The pandemic is forcing grounded travel influencers to get creative but who’s voice is being heard the loudest – and what are they talking about? Olivia Palamountain reports

GlobalData’s Travel and Tourism Influencer Platform has revealed Jackie De Burca, founder of travel community Travel Inspires, as the most powerful influencer (with a score of 100) during the second quarter of 2020.

The platform tracks more than 200 leading industry experts and their discussions regarding emerging trends, pain areas, new fields of innovation and other popular areas on Twitter.

Sonja Holverson, co-founder of travel content community, emerged as the second-most influential tweeter among travel and tourism experts with an influencer score of 81, followed by Melvin Bocher, founder and CEO of TravelDudes, with an influencer score of 78.

The top ten travel and tourism influencers on Twitter

  1. Jackie De Burca 33.1k followers
  2. Sonja Holverson 23.4k followers
  3. Melvin 255.7k followers
  4. Simon Calder 102.6k
  5. Meg Jerrard 114.9k
  6. Scott Eddy 639.2k
  7. Lina and David 118.9k
  8. Frommer’s 157.8k
  9. Christina and Kevin Wagar 14.2k
  10. Don Nadeau 27.1k

TripAdvisor emerged as the most mentioned company among influencers discussions, followed by GetYourGuide and Expedia.

The discussions related to TripAdvisor revealed how the company is enabling users to search and find hotels and restaurants, while taking into consideration safety measures such as social distancing policies and mask-wearing guidelines during the pandemic.

Destination, family travel, LGBT travel and cruise emerged as the most mentioned trends among influencer discussions on travel and tourism. The conversations related to destinations were driven by travel guides shared by travellers.

More recently, during April-September 2020 GlobalData says that “contactless” has emerged as the top conversation theme among influencer discussions in the hospitality industry on Twitter.

Prashant Saxena, influencer expert at GlobalData, says: “After the recent relaxation of air travel, hoteliers are getting prepared for their guests to return with the implication of new hospitality technologies to improve operations. They need to leverage self-service along contact-free technologies with an eye on health, safety and security norms.

“Guest experience is getting enhanced through mobile apps, which facilitate mobile check-in, mobile check-out, dining with mobile ordering and contactless delivery. Hoteliers are helping wary travelers to feel more comfortable with delivery robots, which reduce the perceived risk of virus transmission due to interpersonal contact.”

Smartphone Centricity is a trend identified in Globetrender’s report on The Future of Business Travel, which is free to download here.

The future of travel influencers

Earlier this year, Globetrender wrote about how TikTok is becoming the social platform of choice for Gen Z travel influencers.

Aimed squarely at Gen Z, TikTok is a social media app for sharing short-form, 15-second mobile videos. Its mission is “to inspire creativity and bring joy”.

TikTok says young people love its app because it has “lowered the barriers for content creation by offering a wide range of editing tools and effects to support creators achieve their creative aspirations”.

It also said in a statement: “TikTok has become increasingly popular for showcasing authentic travel moments.”

In Globetrender’s Gen Z Horizons report (available to download here), we wrote about the emergence of “virtual influencers” and how they will likely start being employed by travel companies.

“In the fashion industry, computer-generated influencers of otherworldly beauty have already attracted millions of followers. For example, there’s Margot, Zhi and Shudu ‘the world’s first digital supermodel’, who has already starred in campaigns for Balmain and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. They are so realistic people often don’t know they aren’t flesh-and-blood humans.

“Then there is ‘Musician, change- seeker, and robot with the drip’ Lil Miquela, ‘Young Robot Sex Symbol’ Blawko, his ex-girlfriend Bermuda, a blonde with her own PR company that also represents real-world artists Frank Ocean, Grimes and Björk. These three were all created by LA-based startup Brud.”

What’s coming next? Trend reports available to download HERE

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