Last year WTM was so good last year. I left fired up from the message that micro infulencers would have a place for collaborations, turns out it’s not that straightforward. Nonetheless, I attended this year and I had an awesome time.  I didn’t have any meetings, so I attend seminars, visited stands and met up with other bloggers not to mention a fair share of eating. There was lunch in Greece, prawns in Barbados, ice cream in Taiwan and Prosecco in China. The seminars were engaging. Although, I felt the Black/minority travel experience was missing. Perhaps it’s topic an blogger network could explore in future. The organizers took on board the request for less plastic, there was canned water.  Travel trends discussed included: infulencer marketing, digital travel, sustainability and personalisation to mention a few. My takeaway points from WTM 2019 were authenticity and personalisation.

 

What inspires people to travel?

From the seminars I attended, the message was clear travel content should answer questions of prospective visitors. Enter Infulencer marketing. Destination collaborations with influencers are being used as one way to attract visitors. It’s believed infulencers can a give authentic real life feel of a destination.  Gen Z visitors are more likely to refer to social media for travel inspiration such content would be relatable to them. They are more socially conscious, savy and into real cultural experiences.

Gen X

Meanwhile, Gen X (like me) was inspired by travel books and possibly fiction novels. Personally, fiction fired up my desire to see with my own eyes the destinations I’d read about. As I became more savy with computers and travel websites, I used them to fill in the blanks (personal safety, where to eat, how to dress etc). Trip Advisor was a favourite of mine. At WTM I leant about the travel app Culture Trip. To date they cover 275 locations worldwide. It was founded by Dr Kris Naudts to ‘pursue a passion for entrepreneurship, culture and creativity.’

When asked during the session on Using Original Content and Social Media to Seamlessly Sell Travel Online what inspired him travel prior to Culture Trip, he said the books he read. I guess it’s a generation thing.

Even as a Gen Xer and blogger, I can see the value of websites and app creating a more in depth picture of destinations.

 

Authenticity

Destinations (brands), content creators and influencers are expected to represent experiences accurately. During the session entitled Illusion or Reality? The Rise of Influencer Marketing and Branded Content, Emma Mead, Head of Global PR, VisitBritian, stated the importance of bloggers’ and brands’ goals to be aligned. This is a vital point; long-term partnerships work best when with both parties have a common goal. It’s the foundation of authencity.

I believe when authentic meets creativity it’s magic!  When I look at images of our trip to Gower Peninsular, Wales, the brilliance of the colours enhanced by the natural light, hell, I ready to go! During the seminar Intersection of Data and Creativity, there was talk about the relevance of in the moment features on little known destinations/establishments. I would say this is where infulencers can excel. By sharing content while on site at an event or destination we are able to respond questions or focus on an aspect that’s of interest to our reader/prospective visitor. The provided information is specific to them; personalisation.

Personalisation

Holiday packages are no longer one size fits all. Another engaging session I attended was Intersection of Data and Creativity. Personalisation is now an important element to travel.  Sherin Francis, CEO Seychelles Tourism Board spoke about getting to know the visitor via data, then investing in targeted ads and partnerships.  Ahmed Youssef, Chairman the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board stated that visitors should be treated as a consultant and friend.

I believe it’s in this area the travel experiences of BAME, families and visitors who require additional access should be factored in. Every destination wants to be ‘The Destination’ therefore they may not touch on such areas in travel literature. Here too is where blogger/infulencer/content creators can shine a light.  

True story while search on social media for staycation insp I found a location that really impressed me. I comment as such on the photo, only receive a message from a visitor stating that the beach was only accessible via hundreds of stairs. The holiday park never stated that on their social media. Bottom line that experience taught me the importance of being clearer about accessibly etc on my own content.

 

In conclusion

I had a wonderful WTM 2019.  It taught me how vital authenticity is to creating content that is personal to my readers. To micro infulencers I say, don’t lose heart continue working hard at your content. The right partnership will come. If you missed the event search hashtags #WTMLND #WTM2019 #Ideasarrivehere to see what we got up to.

Roll on 2020!

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