Using the power of influencers in France

Whether they are tourism offices, hotel groups, airlines or other players, all travel professionals have now added the digital dimension to their communication. With nearly 4 billion Internet users around the world, the numbers speak for themselves: more than 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 1.5 billion on YouTube, 800 million on Instagram, 330 million on Twitter,etc. In the French market, through social networks and blogs, influencers are now a key component of any marketing and communication action plan looking to establish a brand or increase its awareness.

 

 WHY IS IT KEY FOR TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS?
According to the latest Raffour Interactif study, today, more than 77% of French people prepare their trips or short stays online. Nearly one out of every two travel purchases is booked and paid in full online. The search rate on mobile is also increasing year over year.It is therefore essential for travel & tourism actors operating in the French market to gain visibility on all online communication channels. This is particularly important for the purpose of image rejuvenation and the conquest of new, younger client segments.It is also important to point out that youngest consumers are now expecting a different type of communication, more creative, more personalized, more direct, similar to the communication developed by influencers.

 

HAS INFLUENCE BECOME A BUSINESS?
In France and around the world, the bloggers / influencers community has grown steadily over the last few years. In the travel and tourism sector, an initial wave of true enthusiasts has now given way to a generation of quite structured influencers, able to combine their taste for travel with their marketing positioning. Even if it does not constitute the majority, a good part of the travel-specialized bloggers / influencers has now professionalized. Whether they are directly approaching brands and communication agencies or whether they are contacted by travel & tourism brands, most are now able to present their differentiating strengths summed up in a few key performance indicators: editorial positioning, added value of video, number of followers, rate of engagement and interaction with their community, etc. It is however essential for travel & tourism actors not to be blinded by the “business” and “performance” aspect of their KPI presentation. As we all know, the world of tourism and travel retains a dimension of dream and passion. It is essential not to lose sight of this. For that reason, it is important not to focus exclusively on the most successful influencers in terms of community size at the expense of a genuine interest or a creative approach which would better serve the “product”. Communities are shifting and often fickle. In addition, most of them value the credibility of the subject and the honesty of the influencers they follow. We are here on a very fine line between professionalism that guarantees the means and quality of content and personal appetence that engenders creativity and added emotional value.

For all of the above reasons, tourism and travel players need to define a strategy of influence that is both comprehensive and meticulous, taking into account the numbers of messages broadcast but also ensuring the transmission of their brand / product values. In this perspective, we can also highlight the more recent phenomenon of micro-influencers, often positioned on niche sectors. They are now gaining ground against “historical” influencers who seem to be experiencing a slight subsidence in their communities. While micro-influencers’ communities are smaller, they are often more engaged with better returns on investment.

 

HOW TO COLLABORATE WITH THE BEST INFLUENCEURS?
Beyond a simple contact list, an agency working efficiently with influencers must have a proper database in order to identify and qualify the “right” influencers depending on the issues and objectives of its clients. It is therefore essential to constantly monitor the blogosphere and review the profiles of the various influencers, as well as their reach. Collaboration with influencers can be initiated at the request of clients/agencies or by the influencers themselves. In either case, it is essential to carefully analyze the alignment between the brand’s values and the influencer’s interactions with his community to ensure perfect relevance. These collaborations should ideally be the subject of a “trading” or collaboration contract to protect the interests of each party. Such a contract will highlight both the visibility provided by the influencers and the means made available to them by our clients. Finally, a post-campaign analysis must be carried out, in order to evaluate the impact of the influencer’s action by taking into account its key results: visibility, interaction, engagement but also generated sales.

 

If you’d like to know more about how to use influencers to establish a stronger presence in the French market, contact Stéphanie Picon or Virginie Le Norgant at GroupExpression

 

* ”Les Zooms de l’Observatoire Cetelem” by Harris Interactive Survey conducted online from March 13 to 15, 2018.
Sample of 1,000 people representative of French people aged 18 and over.
Quota method and adjustment applied to the following variables: sex, age, socio-professional category and region of the interviewee.
URL link to Harry Survey:

http://harris-interactive.fr/opinion_polls/theme-1-enquete-33-consommation-daujourdhui-et-de-demain-le-poids-des-influenceurs/?utm_source=CP&utm_campaign=180327-Cetelem