That was the message from Graham Painter, founder of media and communications agency Cream, who said the rise of political populism and “fake news” had led to an “erosion of trust” between customers and brands, leading consumers to question experts when it came to booking travel.
Speaking at the ttgluxury Seminar in London last week, Painter said as a result, consumers were turning to individuals, such as YouTube stars and Instagram personalities to make purchasing choices.
“The whole world of influencers has just super-charged the world of marketing,” he told delegates.
Painters said the days of travel firms being able to rely on “a splash of TV ads during January peaks” were gone due to the rise of personalised media with smartphones and tablets.
He explained how the average adult now consumed eight hours of media via those channels each day - up 15% since 2015.
Painter was joined onstage by colleague Charlotte Parks-Taylor, Cream’s director of strategy and insight.
Parks-Taylor said she believed there was currently “an oversupply” of influencers in the marketplace creating travel content and warned that quality did vary as a result.
“There’s ways of doing [social media influencing] right and then people from [reality TV shows] The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea who are saying ‘buy this teeth whitener’,” said Parks-Taylor.
She said Cream boasted a stable of 60 influencers working with brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, Raffles and Kurt Geiger.
Speaking about Cream’s experience working with influencers, she urged travel firms thinking of using influencers to “maximise the most of your assets” by setting out guidelines for the content influencers were being paid to create.
Painter added that he believed there would soon be a “shaking out of the influencer tree” leading to influencers producing better quality content for a lower price.