Younger travelers, specifically Millennials (born between 1982 and 1995) and Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015), are reshaping the travel industry with their mobile-first behavior, their strong preference for experience-based travel, and their Instagram-documented lifestyles. Experiences, unique and photo-ready, are a new form of social currency for these younger generations; 57 percent of Millennials, for example, have made travel plans based on an image or video they saw a friend post on social media. And both Millennials and Generation Z travelers increasingly seek out experience-based travel.
Why should you care? Because Millennials have more spending power than any other generation and Generation Z already accounts for between $29 and $143 billion dollars’ (USD) worth of direct spend, annually. Combine their purchase power with the fact that Millennials and Generation Z travel more than any other generation and you know why marketers are eager to appeal to these two groups of young travelers.
Both of these generations seek authenticity. When creating content that is meant to appeal to them, it is essential to cut through the inauthentic noise that is omnipresent on social channels. We’ve seen success by leveraging influencers to engage younger travelers. Influencer marketing content is authentic because influencers are real people, having unique experiences, and they are liked and trusted by their (predominantly youthful) audiences.
Our Create Your Escape campaign with the Gold Coast Tourism Corporation was one of our strongest experience-based campaigns from 2018. This mobile-friendly, choose‐your‐own‐travel‐adventure style microsite, complete with engaging video content, inspired users to explore the Gold Coast first‐hand via a range of different scenarios – such as going for a morning paddle board or catching some live music with a side of street food.
After choosing their favorite activities, viewers received a bespoke, bookable itinerary of their travel selections, with exclusive campaign discounts. Additionally, if viewers shared their custom itineraries on social media, they had the opportunity to win a holiday to the Gold Coast. The Create Your Escape campaign resulted in more than two million total impressions and drove a significant percentage increase in year‐over‐year passenger and air ticket demand across markets for the Gold Coast region of Australia.
Choose-the-travel-adventure influencer marketing
An example of using influencer marketing to great effect is our Can You Kenya? campaign with the Kenya Tourist Board from last summer. We sent a leading travel blogging couple, @Howfarfromhome, on a week-long trip to Kenya with no fixed itinerary. We let their audience decide where they went and what they did by via voting within an Instagram Stories poll. @Howfarfromhome’s social media followers selected between experiences such as a hot air balloon safari over the Maasi Mara or a kite surfing lesson on the beach. The selected activities all showcased the breadth of experiences on offer across Kenya, ranging from sunset yoga in a tree house, to a once in a lifetime visit to an elephant sanctuary. In addition to determining the daily itineraries, voters in the daily polls were entered to win tickets to Kenya for themselves and a friend.
Throughout the week-long campaign, all content from @Howfarfromhome’s journey through Kenya was broadcasted to their 169,000 followers via Instagram Stories. This content was also repurposed on the Can You Kenya? microsite, which included a recap video of the couple’s whole adventure. Can You Kenya? was a huge success, notching up more than 15,000 Instagram Story competition entries via the polls, generated over 2 million impressions, along with a host of positive comments during the campaign period. In addition, the microsite saw over 90,000 visits from unique users all five markets targeted.
Influencers + bespoke content = Millennial love
A recent campaign, Moments in Morocco, took influencer marketing to the next level by tapping three talented influencers from France, Germany, and the UK for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Morocco. Each influencer explored a different city over three days. They showcased their unique experiences through beautifully shot videos and long-form blog posts which were posted to localized microsites.
While this content told three stunning stories, we enlisted illustrators to provide a cohesive look and feel and thereby capture the magical feeling of Morocco. The resulting web experiences blended stylish illustrations with beautifully shot footage and photos, breathing life into the influencers’ experiences.
Sitting alongside the influencer content, we developed detailed destination guides covering food and drink, adventure, nightlife, culture, and relaxation. Users were able to explore shopping in Fez, surfing at Sol Taghazout, and hiking in the Atlas Mountains, to name just a few. With over fifty separate guides, focusing on locations and activities from all across Morocco, visitors to the microsites had all the information they needed to create their perfect trip.
Over the course of the campaign, the microsites had more than 10,000 visitors and more than 2 million impressions were delivered through influencer content alone. Average time on the microsites was an impressive four minutes, demonstrating just how engaged visitors were with the content.
Dig into our research on emerging travelers are shaping travel, and see how brands can engage these avid and adventurous travelers.