back icon Back Insights 08/17/2023

The Role of Influencer Marketing in Travel Loyalty Programs: Leveraging Social Media for Brand Advocacy

When the average traveler plans a trip, more than one-third turn to social media. However, it’s not the travel providers or online travel agencies that they’re looking for — today’s consumers are on the hunt for reliable travel influencers. A recent survey of U.S. adults revealed that a whopping 84% of travelers consult travel influencers for recommendations on upcoming trips. 

With the considerable impact of travel influencers, influencer marketing in loyalty programs can be a powerful strategy to reach a broader audience, enhance brand credibility, and foster stronger customer loyalty. Keep reading to discover how travel brands can leverage social media to drive brand advocacy and maximize the impact of influencer marketing in loyalty programs.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing in Travel Loyalty Programs

It’s near impossible to scroll through social media today without encountering an influencer, or a type of internet personality that’s amassed a loyal following. Fortunately, influencer marketing allows travel companies to tap into the vast (and diverse) audiences influencers have built, which helps effortlessly expand their reach and awareness to new and potential customers. 

Unlike travel brands, which often have a fixed content calendar, influencers can create compelling content that resonates with their followers for its honesty and authenticity. By investing in influencer marketing, travel companies receive captivating content that not only drives customer engagement on social media but also enhances engagement with their loyalty programs.

Likewise, an influencer who authentically advocates for a loyalty program significantly impacts the perceived brand value and reliability of the program, helping to boost conversions. In other words, if an influencer with a loyal and engaged community promotes your brand as a premier program, you can rest assured their followers will trust their word-of-mouth recommendation as a fact. 

How to Craft an Influencer Marketing Strategy for Travel Loyalty Programs

If it seems like there’s an influencer for everything these days, that’s because there is. From travel and tourism to fashion, food, and fitness, you name it, there’s an influencer for it. If you wish to improve customer loyalty and engagement with influencer marketing, it’s vital to choose the right influencer, collaborate on authentic content, and consistently track campaign success.

Select Influencers That Align with Your Brand

In 2022, the U.S. influencer market size was valued at a record $16.4 billion, with the expectation of reaching over $21 billion in 2023. Three types of social media influencers are common in influencer marketing in loyalty programs:

  1. Nano influencers have the smallest audience, typically with less than 1,000 followers, and usually receive free products in exchange for a review on social media. 
  2. Micro influencers have a mid-size audience of 1,000 to 100,000 followers and typically produce content for a single niche, making them experts in their field.
  3. Macro influencers have the largest audience size of 100,000 to 1 million followers, with a prominent social media presence to power influencer loyalty programs.

With a variety of influencers available, it’s essential to identify individuals who align with your brand values and have a genuine passion for travel. Remember that your chosen influencer will act as a brand ambassador for your company, so it’s vital to consider their niche, engagement rate, and relevance to the travel industry to ensure the partnership resonates with your target audience.

Create Authentic and Captivating Content 

Authenticity is the primary trait consumers want to see in the social media influencers they follow. In fact, 88% of consumers agree it’s very important for influencers to “be authentic and genuinely care about their interests.” With your chosen influencer sharing branded content centering around your company, you want to be sure the content is genuine and not simply a cash grab. 

So, remember to collaborate with influencers to help create content that speaks to their audience base but also highlights the benefits, experiences, and rewards offered by your program. Influencer marketing in travel loyalty programs should never feel like old, recycled marketing content. Aim for fresh, engaging, and authentic marketing materials to fuel program growth. 

Measure the Success of Influencer Campaigns

As you craft an influencer marketing strategy, you should never need to question the value of the campaign or wonder, what is the role of influencers in brand marketing? It should be obvious in the campaign metrics. It is crucial to track and measure the performance of influencer marketing campaigns to gauge their impact on loyalty program sign-ups, engagement, and conversions.

Analyze key metrics, such as reach, engagement, and click-through rates to monitor the ongoing success of influencer campaigns and optimize future influencer partnerships. If your chosen influencer has opted into a referral loyalty program or received a coupon code to share with their audience, track metrics such as new referral sign-ups and the number of coupons used. 

Woman influencer taking pictures while on a trip with her smart phone.

Tips to Boost Brand Advocacy with Social Media Influencer Campaigns

When it comes to successful loyalty programs, such as Delta SkyMiles or Marriott Bonvoy, each one shares something in common: brand advocacy. The loyal customers in these programs actively support them by promoting them. It’s a win-win for all parties—for the loyalty programs that receive the awareness and engagement, and for the customers who receive the travel perks.

To boost brand advocacy through social media, consider collaborating with relevant influencers to create sponsored social media posts. Partnering with influencers for sponsored social content can significantly amplify the reach and impact of your travel loyalty program. Influencers can showcase your program’s benefits and rewards, and promote it to their followers to join and participate.

Likewise, be sure to encourage user-generated content (UGC) to further boost brand loyalty. Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity for travel loyalty programs to gain UGC through branded hashtags, photo contests, and member story spotlights that foster a community of brand advocates who actively share their experiences and promote the loyalty program to followers.

Need Help Marketing Your Loyalty Program? Get in Touch with arrivia Today!

It’s no secret that marketing your loyalty program can be difficult, especially with so many influencers swaying public opinion on social media. But what if you took that power back with an influencer marketing strategy of your own? Now is the time to invest in influencer marketing for your travel loyalty programs — arrivia can help bolster your travel program and promote it.

Arrivia has an in-house marketing team to manage your loyalty or membership program. By using data collected through your platform and seeing your customers’ online behaviors, we can create highly personalized marketing campaigns that result in more bookings, redemptions, and greater customer satisfaction. 

Arrivia is a leader in white label travel technology and loyalty solutions. Contact us today to learn more about how our expertise in integrated marketing solutions can elevate your loyalty program. Together, let’s unlock the full potential of your travel brand’s presence in the digital landscape.

Request a demo today to get started!