Selecting the Right Travel Influencer for Your Brand

Travel influencers are great for reaching the right audience and influencing and swaying travel zeitgeists and trends. As businesses start to allocate larger budgets for influencer marketing, influencers are increasing in number as well. In this blog, we provide you with several parameters to help you narrow down your search when selecting travel influencers.

What are Travel Influencers?

Travel influencers are individuals with large active followings on digital media (usually) who produce travel content. Their content informs and even generates demand for travel destinations. The fact is, people know that they want to travel and experience something new. They, however, don’t know where to go. That is why taste-makers like travel influencers are essential for any tourism board or brand. Further to that, travel influencers can influence their followers to use a particular travel agent or engage with certain products and services during a journey. 

What do Travel Influencers Do?

Travel influencers travel to destinations and share their experiences with their followers. Their feedback is usually accompanied by rich visual content such as pictures, videos or vlogs. Ultimately, however, the primary identifier of an influencer isn’t the number of travel destinations they’ve covered or the number of followers they have. It is more about how influential they are when it comes to making their followers take action — be it clicking on a website, filling out a survey, or even travelling to the intended destination. An influencers relationship with their community is vital.

Segmentation and Targeting

Usually, travel influencers target a particular traveller segment and demographic. Often, this demographic resembles the influencer the most. For example, a family travel influencer will have a family of their own whom they’ll include feedback and experiences of when it comes to producing content for other similar families. Other than that, travel influencers come in all shapes and sizes, likes and dislikes. From teenage travel influencers to couples, thrill-seekers to senior citizens, and oddly enough, even a 1-year old baby traveller

Essentially, travel influencers cut through all the advertising noise and over-promotion that frequently occurs today. That is because they are seen as unbiased and trustworthy sources of information. Travel influencers are trusted because their whole reputation depends on the authenticity of their reviews. Should they engage in any unfair promotion, their career can go up in flames. Although they do receive monetary incentives and free trips (in exchange for their coverage of an area), there is an unwritten contract between the influencer and the brand. It implies that the influencer will share their explicit and unfiltered opinion about the travel destination, even if it is negative. The travel influencers contract with society is to give them accurate insights into the advantages and disadvantages of each place from the viewpoint of an actual customer. Often these influencers serve as the litmus test to whether an excursion is really worth the fuss or not.

The Different Kinds of Travel Influencers

There are many kinds of travel influencers. Here we’ll cover three. The trickster, the celebrity, and the specialist.

The Trickster

Your hotel gets a call from a travel influencer who offers to review your hotel for his many followers and he wants to bring his friends to test the experience with him. You investigate his social media accounts and it becomes evident that this influencer really means business. Examples of other hotels he has covered are scattered all across his Instagram account. His follower count is high, ridiculously high. So you make a deal with the influencer and buy tickets for him and his friends and they pay you a visit.

Weeks later the influencers review is up and to your amusement it’s highly favourable. What seems to be a good deal to you was in actuality a scam, and it is highly unlikely that this influencers reviews will drive any bookings for your hotel.

Firstly, the other hotels that were covered on the “influencers” page were previous victims. The high follower count? Bots that were programmed to create fake social media accounts that will follow and like the trickster’s account and his content.

The Celebrity

These individuals are already famous by virtue of their profession. They include actors, musicians, sportsmen and even internet icons. When their followers display characteristics of the right demographic, the celebrity is considered when selecting travel influencers.

The Specialist

Just like any travel influencer, this individual will engage in an experience with your brand, and then proceed to review it online. This entrepreneurial breed of influencer however distinguish themselves from the rest by a few things. Firstly they will attempt to arrange discounts for the portion of their followers who decide to engage with your brand. The way that this is done is that they will create a code for example “Travel2021” and they will ask you to provide a set discount for any individual who uses this code. This way you can track the efficacy of that influencer’s review by counting the number of bookings they helped you achieve.

Further to that this influencer type has a systematic approach to their content creation. First, they produce content about your brand/destination before their arrival in order to build anticipation among their followers. Then they produce content during their trip, and lastly, the third batch is produced once they have left. The final version is where their full review and follower code are found.

Converting this kind of influencer to an advocate can prove to be a strategic advantage. If their experience with your brand proves to be highly favourable their praises for it may extend well beyond your deal with them. This may come in the form of unexpected lip service or an answer to a question such as “Which hotel would you recommend for a week in XYZ?” Essentially with this kind of influencer, you are dealing with an opinion leader, and one positive experience on their end could translate to a lifetime of positive word of mouth for you.

