Continuing on from last month’s great interview with Tawanna Brown-Smith, we’re chatting to another speaker, or in this case speakers, who will be presenting the Traverse sessions at this year’s World Travel Market.
Sarah and Terry Lee will be speaking about the impact of digital influencers on the user journey and purchase funnel. A talk which we’re sure will be hugely popular with brands, destinations and influences as we look to show people the impact that good influencer outreach can have on sales and lead generation as well as how best to track and report on this.
Hi Sarah and Terry, can you tell us who you are and where you’re from?
We are Sarah & Terry Lee of LiveShareTravel, an award winning luxury travel and lifestyle site which we launched in 2010.
And you’re a blogging couple, how do you find travelling the world together and not getting sick of the sight of each other?
Well we have been together for over 15 years and married for almost 10 years, so we have a very solid foundation. We got engaged abroad, we married abroad, so travel is in our blood, plus we we enjoy each other’s company – so that helps.
Now, on to more business minded stuff. At WTM this year you’ll be talking about the user journey and the influencers’, well, influence, on that. Can you explain in just a few seconds what the user journey is, for those that may not know?
Bloggers have a loyal readership, which is focused on their niche. So we are trusted by, and relevant to our audience. This allows us to inspire and inform, while also being a conduit for readers to identify with a brand or product.
How easy is it to attribute a sale to blogging content (Socia media, posts, video etc.) as a touch point and what tips would you have for tracking?
Bloggers can and do drive direct bookings, but it is not the main reason to work with them nor should it be. Bloggers’ work leads to engagement, which can lead to sales. Travel is long-tail purchase decision, so it can be difficult to measure a sale as people rarely read, and then click to book, it can be a longer process. But a number of our clients identify sales made as a direct result of our campaigns through there own analytics. For tracking, analysis and ad value equivalent calculation, we employ an independent company called Brandseye.
Through your website you’d worked on some amazing campaigns with both brands and destinations, do you have one that stands out for you as a great example?
One was #LoveSabah, a campaign for Royal Brunei Airlines and Sabah Tourism. It aimed to promote Sabah, Borneo as a destination for weddings and honeymoons.
It resulted in well over 100% increase year-on-year in holidays to Sabah and flight bookings for Royal Brunei Airlines.
In just three months we achieved social media opportunities to see (OTS) of 52.3m, and an ad value equivalent of $1.1m.
The campaign also won the 2015 Innovative Campaign and Content Travel Media Award.
Do you feel that the way brands, agencies and destinations work with bloggers and other digital influencers will change much over the next year? If so, how?
Each year more and more brands, agencies and destinations want to work with bloggers as they see the success that their competitors are enjoying.
We expect to see more clients seeking bloggers to not only produce content on their own sites, but also for the client’s site and social media platforms as well.
What would the one piece of advice you could give to destinations and brands about their influencer outreach campaigns and activities be?
Bloggers are not all the same so results may vary. Not only do quality, approach and professionalism differ between bloggers, but there’s a vast difference between working with individuals and collective blogger teams. And this is reflected in the breadth and quality of content and the overall results.
One of the main problems we see when trying to justify spend on influencer campaigns to destinations and brands is a lack of solid reporting and ROI proof from influencers. What advice would you have for bloggers, YouTubers and other influencers here?
We don’t have that problem as our clients either report the direct increase in sales resulting from the campaign or increased brand engagement. Also, we use the independent company Brandseye to track, analyse and provide ROI figures for clients. So we would recommend bloggers undertake similar reporting, as clients rightly expect information to help them evaluate the success of blogger campaigns.
Finally… what number WTM conference will this be for you, and what are you most looking forward to?
This will be Sarah’s 10th year as she has been attending since she was managing editor of two travel magazines, while it will be Terry’s sixth year.
We are most looking forward to speaking at the Traverse session – of course. Also catching up with our many colleagues and clients from around the world, WTM provides a lovely opportunity for this.
They developed and organised the #LoveSabah campaign, winner of ‘Innovative Content and Campaign’, in the Travel Media Awards 2015, and runner up in the Travel Marketing Awards 2016.
They regularly partner with brands with everything from site sponsorships, to promotional packages and individual and collective influencer blogging campaigns.
Sarah’s a print journalist and editor of 20 years, and has worked on newspapers, and women’s, consumer and B2B travel magazines. Terry has a background in PR and communications of more than 20 years, principally in the challenging environments of politics and local government.