Instagram Travel Influencers: How to Find Them, What They Do & How Much Money They Make
While there are several industries where influencers can make their mark, there are very few that are as popular as travel. For many industries, influencers need to hone in on a specific niche and master it – take fitness, for example. Fitness influencers must either undergo a transformative journey, be experts on nutrition and exercise, or even be competitive bodybuilders to stand out on Instagram today. Industries such as food and travel, however, are open to pretty much anyone with a phone and the ability (and willingness) to go visit a new place. As a result, travel influencers are among the most popular on Instagram. By our estimates, there are nearly 2 million Instagram travel influencers in the world right now – with 136,000 of them living in the United States. Let’s dive into the space and see how brands can leverage these influencers for their own needs.
What Are Instagram Travel Influencers?
As we’ve mentioned in other articles, defining an influencer can be tricky depending on whom you talk to. Some brands and platforms define influencers as individuals who have over 10,000 followers on a particular social media channel like Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. Some restrict it even further by saying only accounts who have completed sponsored deals can be considered influencers. On the other extreme, nano-influencers, as we define them, are individuals who have at least 2,000 followers on social media, with the ability to broadcast to a tightly knit group of people – most often, these are friends of the influencer, ultimately leading to the highest conversion rates across any size – and highest engagement rates as well.
Given that spectrum, we could look at Instagram travel influencers as anyone with an audience on Instagram with a feed full of their adventures, but most importantly, an audience that primarily focuses on the travel niche. There are several types of influencers within the travel industry. Some focus on local travel – dominating a particular geography, like followmeawaytravel, who showcases several getaway spots and activities all around Florida. On the other end of the spectrum, there are influencers like jimmychin – a travel photographer who explores exotic sites all over the world.
Depending on your brand, you can narrow your focus on travel influencers to a specific subniche. Where most brands make mistakes is when they look for generic travel influencers that apply across the board. By dialing into your subniche – whether that’s adventure travel, hotels, tour companies – you will be able to extract significantly more value.
How Do You Find Instagram Travel Influencers?
There are a few key ways you can find Instagram travel influencers that are extremely effective, just like we’ve pointed out before in our article about finding influencers in general. If you’re looking for free methods of finding influencers, consider using Instagram’s explore page, hashtags, or even influencer lists available online – like ours.
Instagram’s explore page is dynamic – the more posts you interact with, the more information it gets, the better its feedback loop becomes. If you consistently like and comment on posts by travel influencers, Instagram will find you more of them with very similar content.
Hashtags are the oldest method used to find influencers. Simply search for a few key hashtags of interest – we recommend long tail tags to get niche – and see who has the capacity to rank in the top 9 posts for that particular tag. Bonus points if that influencer uses related tags of different sizes and manages to rank for them all!
Finally, you have platforms that can help you – assuming you’re ready to scale your program and incur access fees. At Smartfluence, not only do brands have access to our automated Instagram influencer search and outreach, but they also have access to our highly trained team of marketers who, under our Discovery as a Service offering, will curate lists of influencers based on the brand’s desired audience demographics, influencer demographics, brand affinities, experience level, growth trajectory, and more! As a result, brands receive hundreds of Instagram travel influencers at their fingertips.
How Much Do Instagram Travel Influencers Get Paid?
We’ve talked about influencer compensation before, but travel influencers are a bit of a unique case. With many products, brands have to convince influencers to accept purely product rather than a cash deal. With travel influencers, however, it actually becomes much easier. Many of these influencers love to travel for fun anyway. As a brand, if you are able to exchange something an influencer genuinely wants, you’ll have a much easier time. For example, if your business is a hotel – you can offer influencers a complimentary stay for a few days with all the bells and whistles. If you’re a travel booking site, you can cover the airfare for the influencer and have them review the experience.
Brands have a tremendous amount of leverage in the travel influencer space. With so much supply, there certainly is negotiating power. That said, if you’re looking for paid collaborations, expect a wide range. On the lower end, influencers around 10,000 followers will likely charge $100-$200 for a post on Instagram. On the higher end, some Instagram travel influencers charge tens of thousands of dollars. Your best bet is to combine an offering of both cash and service exchange, taking advantage of your margins while giving the influencer enough right off the bat to stay invested.
If you’re interested in learning more about influencer marketing and how Smartfluence can help you establish and scale your influencer marketing campaigns, feel free to book a demo here.