Selecting Travel Influencers

Below is a quick checklist you can use in selecting travel influencers that will yield the highest return on investment.

1) Go Micro

Suppose your brand provides trips for Arab families from the Middle East. Simply opting for any family influencer who seems to display all the right signals isn’t going to be sufficient. For example, a European family travel influencer will enjoy an evening out wine tasting on the hills of Italy while their children explore the vineyards. An Arab family, however, who more often than not are Muslim, will shrivel at the thought of taking their children with them to see a vineyard. In that case, a Muslim family travel influencer would be ideal. 

Furthermore, a senior couple whom children don’t accompany will have a much different idea of what constitutes a vacation than those who do have children. It’s therefore imperative to be clear on all the specifics before selecting travel influencers. You can segment even further by targeting the actual decision-makers in a family when it comes to travel destination selection. According to data, mothers are the key decision-makers when it comes to Middle Eastern families. So, in this case, a married female Muslim travel influencer who has children would be optimal. 

Click on the following link to learn more about who makes travel decisions in the Arab household. To formulate a clear influencer marketing plan, you need to obtain precise data on who exactly your ideal market is or would be. Gulf Reps’ network of travel agencies can provide you with precisely that kind of competitive edge.

Going micro with your influencer marketing efforts is the most effective way to grow your conversions (or the number of individuals who do end up booking a trip). Going micro is also one of the reasons it would be wise to select influencers with medium-sized followerships.

2) Choose the Middle Ground When Selecting Travel Influencers

Travel influencers who truly create content for a micro niche will seldom have extremely high follower counts. The connection between these influencers and their followers is, however, highly potent and tightly knit. It is akin to a community of like-minded individuals who share similar lifestyles and values—a community with the influencer at its head as an opinion leader.

Influencers who veer off into the deeper end of the followership pool and start to reach the millions will have most likely fallen off track from their initial focus niche. This happens when they begin to target a larger and more generic market. This translates to less influence as that community feeling that comes with more targeted niches starts to disintegrate. Famous travel influencers such as these will come at a high price and a long list of demands should they agree to work with you. A hefty bill for an ineffective campaign is highly unfortunate. 

If you decide that selecting this path is the most suitable course of action, be wary of influencers with massive fake followings.

3) Choose an Influencer You Do Not Mind Being Associated With

It is absolutely essential to very deeply research potential influencers and their history before engaging in any form of communication with them. Influencers can quickly become strongly associated with your brand in viewers’ minds. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that a proposed influencer does not engage in any off-brand activities. 

The frightening part of influencer marketing is that you’re associating your brand with someone else’s personal brand. If that person experiences lapses in judgement, it could reflect badly on your business. Therefore it can be hazardous to partner with dangerously eccentric influencers unless, of course, your brand itself carries with it unconventional undertones.

4) Focus on the Right Digital Metrics

Instead of relying on simple metrics such as follower counts, the engagement rate is a much more accurate metric for determining an influencer’s efficacy in digital terms. In plain words, the engagement rate is the percentage of an account’s followers who have actually engaged with a specific post. Through this metric potential influencer red flags such as unengaged followers or, even worse yet: fake followers can be detected. Generally speaking, on platforms such as Instagram, engagement rates higher than 3% are highly favourable.

Gulf Reps

Attaining an excellent influencer to brand fit is akin to having an uncountable number of well-travelled individuals suggesting your brand to their friends. In marketing, nothing is more formidable than positive word of mouth from an individual’s friend. That’s exactly what we strive for here at Gulf Reps—selecting travel influencers that might as well as be talking to their childhood friends. Because their suggestions always fall on attentive ears. We only work with a handful of the most successful travel influencers who have a proven ability to drive value to our clients.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 316 6333 or write to us at sammy@gulfreps.com

The Highest Spending Tourist Types to Target

From backpackers to business tourists and even religious pilgrims, the different types of travellers are endless. In this blog, we delve into the highest spending tourist types using their nation/region of origin as a medium of comparison. Read on to discover the ideal tourist type for your brand or business.

