A Travel Influencer is a person who works in the digital tourism sector by creating digital content about their world travel experiences. Normally, these experiences are shared on the web and social media platforms, making a real tourism promotion activity.
In other words, they are corporate sponsors of the entire tourism industry (airlines, cruises, accommodations, excursions, and more). For this fascinating career path, although many believe that knowing how to use social media is enough, proper training is required, which you can achieve through a course on Becoming an influencer in your industry.
The critical period of the pandemic has not put an end to everyone’s wanderlust, and finally, now the world of travel is back in 2019, once again creating job opportunities for travel influencers. According to industry insiders, the break from travel has accumulated a strong desire to explore new destinations around the world, which is why travelers are increasingly looking for travel tips, including on social media.
Today, the desire to set off and travel is stronger than ever, accompanied by travel trends that are different from the past. And that is precisely where this digital profession comes in. In this article, therefore, we will take a closer look at these issues and I will explain exactly:
- The definition of a travel influencer;
- What a professional who creates content about his experiences around the world does and how much he earns;
- The top 5 most followed travel influencers on Instagram and from whom to take inspiration;
- What you can do to become a travel content creator in a short time.
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Who is the Travel Influencer?
Let us immediately clarify what a Travel Influencer is, in order to explain the small difference between this profession and that of the Travel Blogger. These two expressions are often used without distinguishing a small difference between the two.
From the use of the term influencer, it is clear that the Travel Influencer is a professional figure who is an expert in digital tourism and has the ability to influence his or her followers in the choice of services, products, and tourist destinations. He/she is a traveler who narrates through digital channels (social media, blogs) every trip and adventure he/she has undertaken, providing advice to his/her followers.
It is true that both figures share a passion for travel, masterfully transformed into a real job, but the main difference lies in the popularity of the digital tourism influencer. Furthermore, it should be emphasized that the so-called Travel Blogger mainly recounts his experiences through blog posts; on the other hand, the travel influencer may have an “online diary” but the tool that makes him popular with his followers is social media.
To date, the difference is imperceptible as both professionals make use of tools such as social media and blogs, and it is possible to achieve excellent collaborations with travel bloggers despite the fact that they often do not have a great deal of social recognition.
But if the objective is to influence a larger audience by selling services, the most appropriate figure is that of a travel star, i.e. a celebrity able to guide numerous users towards certain decisions. So, in simple terms, the Travel Influencer is the one who influences the choices of consumers in the tourism industry.
What Travel Influencer does and how much they earn
The Travel Influencer is in charge of creating and editing content for web pages, articles, social media posts & stories, videos, and more. They usually manage profiles and pages on multiple digital channels such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and so on.
The main activity is influencer marketing and digital PR, i.e. influencing sales of various products and services: bookings at specific hotels, day trips to little-known places, travel bookings on specific platforms, promotion of itineraries, relaunching tourist destinations that boomed many years ago, and much more. In short, a real “sales boost”.
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Now I guess you are wondering how much and how a Travel Influencer earns money by traveling and telling about his experiences around the world.
You should know that the earnings of a travel influencer vary depending on the type of audience and popularity. Specifically, travel influencers are divided into:
- Nano Influencer: 5-10 thousand followers;
- Micro-Influencers: 10-50 thousand followers;
- Mid-Tier Influencer: 50-300 thousand followers;
- Macro Influencers: 300,000 – 1 million followers;
- Mega Influencer: 1-5 million followers;
- Celebrity: + 5 million followers.
We cannot generalize about earnings as they are quite varied. They are paid per post, per story, and per article, based on the advertising and campaigns they are commissioned to run, or simply on percentages of sales. Therefore, earnings cannot be defined with certainty.
There are Travel Influencer profiles, a foreign, who earn $100 per post, others $5000. There are those who earn $500 per month writing on a blog, and those who earn $2000 by creating stories on Instagram.
Some of these professionals earn little because they do it as a second job, others devote all their energy to it and manage to earn more. The winning strategy is to be able to create competitive content, which leads the user to follow you because you are super engaging.
In the field of content creation, training is crucial. Communicating certain concepts in the best way is the key to success in influencing your audience. You will have heard the phrase “content is king” many times. This implies that unique, high-quality, interesting, and relevant content contributes significantly to the growth of your professional profile.
