News & Views

What We’re Reading: The Evolution of Canadian Media Influence in Travel Marketing

Over the years there has been an increase in digital travel magazines in Canada. Amid the changing media landscape, we’ve seen the emergence of “digital influencers.” These are individuals who have developed a loyal following online – their content (words, images and videos) can motivate their audience to act. Trust in “a person like me” has increased significantly since 2009, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, and “digital influencers” are considered in the “people like me” category among consumers. This makes these influencers excellent brand advocates and niche promoters in the tourism space, especially when their passions and interests align with a destination or hotel’s brand and its attributes.

Consumer research shows while print media serves as a form of travel inspiration, digital media serves as a reminder of that inspiration and helps consumers move closer to booking. As a result, DMOs have been revamping their PR strategies and transitioning from working solely with traditional print journalists to expanding to accommodate the emerging digital influencer.

So what does the rise in digital influencers mean for the future of print editorial?

1. Traditional Print Media is Here to Stay

Editorial still plays an important role in inspiring travelers. DMOs will remain actively engaged in working with editors and freelance writers to develop story angles on behalf of their destination. These deeply researched and well-written features help to build the destination’s brand awareness among consumers.

2. The Value of Print Media Brands Are Rising

DMOs will continue to target the editors and freelance contributors of top tiered media to secure their destinations stories are shared in these media outlets. As Consumers are showing loyalty to publication brands, such as Dreamscapes and The Globe & Mail, there is a shift of importance from the “individual journalist voice” to the value of the media brand.

3. Only the Most Relevant Digital Influencers Will Survive

With the rise of digital influencers, the market is becoming saturated, and with the ability to purchase followers, consumers are becoming more savvy in differentiating between credible influencers. Therefore, DMOs must remain current on the relevancy of their influencers to create and sustain authentic partnerships.

4. Innovators Will Thrive

Traditional journalists are now also stepping into the digital influencer space in efforts to augment influence or as another source of revenue. Whatever the motive, this is an excellent opportunity for DMOs to increase efficiency by tapping two markets, both print and online, with one journalist.

Whether you’re a journalist who is fighting to make a living doing what you love or a public relations practitioner struggling to leverage the value of digital influencers, being prepared for inevitable market change is crucial. If there’s one thing we can count on – it’s change.

A version of this article was written by Karyl Leigh Barnes and first appeared in the Travel Media Association of Canada newsletter.

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