Highest Spending Tourist Types: Asia

Arab Tourists

Arabia is a region known for its wealthy nationals and their lavish spending habits; it should therefore come as no surprise that the average Arab traveller spends the most on tourism. That is around $3,000 per trip, according to The State of Middle East Outbound Travel 2019. During 2017, travellers from Qatar spent $5,000 as pre-departure expenditures, while UAE travellers spent $4,753, and Kuwaitis $3,068. Known to stay for longer holidays and have an affinity for more luxurious offerings, the Arab traveller is a highly sought-after tourist. Data from VisitBritian from 2018 showed that the top 5 spending nationals in trips to the UK were predominantly Arabs, with the exception of Chinese nationals making the list. With Kuwait having the top average expenditure per individual and UAE having the lowest of the 5, expenditures ranged from $3,391 to $2,030. Others included in that list were Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 

Apart from their economy-boosting spending habits, Arab travellers are known to stay twice as long as the average tourist and are also known to repeat visits. That’s why acquiring one Arab family to your travel destination is the equivalent of obtaining six families from other regions. Chiefly of the Muslim faith, this tourist type is fond of conservative environments/excursions and halal foods.

Chinese Tourists

Now it can be argued that this one is just a play on statistics and that due to Chinas vast population, there are likely to be higher instances of wealthy tourists who like to engage in extravagant holidays. However, it is also a fact that Chinas easing of travel restrictions and the emergence of a newly rich Chinese middle class has also contributed to their making this list. Furthermore, the availability of direct flights to premiere destinations such as Spain also makes travel easier for the Chinese. With the number of Chinese people owning passports steadily increasing, there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping this trend.

Highest Spending Tourist Types: North America

American Tourists

According to research, travel is America’s favourite use of disposable income. The average American spends $1,900 on an average trip that usually lasts around a month. While the majority of the younger American populations (Millenials) travel for “experience tourism” purposes or to “find one’s self”, older individuals (35 years and above) lean more towards areas where there are exquisite foods and drinks. On average, the American traveller spends most of their money on travel food, as sampling local delicacies is a pattern among this tourist group.

Highest SpendingTourist Types: Europe

German Tourists

According to one source, “ (A) Germans’ average annual expenditures for holiday travel significantly surpass spending on automobile purchases.” Famed for their sheer numbers and their unsurprising appearance the moment you remark “there’s no one here,” Germans wear the “travel champions” crown proudly and deservedly. The German tourist is relatively unadventurous in their choice of food and trying local cuisines. They do, however, eat and drink enormous amounts. Their colossal appetite informs their choice of accommodation (something else they spend very liberally on). It is an absolute must that the hotel they check-in at must allow generous helpings at the breakfast buffet. The German travellers eating habits is an excellent cornerstone to base your targeting efforts around. Generally speaking, German travellers prefer outdoor excursions and sunny ones at that. Making beaches an obvious key attraction for them. They also enjoy exploring cultural hot zones such as museums, castles and monuments. 

Gulf Reps and the Highest Spending Tourist Types

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, with over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 316 6333 or write to us at sammy@gulfreps.com

5 Technologies that Will Revolutionize Travel


The moment you think humanity has outdone itself and produced another groundbreaking innovation that won’t be topped, at least for a good while, you’re forced to think again. It seems like we’re waking up to crazy new inventions every morning as we inch closer and closer to a reality that cannot be compared to anything but a science fiction film. In this blog, we aim to outline the top 5 travel technologies that are going to make your favourite fictional film non-fiction. The blog is divided into two parts: a) Future Travel Technologies and b) Travel Technologies Available Now.



Future Travel Technologies

1) The Metaverse

Being our favourite on the travel technologies list, it’s fitting that we start with it. Announced in early November by none other than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the world witnessed in disbelief as Mark presented the concept for what most people predicted was set for aeons from now. The augmented reality that will be accessible through smart glasses is set to revolutionize how people connect online. By wearing smart glasses, individuals will be able to enter a real-time virtual version of a familiar environment such as their workplace or an entirely new digital world — all from the comfort of their home.

