The travel industry is among those that have been hit the hardest due to COVID-19. In fact, the pandemic has put up to 50 million travel and tourism jobs at risk, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
This puts many travel bloggers and influencers in a rather precarious position. They primarily rely on affiliates and sponsors to make money. At present, neither are the consumers psyched to travel for leisure, nor are the brands ready to spare luxuriously on marketing. Furthermore, this isn’t just about a few weeks. Even when the world governments lift the lockdowns, people would still be vary and uninterested in traveling out of fears; this would be the case for some months in the best-case scenario.
“Many influencers report feeling in a state of purgatory. They’ve reached out to brands, but it’s nearly impossible to get any answers,” reports New York Times, adding “when your income depends on promoting travel, staying home comes at a cost.”
If you’re a travel blogger or influencer, admittedly, these are difficult times. But still, you shouldn’t run into paranoia or despair. Strategically, there’s plenty of things you can do to turn this dull period into an opportunity for yourself. This could perhaps be a great time for you to create a groundwork for yourself so that when the market gets back on track, you can unlock a much higher pace and exponential growth.
Build Your Personal Brand
Having a strong brand is the cornerstone of enjoying sustainable income. However, don’t get it twisted here… “Strong brand” is much more than just about the number of followers you have on Instagram. It has to do with how many people know you and engage with you online. A strong personal brand is about having people trust you.
Indeed, building a personal brand is easier said than done. It requires efforts and, most importantly, consistency. For the starters, start publishing more content across all major platforms – from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to LinkedIn, Medium and your blog. Frictionless communication will help you connect with your audience better; this will enable you with opportunities to build a relationship with them.
Spread to Different Segments
Instead of being a “travel blogger” or “travel influencer”, become a blogger or influencer. Let traveling still be your core niche. But do spread your wings to diversify your brand value and income stream.
Do share different angles of your life rather than just focusing on traveling. Love cooking? Post videos on YouTube of you cooking. A history buff? Tweet and create a thread of stimulating conversation around the evacuation of Dunkirk around WW2. Into astronomy? Create a blog post around top space movies.
The key is to expand the horizon of your brand. This will provide you with more opportunities to make money.
At the same time, you can directly jump into different ways to earn money. Dropshipping, stock trading, live streaming – there are many ways.
Work With Long-Term Clients
This is an important lesson that this pandemic and recession will leave travel bloggers and influencers with. Instead of working on one-off projects just because they are paying you well, the focus should always be on the long-term clients-cum-partners. In any industry, building relationships is a reliable economic safety net; when you’re struggling, you can always rely on these relationships.
So, instead of finding an affiliate product, find businesses who you can work with on a long-term basis. Even if the pay isn’t very high in the initial stage, treat its consistency, reliability, and security as pros. Find travel agencies who you can work with. There are many tour and travel agencies that are always looking for bloggers and influencers who can boost their business. Strike a long-term deal with them; partner with them; genuinely help them grow their business.
Contrary to the popular notion, being a blogger and influencer doesn’t have to be a financially risky job where you earn a lot in one month and go two months without any income. On the back of long-term deals, you can enjoy a consistent stream of income.
Turn It Into An Opportunity
Travel bloggers and influencers are struggling around the world at present. You don’t have to be one of them! Make this pandemic and recession into an opportunity for yourself. Let this be a turning point for you to make your brand even bigger and your income more consistent. A lot of businesses will fall and perish. There are also those who will thrive. Be one of those latter. Be smart in your strategies and approach. Survive this period and then off you go to thrive.