terms of building an itinerary and navigating destinations that are welcoming travelers. But for those not quite ready to travel, influencers can help create some inspiration for future trips. 

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Accor Hotels uses UGC to showcase experiences that are private and unique, important factors for travelers in 2021.

Because influencers help showcase experiences through the lens of a guest, travel brands can work with them to showcase the parts of travel many are interested in returning to. 

Influencers Inspire More UGC

Influencers are motivating customers by sharing their personal experiences. The nature of that content is so social, that other customers can’t help but emulate different influencer styles and images to create their own insta-worthy content. By attracting travel influencers, travel brands create a flywheel effect of more content as customers travel to destinations to get the exact same shot. That content can later be shared with the brand to create more proof for a destination or experience.

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The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas features influencers enjoying the view and inspires more UGC with their #DecadeofMischief campaign.

Returning to Travel in Style with Community-Content

A lot of factors will contribute to the global return to vacations and travel. Ultimately, local destinations, short flights, and distanced activities will reign supreme in the short term. But as long as destinations continue to recover, influencers will play an integral role in building demand and showcasing authentic experiences for travel brands. 

Special thanks to our friends at Pixlee for their insights on this topic.
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