When it comes to the travel industry, the same infrastructure that is supposed to make working from home more effective can be used by tourism industry staff (imagine hologram tour guides) and by travellers themselves. Although some detractors guess that the Metaverse‘s effect is going to be a far cry from beneficial. Their claims that individuals opting into the virtual world instead of purchasing real-life vacations — or even simple outdoor living, is a bit far fetched, and at most, highly romantic of dystopian sci-fi fantasies. On the contrary, the Metaverse actually has a lot to offer the travel industry, especially when it comes to sharing travel experiences with those close to us. At pandemic times like these, for example, the Metaverse can also be used to reduce contact between vacationers and tourism staff by the latter’s use of hologram versions of themselves. In short, the Metaverse will revolutionize:

  • How travellers can test destinations or even hotels before travelling.
  • How they can navigate their way around a location once they are there.
  • How they can share their experiences with others.



i) Think VR Familiarization Trips Except More Intense

VR familiarization trips usually come in the form of a recorded video of a destination that users can watch on a screen or VR device while being able to control the angle from which the camera is shooting. Through this, they can glimpse every angle of the recorded area as the video proceeds. It’s as if the person’s face was the camera, and wherever their face looks is what is displayed. With the Metaverse, however, an individual can jump into the desired location, move freely and see exactly what individuals in that location see at that moment.



ii) Using the Metaverse for Navigation

Instead of pulling out a device to continuously look down at, to find your way around an area, the Metaverse has the potential to allow the environment itself to speak to you and give you on-site directions. Picture a virtual tour guide robot that hovers around and points you in the right direction. Or even picture the very arrow displays found on map apps on your phone, popping up in front of you in real life and highlighting the way. In the same way your environment in the Metaverse can direct you, it can also inform and educate you. 

Although Oculus VR headsets are getting lighter and less cumbersome as time proceeds, walking around with one of these wrapped around your head may be a little odd. Luckily there are talks of making a more user-friendly headset and even an eye lens version in the not so distant future.  



iii) Sharing Your Trips with Those Close to You

Imagine that you’ve travelled to France, but a family member who wanted to come along couldn’t make it. With the Metaverse, that family member can be with you as a hologram and see everything you see. And for those who aren’t ready to actively engage in the vacation as an overseas hologram, parts of the experiences can be exported to them. They can then view these 3D pieces of virtual art from the comfort of their home. Furthermore, this platform will also make playing a game of ping-pong on the streets of Tokyo with your friend who is on the other side of the globe a stunning reality.



2) Vertical Take-off Air Taxis (eVTOL)

The long-anticipated moment where an aeroplane starts closing into its final destination and the geographical and infrastructural features of the region begin to become apparent is surreal. The few minutes right before landing are the most entertaining. It looks like that is a sight travellers can expect to get used to seeing. According to Uber, air taxis will be available for everyone in the near future. Getting a birds view of your vacation area every time you are out and about may be within our proverbial doorsteps.



Travel Technologies Available Now

3) Smart Robots

Now for something a bit closer to the present moment and one of the travel technologies already in service across some parts of the world. Robots are starting to replace humans as receptionists in hotels and other similar jobs. The advantages they offer range from their being available 24/7 and their speed in completing processes and accepting requests as compared to a human. True, unemployment is already an issue, but these robots have proven to be a valuable safety measure in current times. Even beyond that, a mix of both a human and robot workforce will produce great synergy. This way, smart robots can carry out the tasks that humans deem troublesome or risky, while humans focus on more pertinent tasks.

Further to the first point, some robots are being designed to serve food and complete other catering tasks. These smart pieces of aluminium will also come in handy when it comes to engaging with guests through different languages. This is because a singular bot can learn many languages and therefore be fit to serve all nationalities. Smart robots can also aid in pinpointing customer preferences by collecting customer data and utilizing it for a better customer experience and much more.



4) The Ambassador Interpreter from Wavery Labs

“Clip Ambassador to your ear and start chatting.” Ambassador is about half the size of your palm and can clip onto either of your ears. Turn the device on and translate other languages as you hear them in real-time. Alternatively, you can speak, and the device will translate your words to listeners. Coming with 20 languages and over 40 dialects, the Ambassador is set to revolutionize communication for travellers. Now all you have to worry about is not being part of any cultural misunderstanding. Maybe Wavery Labs can make guides for these cultural ques on their next release.



5) Smart Luggage

Ranging from suitcases that simply allow you to charge your smartphone/tab to devices that connect to your smartphone to monitor and control your luggage, and finally, suitcases that actually follow you around. Brands such as OVIS and Travelmate boast that last feature. Although both suitcases can be pulled around manually if the user desires to do so, the OVIS Auto-follow Suitcase once engaged, releases an additional set of wheels and starts to follow its owner based on a smart bracelet worn around their wrist. Don’t worry about your suitcase being a menace to other travellers as these suitcases come equipped with travel collision technology.



Enough About Travel Technologies Let’s Talk Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East. With over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 316 6333 or write to us at sammy@gulfreps.com