How To Work With Digital Influencers: Caroline and Craig, Y Travel
March 15, 2018
Kalyra and Savannah Makepeace have stepped foot in more destinations at ten and six years old than many adults have in their entire lives.
From Singapore and Australia to Alabama and Mississippi, the girls have been trotting the globe since they were in diapers. They make up half of their dynamic travel blogging family, Y Travel, alongside their parents, travel bloggers Caroline and Craig Makepeace. To defy the idea that having a family and going on travel adventures are mutually exclusive goals, Y Travel set out on a quest to inspire families around the world to travel. These efforts have earned them over 4.5 million loyal followers who closely rely on the Makepeaces for family travel inspiration.
According to a recent study from the American Automobile Association (AAA), 35% of travelers will take a vacation with their families this year. This core demographic of travelers is constantly looking for inclusive travel ideas and often relies heavily on family travel bloggers’ expertise, including Y Travel! Read on to discover what makes family travel influencer marketing unique and what Y Travel looks for when working with a destination:
In 140 characters or less, describe Y Travel.
Y Travel creates inspirational content that provides useful strategies and resources to help readers unplug from the chaos, travel more and create better memories.
How long have you two been traveling as a family?
Our daughters have been traveling with us since they were born. Their first international trip was at six months old for our eldest (Kalyra) and eight weeks old for our youngest (Savannah). Our trips were more short-term trips, away one or two weeks, and weekend getaways. In 2013, we began full-time travel with an 18-month road trip around Australia.
How is being a family travel blogger unique within the travel blogger calling?
It’s more challenging. It’s way more expensive. You have way more responsibilities.
You have less freedom, as you must take into account your children. There are many activities and experiences you can no longer do, and some destinations aren’t as attractive with kids.
We don’t have hours to spend crafting the perfect Instagram photo—which we actually like, as we love to present the real travel experience.
We have to plan more to ensure the girls are comfortable and safe and have experiences that are engaging and fun for them. Unless you have children, you’ll never understand just how much time is a luxury.
How do you balance being full-time travelers and being full-time parents, too?
It’s about understanding your values. What is most important to you? Our family has figured that out, and so our lives are crafted to align with that.
Sometimes that means we are traveling for weeks at a time, paying little attention to business work or schoolbook work, and other times we’re hunkered down for a week focused just on those things.
What we are focused on is creating a lifestyle that involves freedom, health, joy, love, connection, abundance, contribution and growth. These are our values, and we make sure our choices and actions reflect them.
How much do the girls play directly into the places you travel, or whether or not you’ll take an opportunity?
The girls have a huge influence on where we travel and what opportunities we take on. We recently went on a cruise and visited Universal Studios and Legoland in Florida, as we knew it was a dream trip for the girls.
We do not take on opportunities to showcase the family travel experience if our girls are not invited to come—it’s incredible how many times this has been presented to us. We don’t believe you can be a family travel expert if you have that destination experience without the kids.
When we do travel to a destination with the girls, we ask for their input on where they want to go and what they want to do and see. We’ve been intentional in finding activities we like to do as a family when we visit destinations, such as stand-up paddle boarding, hiking, zip lining, rock climbing and kayaking.
What makes a destination “family-friendly” in your eyes?
“Family-friendly” is not checking off a label. It’s an attitude and an atmosphere. It’s being welcoming and respectful towards children. It’s seeing them as present participants in the travel experience, not a side event. It’s an experience that helps them learn, interact and have fun.
If a destination is family-friendly, it has activities and offerings that engage the children and were designed with them in mind. For us, we look at outdoor activities, interactive and engaging attractions, and fun places to eat that have interesting kids’ menus and activity packs.
How do you measure ROI when working with brands?
We can give immediate results like engagements, page views, time on site, keyword ranking, click-throughs bookings et cetera. We like to give those results further down the track at six months and 12 months as well, so the long-term return on investment can be measured and recognized.
We can share the buzz we’ve generated through comments and extended reach through mentions on other publications and media outlets that aren’t our own. We try very hard to keep the communication lines open and develop long-term relationships with the brands we work with so they can see these benefits.
Fill in the blank: “I wish destinations and brands would _______ when working with me as a digital influencer.”
Look more at the long-term influence and expertise we have.
We’re not bouncing around from one destination to another; we’re creating a travel story and in-depth expertise around that. We’re traveling slowly and deeply around the US so we can have true, immersive travel experiences. This means our community knows that if they want information on travel in the US, we can give them the best tips to help, as we’ve been living the real experience.
What’s one destination you haven’t yet gotten the chance to work with but want to work with?
South Africa. It’s one of our favorite countries, and we’d love to take the girls to experience Africa—but we know the girls would say VisitBritain so they can follow the Harry Potter trail!