Delving into the information and knowledge of a particular field is strategic if you really want to influence your audience. In that case, I recommend you take a look at the Content Marketing and Blogging with Certification course.
How to Become Travel Influencer?
Embarking on a career as a Travel Influencer is not a game, it is about learning real communication, marketing, social and IT skills. It is not just a passion that is simply monetized. You have to think that such a figure is paid by tourism boards, luxury hotels, and tour operators. So you have to have a following without buying useless followers who do not interact with your profile.
To be exact, when I talk about the job skills needed to become a tourism influencer I mean:
- Having good writing skills (and being able to tell about oneself);
- Know SEO strategies (and concomitant copywriting);
- Be fully familiar with social media (functionality, updates, algorithm, etc.);
- Knowing how to use publishing platforms (open sources and paid);
- Knowing communication strategies (best way to disseminate content);
- Being able to create content (strong creative and photographic skills).
These just mentioned are just some of the essential skills to become a Travel Influencer on Instagram and all digital marketing channels, but if you would like to delve deeper into the subject and acquire all these skills, you can consult the course with Certification for Web Content Editor by Digital Coach, a leading digital training school.
5 top Travel Influencers of the moment
Although there are many professionals in this field, one better than the other, I have listed the 5 most followed Travel Influencer profiles on Instagram (among the most used social networks in the industry) and from which you can take inspiration for your best travel stories:
- Gianluca Gotto @gianluca.gotto or a writer who simply recounts his travels, giving zen-like advice.
- Alessandro Zorzin and Luca Pezzolo @the_globbers are very famous couples who photograph, report, and advise on their travel experiences.
- Francesca Giovinazzo and Tommaso Fogliata @takemyheateverywhere are two travel content creators who together recount their adventures around the world.
- Nicolò Balini @humansafari specializing in group travel and founder of SiVola (tour operator).
- Giulia Gartner @giuligartner travel photographer, storyteller, and filmmaker.
In addition to those who make Instagram their headquarters, read on to learn more about the adventures and extraordinary rise of a famous travel influencer duo, a couple in life and work, who have turned their passions into a lucrative and fascinating profession that allows them to manage their time and earn money while traveling. If this is also your desire, learn more about how to become a digital nomad.
Interview with a successful travel influencer couple
Gianni and Ivana. Their great love was the first driving force. Then, another one came into their lives. That of “research”, and not only of themselves, to the point of establishing themselves as travel influencers.
Today, their first child, Nomad is Beautiful, has grown so much that it is a point of reference for all those who experience its magical and beneficial influence. Gianni and Ivana met in Germany, where they had both traveled for work.
Then they began to hear a little voice inside that suggested to them that that was not their life, their purpose on earth is another. They felt the need to give something back to the planet. To tell their story. To generate real value.
That fixed, secure place no longer represents their soul, their mission. It fits them too tightly, it no longer represents growth. Gianni pioneeringly reads about “Digital Nomadism”, and it is immediately love.
So they hit the road and start telling their stories through a travel blog. What they propose to the world, however, is no mere travel story. They decide to slow down, they decide to travel, slowly, giving birth to the concept of “slow travel”. Their second child.
The couple tells their story through the eyes of the people they come into contact with, respecting their lands, their customs, and their rules. They do this in a masterful way. Their digital storytelling is creative, original, genuine, and honest.
So much so that the blog soon shifts to another axis: they unknowingly become travel influencer marketers. The travel storytelling they put in place is of enormous value to their audience. It is a pleasure to travel with them and see through their eyes.
You are the living representation of successful travel influencers. How have you achieved this? (Facebook: 15.4 K likes. Instagram: 36.3 K followers, ed.)
Thank you for inviting me, I am broadcasting from afar today. I am in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the now-recognized capital of the so-called Digital Nomads. Who are the Digital Nomads? All those people who have decided to take their work online, and thus work in digital marketing with their computer from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
I started my career as a travel blogger precisely by choosing to embark on this lifestyle; working from anywhere in the globe with an internet connection. My partner Ivana and I, who is from Slovakia, started out in 2013 with the idea of breaking away from our permanent jobs. We were both working in Germany.
