Working with Trending Travel has opened my eyes to the promotional power of Instagram and influencers.
Like most social media channels, Instagram is dominated by “individuals”, who have millions of followers interested in the posts they share. A few business-like Trending Travel (Trending), who currently have over 500,000 followers on Instagram and Tik Tok, are followed because their content “Inspires”, but it’s important not to be overly commercial, as this is likely to turn off its social media-centric audience.
Trending Travel has already proven its power to partners as a “Brand Awareness” alternative to mainstream media such as TV. One example was the launch of Virgin Voyages, where Trending hosted 29 influencers who created posts and video reels, which generated a combined viewing of 16 million views within a 10-day period. At the same time, Trending Travel’s own film crew created a huge range of professional content to be used by both Trending and Virgin across all its media channels to create booking demand.
Keith Herman the CEO of Trending compares his business to a fishing “Trawler” with “influencer nets” that massively expand its consumer reach to “Inspire” customers to travel to a destination, hotel, or cruise.
Its Instagram age demographic is between 18-35, but with a surprisingly high holiday spending budget, with many travelling to long-haul destinations such as the Maldives and Dubai, as well as more traditional short-haul beach destinations.
Trending’s position at the “Inspiration” top of the booking funnel carry’s both positives and negatives. The obvious proven positive is that its brand advertising model can easily be measured by the number of views it delivers. However, the negative is that the demand it generates spins off to multiple channels, from online to traditional high-street shops and now homeworkers.
This is the next stage of the booking process is to “research and compare” prices for the hotel or destination promoted usually via google, rather than going directly to “book”. Hence, historically around 15% of traffic was captured by Trending Travels dynamic packaging site and converted into bookings, but 85% was lost to other travel providers.
The obvious solution was to team up with a business operating in the stage of the booking funnel directly below inspiration, which is “Comparison”. Trending, therefore, selected the UK’s largest holiday comparison player Icelolly Travel Group, to team up with to create its new “Inspire and Compare” booking funnel.
Trending will continue to take groups of influencers to destinations, such as Tenerife to create “Inspiration” to travel there, but each post will contain a “Compare prices” link, that goes directly to Icelolly’s Tenerife results page with the featured hotel at the top of the page. At this stage the customer can not only compare prices for that hotel from all the major travel business such as Easyjet Holidays, Jet2 holidays or On the Beach to name a few, for the dates they want to travel or explore cheaper hotel options in the same destination.
If the customer does want to book, they are seamlessly handed off by Icelolly to the highly optimised “Booking” sites of its partners, therefore creating a full end-to-end route from “Inspiration” to “Booking”.
This new booking funnel is exciting as it could offer customers a streamlined and quicker route to the best-priced holidays in a destination they have been inspired to travel to, but also deals with the large number of customers who are just inspired to go on holiday and are happy to go anywhere.
From a travel company’s point of view, it’s a brand-new booking funnel outside of the control of Google that delivers highly qualified leads. Instagram is no longer a dream creator, it’s a booking delivery path.
That’s something I think may get travel companies’ attention!