Global: Are social media influencers worth the money for the air travel and hotel industries?
November 13th, 2022, Bhavika Bansal

Global: Are social media influencers worth the money for the air travel and hotel industries?

Positioned to grow by about 30.3% annually through 2028, the influencer marketing industry has doubled since 2019. Influencer marketing focussed platforms raised more than USD 800 million in funding in 2021 while influencer marketing service offerings grew by 26% globally. And with Instagram being used by 80% of brands engaged in influencer marketing, a social media influencer's place in a brand's overall marketing strategy is undeniable. But how much of a hold do influencers have on consumers when it comes to purchasing various products and services?

A recent YouGov study – conducted across 18 global markets - reveals that more than two fifths of global respondents (46%) are most likely to notice endorsements by social media influencers when it comes to purchasing clothes. They are closely followed by consumers who are ‘a lot’ or ‘a little’ likely to notice influencer endorsements for grocery & food items (45%) and out-of-home entertainment (44%).

Air travel brands and hotels (41%) share the fifth place – among product/service categories in which consumers notice endorsements by social media influencers – with healthcare & food supplements (41%) and media streaming services (41%). They significantly outpace the respondents who notice such endorsements for tickets for sports events (31%) and gambling/bookmaking services (21%).

Taking a closer look at air travel and hotel brands, data reveals that consumers who are not at all influenced by endorsements from social media influencers (52%) form a majority over consumers who notice such endorsements.

This may spell disappointing news for travel providers - including travel agents, hotels, destination marketing organisations, airlines, and more – who, in sync with the burgeoning impact of social media influencers, are increasingly exploring newer ways to leverage meaningful partnerships with travel influencers and trend-makers. Nevertheless, though, that still leaves a significant chunk of would-be travellers who do take note of influencer endorsements.

Outpacing the global audience, more than two-fifths of consumers in Italy (42%) take notice of influencer endorsements for air travel and hotel services. However, some European markets (Sweden, 29%; Poland, 28%; Germany, 25%; GB, 22%) are considerably less likely to mirror this sentiment. Notably, Danish respondents (19%) are the least likely of all markets to notice air travel & hotel endorsements by social media influencers.

The Americas register similarly disparate opinions. While consumers in the US (68%) and Canada (58%) are more likely to not be influenced by endorsements of air travel and hotel brands, more than half of Mexican consumers (52%) say they do take notice of such endorsements.

Consumers in APAC markets are more likely to notice travel influencer endorsements than in other global markets. Less than a quarter of Indian (23%) and Indonesian (20%) consumers say they are not at all influenced by influencer endorsements when purchasing air travel services & hotels. While this number rises in China (32%), Hong Kong (43%), and Singapore (44%), it is still significantly less than the global average.

Three quarters of consumers in the UAE (75%) - the highest of all markets – take note of influencer endorsements in their air travel and hotel services purchase decisions with less than two-tenths (19%, the lowest among all regions) who say they are not at all influenced.

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Methodology: YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18 and over in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 513 and 2,015 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in September 2022. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.