I had been reading about Digital Nomadism internationally for some time, so at the age of 43, I came up with this idea. To quit my job and try to be the master of my work, the master of my time, and at the same time “travel indefinitely”, as I used to say.
Put me on the road indefinitely. Let’s just say that travel blogging has been a great opportunity for me to realize a dream. Basically, what we do is talk about responsible tourism and slow travel, so not a mere accumulation of visas in the passport, but a slower form of travel, in contact with the locals, respecting them.
Thus avoiding animal tourism and, at the same time, the classic selfies with tigers or rides on elephants. We are constantly trying not to support these things, but to promote tourism that meets the people, that supports the locals, and goes slowly. We all need to travel a little slower. All of us.
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You are indeed very original, Gianni. Do you now have in place forms of Collaboration/PR/Affiliation that are now a source of direct income for you that you may not have even initially envisaged, just not considering yourself as an Influencer? This is obviously beyond the traffic of Nomad is Beautiful.
Of course, among other things, the term Travel Influencer is quite recent. Four years ago there wasn’t even talk of influencers, the term didn’t exist. We were catapulted into this world at some point, certainly thanks to the use of social media (Instagram, Facebook…). I would say we had to learn how to be one. Although we don’t define ourselves as such, it is others who identify us as travel influencers.
Actually, in a way, the term has also gone out of fashion. Today, we talk more about micro-influencers, those who do not have large numbers, but certainly more engagement.
Sometimes, when you have half a million followers (nowadays likes and the like can even be bought) there is not necessarily any real added value in terms of engagement.
Many companies (especially in the States), prefer to turn to micro-influencers, precisely because of the direct and certainly more authentic relationship with their audience.
We then have some forms of income from the collaborations we have in place with tourist boards. This is not our first source of income, by choice. We prefer to work on several fronts. First, on a passive form of earning, that is, on a system centered on affiliations, advertisement, and product creation.
With such a system, I have obtained a form of earning that gives me a lot of free time, requires only minor periodic maintenance, but guarantees me a constant income (net of physiological ups and downs). I don’t have to constantly work on it.
Sure, we also work with companies from time to time, but since you get money from working with them then you have to create content for them. Ergo, you are working for someone else. Instead, our original intention and main goal is to work for ourselves. But this is a dynamic that comes a bit by itself, so to speak.
Influence your readers successfully. How much can those who are inspired by you expect to earn with a Blog, considering it as their main source of income?
I would say that the earning range of a Travel Influencer through a blog is highly variable. First of all, to think of earning only from the Blog in my opinion is not entirely feasible. The sources of income are different (the Blog helps to create them and build relationships, ed).
As I said, affiliations, products, and tourist boards. The Blog is important above all because it becomes a shop window. Many bloggers earn money as copywriters, for example. They write for magazines, and they write for others.
They get paid for their writing. In this respect, the Blog becomes a kind of portfolio, a real resume. So I would say that there are different ways of working, and earnings are relative. You can earn €200 per month and make more than decent salaries.
I know bloggers who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per month, not per year, per month. What I suggest is not to focus only on the Blog, but try to diversify: you can earn a lot. Really a lot. Logically, the more you do, the more time you need to reach your goals.
This requires a Business Oriented mindset. Of course, you cannot do everything yourself in 24 hours. If you want to increase your profit, you have to consider using other resources. New forces, new people. For a Travel Influencer, the creation of a team is necessary.
We, for example, employ other writers. Making money with a travel blog means running a business, which needs resources just like a small company. If you can manage this effectively, I would say that the limit does not exist. The sky is the limit.
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What digital tools did you have to study and master in order to climb to the top of Google, short of producing valuable content and persuasive storytelling?
Basically, when it comes to working online, producing online content such as a travel blog, and everything else that can be found online (e.g. a newspaper), one always has to reckon with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
SEO is a search engine positioning strategy, which, if used well, allows you to rank on the first page of Google or, even better, in the first few lines of the first page of Google. This is crucial if you work online and if you want to invest in a project as a Travel Influencer.
