There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the majority of industries, with the self-employed among those who have been hit the hardest by being left unable to work – including many of your favourite influencers.
While the majority of influencers have been able to switch their content fairly seamlessly to being centred around staying at home – many making the move towards online shopping hauls, home improvement diaries and sit-down discussion videos – not all influencers are able to shift their style quite so easily!
For travel influencers, staying at home isn’t particularly conducive with the content that they produce, with many making their money from sponsored trips, paid reviews of hotels, bars and restaurants and creating content centred entirely around their globetrotting lifestyles. With all of the above either illegal, frowned upon or logistically difficult at some point during the last year, this has suddenly become a whole lot more difficult.
So, how do you keep your career afloat as a travel influencer when travelling itself is out of the question?
For London-based travel influencer Hannah Tafft – the owner and manager of travel photography account Postcards By Hannah – it’s been all about utilising content from previous trips.
“I am currently sharing a lot of ‘throwbacks’ and it’s encouraged me to edit photos I hadn’t had time to even look at before,” Hannah told Influencer Intelligence, “I’ve tried to adapt as best I can by snapping shots in my back garden!”
Hannah explained that, as long as she’s mindful about specifying that the photos are from an era before the Coronavirus pandemic, she hasn’t had to deal with too much negativity – but notes that there is a fine line where followers could find her positivity and travel content frustrating in the current climate.
“I have had to be mindful about what I post. Everyone is highly sensitive at the moment, which is understandable,” she said, “I am trying to find a balance between creating uplifting captions whilst not looking like I’m having a whale of a time whilst others suffer.”
Despite being able to keep her followers entertained with these ‘throwback’ posts and sweet, homely content featuring her dog, Hannah says that she does worry about having missed a whole year’s worth of opportunities to create anything new, even just within the UK itself.
Some influencers, however, have been able to make a little more use of the natural beauty spots and incredible scenery to be found within their own home country, like Alex Waltner, the owner of the Swedish Nomad Instagram account.
Unlike many countries around the world, Sweden has never had any strict restrictions on travel within the country itself, meaning that Swedish nationals have been able to make the most of the content creation opportunities on their doorstep.
While Waltner’s plans and work were certainly affected at the beginning of the pandemic – he’d been in New York at the time and had been forced to cancel an upcoming trip to Venice – he has since been posting photographs with his girlfriend Christine in many of Sweden’s biggest beauty spots.
Alex is also confident that, while the pandemic has certainly come with hardships for travel influencers, the end of the pandemic could certainly see their fortunes turn around for the better.
“There will be a huge boost in travel bookings as soon as everything calms down,” he said, “It might go the other way around and result in more money spent on advertising, especially on travel influencers, to show that it’s safe.”
While creating alternative new content like Alex or utilising previously unseen content like Hannah gives travel influencers a way to keep followers interested and stop their fanbase from dwindling in any way, it isn’t translating quite as well financially.
Hannah has previously shared her concerns regarding the lack of brands that are looking to build partnerships and give paid sponsorships to travel influencers during this time, especially while many other influencers have been able to continue producing sponsored content throughout the pandemic.
“I think (influencers) are all hard hit, but yes, I think directly it’s travel influencers that are hit the hardest,” she said, “I keep finding myself wishing I was a food blogger as then I would at least be able to create content at home and perhaps work with brands that are seeing an uplift in sales.”
The UK’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown will certainly be welcome news for Hannah, as domestic travel within self-contained accommodation is given the green light from 12th April, opening the door to getting back to creating new content.
However, it could be months before it’s back to ‘business as usual’ for thousands of travel influencers across the world.
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