There is no arguing that influencers and industry thought leaders play a major role in marketing. 89% of businesses say that their ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.
After discussing best practices to working with travel influencers, we had a chat with an award-winning travel influencer and thought leader, Kash, to hear his thoughts and experiences.
Kash , better known as the BudgetTraveller is the 2016 National Geographic Traveller Blogger of the Year. Author of the brand new ‘The Grand Hostels: Luxury Hostels of the World.’ published by design publisher Gestalten, Kash has revolutionized travel for the stylish, design-led budget-conscious traveler. So whether it is finding a luxury hostel in Madrid or a budget boutique hotel in Amsterdam, finding the best Cicchetti in Venice or what unique cultural experiences you can discover in Berlin on a tight budget– it is all there in one blog. He has been featured by the New York Times, Guardian, Vanity Fair & National Geographic.
What advice would you give hosts working with travel influencers these days?
I think hostels and hotels are still figuring how to best work with influencers. Currently, most brands seem to be using the thunderclap approach to work with influencers: inviting them en masse to your destination and creating lots of buzz, noise on social media. This form of influencer marketing is dying. We’re not telling stories anymore. We’re just spamming people. Or paying influencers to spam their readers. Or we are working with influencers who in it just for a free stay or for all the wrong reasons. We need to take a step back. Shift more from influencer marketing to influencer relations. Try and have a conversation with these influencers. Meet them for a coffee or a beer. Or give them a call. Learn what their passion points and projects are. Read their blogs. See if their brand values align with yours. Focus more on the quality of their storytelling rather than reach. It is all about developing a long term relationship so try and have a more strategic long term plan of working with influencers. Not a one night stand.
Your most memorable or most influential travel experience?
I was invited by the South African Tourism Board in 2015 as part of their #meetsouthAfrica project to do a 7-day road trip across the Garden Route of South Africa. The concept was to show travelers how they can travel the garden route in style but on a budget. We picked out the best hostels or what I call ‘Luxury Hostels’ that offer not only just a nice, clean bed but also an amazing experience of the place. Some of these hostels have amazing facilities like swimming pools, some of them have a cool onsite restaurant while some of them offered bespoke tours of the local Rastafarian community or run horse riding tours in the local mountains. This was a trip of a lifetime for me. I saw elephants, walked along with the most beautiful stretch of pristine white sand beach with not a soul in sight, I jumped off a hill and paraglided across a lagoon and I also met the warmest and most beautiful humans. We created a video that documented all those amazing experiences which you can find here.
What grabs your attention when looking for something special in a hostel or hotel?
For me, all Luxury Hostels in the book represent something new and offer you a whole new world and way of traveling. Each of these hostels offers you a great experience- from outdoor swimming pools to rooftop dinners, co-working spaces to Spanish cooking lessons, the services, and facilities on offer are outstanding. You meet like-minded people who are the perfect people to discover a city with. Once you’ve stayed at one of these hostels, it will truly change the way you see hostels and travel.
You provide app feedback in the travel and hospitality industry- what is the most common mistake you notice when creating or using travel apps?
The biggest bugbear is how apps are very much dependent on the strength of your wifi internet signal. When you are on the move, the wifi signal can always be variable which often leads to a less than pleasant mobile experience. So apps that are designed to work offline is really important I think.
More About Kash:
Kash has several years of experience of putting together creative content ideas for clients, some of which have won major tourism marketing awards. Examples of projects include MustLoveFestivals.com with Expedia, project developed in partnership with 20 DMO’s including Visit Finland, Visit Austria, German National Tourism Office, #BlogVille for Emilia Romagna & #Blogmanay for Visit Scotland & Unique Events in partnership with iAmbassador and Film Traveller Cote d’Azur for Cote d’Azur Tourism.
As well as creating content , Kash is also a professional speaker and has spoken at various digital tourism and trade conferences over the last 10 years on a variety of topics varying from influencer marketing, hostel marketing and content strategy to stories from my life as a professional travel blogger. Hire him as a speaker for your next tourism conference or maybe create a workshop tailor-made to your partners’ needs. Below are some of my past clients.
Baltic Tourism Forum || Berlin Travel Festival || Visit Denmark || World Travel Market, London || ITB Berlin || Digital Tourism Think Tank || Scottish Enterprise ||European Cities Marketing || SETE Annual Conference, Athens
Kash also works with a team of professional video content creators and can present to camera -he was one of the faces of the Spring 2015 advertising campaign for Japan National Tourism Organisation, a project developed in partnership with Lonely Planet and has worked on several video projects that include South African Tourism, Leipzig Tourism and Hamburg Tourism. So whether you are looking for a video campaign to raise awareness of your brand or looking for something more practical to help your customers- he can assist your needs. Send me a brief and I’ll be happy to share some examples of recent projects plus put together some ideas and a quote based on your needs.