The point to bear in mind when blogging is different from what it might have been a few years ago. It used to be that one proposed oneself online by telling one’s story as in a diary page. Thus telling what one had done in the morning, and so on.
Today, the concept is very different: people are not interested in knowing our personal facts, but in receiving useful information (especially when it comes to a travel blog). When a person goes to Google, he wants to know where he should sleep, and eat in Bangkok…
And so on. So you have to figure out how to create that kind of content and position yourself well on Google’s SERP, obviously supplementing it with good, creative, and valuable storytelling. It is not an easy business, but it can be done. That’s how you will probably get the notoriety of a Travel Influencer at some point.
The tools for doing this are basically infinite; there are tools in English and in many other languages. I personally use those in English. Google itself provides free ones: Search Console, for instance. Then there are sophisticated paid ones and cheaper ones, an example being KW Finder. Let’s talk about tools for doing keyword research.
What do you do with these keywords (search queries, keywords)?
First, you have to use them on the site, but this is only part of the strategy and techniques required. If we do not master these techniques, we can continue to produce wonderful, top-notch content, but we will never rank well and no web user will read it.
My partner is a pure creative; she too had to adapt and get to know the new strategy that governs writing on the Net. It is a sine qua non for a valuable blog.
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Gianni, in your opinion what is the turning point between Blogger and Influencer?
I think the crucial moment is when you wake up one morning and find an email from a stranger asking you for information or wanting your opinion. When the first stranger writes “Hi Gianni, I’m supposed to go to Thailand…
Could you give me your opinion on X or Y?”, when you start getting comments, likes, and people in the flesh asking you what you think about a given topic, well, that in my opinion is the turning point.
It is at that exact moment that you realize you have acquired a certain authority as a Travel Influencer, because of your experience and what you know. People approach you, and ask questions, precisely because they begin to recognize you as a Travel Influencer.
At that moment, there could be the leap from Blogger to Influencer, which is in fact the same thing. Let’s say that in the beginning you put some content online and you have the feeling of being alone; nobody comments, nobody interacts…
Then, magically, people arrive. Those who begin to consider you a travel expert and follow your advice, your directions. At that moment, the influence on the people who follow you begins. Thanks for your experience.
Why do you think your followers tend to “do what you suggest”? What is the secret of a successful community?
Well, I believe that what really generates value is what we do and what people see that we are. We are people doing what we preach about.
We have been on the road for four years now, we talk about things we have experienced and we do it while remaining true to ourselves. That’s what generates value. In fact, why do companies want to work with travel influencers? Because they generate trust, they are like a friend. No?
A friend suggests “Look go there, I have been there and it is a wonderful place… I recommend Hotel X, restaurant Y”. It happens to all of us, when we travel, to go and read reviews on dedicated sites: it is the opinion of ordinary people, of simple people that we are actually looking for.
The main thing is to be genuine, to have one’s own personality. To try to help, to act as a support to those who want to take the same path, to those who want to travel. Over the years Ivana and I have always tried to help our readers, sometimes we felt like a real travel agency.
We also help little travel influencers. Personally, today I additionally act as a consultant for those who are embarking on the same life path as us. I give advice, and opinions on SEO, and on life. I now follow at least four travel bloggers who are just starting out – as a Mentor, let’s say.
I love helping others and bringing them my experience. So I would say that success, valuable engagement, at the end of the day is based on human values. In all fields (not just Digital Marketing or Travel Blogging), if you bring value into the lives of others everything changes.
People return that value to you. In human relationships, everything is based on how much value you bring into the lives of others.
Conclusions and Free Consultation
Probably, if you have read this article all the way through, you are fascinated by the profession of Travel Influencers, travelers who deftly recount their experiences around the world on Instagram or by blogging, capturing their followers naturally.
I hope these lines have helped you understand the beauty of this profession and the importance and influence it has in today’s digital world.
But if, in addition to curiosity, you are also looking for an effective solution or valuable insights into becoming an expert influencer marketer in the travel industry, I would again advise you to enroll in a targeted training course in the field in question, enabling you to realize your project.
Don’t let your dreams remain just dreams, turn your career around. If in doubt, free career counseling is a good solution to listen to the advice of a professional who will be able to point you in the right direction.
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