Honida Beram is a cruise blogger, journalist and content creator. Her passion for cruising has grown into the highly successful Cruising With Honey blog, social media community and soon to be launched magazine.
This is one of many letters received in response to an opinion piece titled ‘Why the travel industry should cancel influencers’ published in TravelBulletin earlier this week. Read the original article by Myles Stedman HERE.
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You know cancel culture has reached new heights (or lows) when there are calls for an entire career to be dragged up to the gallows and unceremoniously dismissed and ultimately discarded.
Whether you abhor influencers or religiously follow their adventures, is it right to make one sweeping statement and deligitimise people who are making a living using their skills, all in the name of holier-than-thoughness?
Being an influencer is a career.
Let’s further unravel the negativity surrounding the term ‘influencer’. Why does it have such an undesirable connotation in Australia? And furthermore, why is it demonised by some in the travel industry who a) are inflexible and unwilling to changing their marketing habits b) don’t fully understand the growing influence and power of social media.
I’ve met influencers from around the world who are creative, hard-working, generous and highly esteemed in their countries. But in Australia, they are looked down and the term is used almost like a dirty word.
This idea to cancel influencers is a perfect example of Tall Poppy Syndrome.
Over the last few years, I’ve travelled and cruised the world on partnerships formed with numerous cruise lines. I’m completely transparent about my collaborations and work almost the entire time while on board a ship. Filming, editing, writing, interviewing. This takes time and energy and skills I’ve honed over a 30-year career in media.
I never used to use the term influencer, rather journalist or blogger, but ironically it was Myles Stedman (who I highly regard) who coined the term ‘cruisefluencer’ in an article in Cruise Weekly when referring to me. Since then, most people refer to me as an influencer, so I’ve learnt to accept this label.
I’ve built a career combining my love of travel and writing, but because I’m now deemed an ‘influencer’ my hard work should be scorned and written off. Doesn’t seem fair and definitely not in the spirit of the travel industry that is built on fulfilling people’s dreams.
Ultimately, the choice is to be made by brands who use influencers. And, before signing up the prettiest bikini-clad model or handsome famous chef with millions of followers (not that there’s anything wrong with using beauty or celebrity), a few questions need to be asked. What is the value of using influencers in their marketing campaigns? Do they add value? Will they align with their brand values and achieve their marketing and sales objectives?
Myles Stedman makes some interesting points about whether the impact influencers have on travel is always good. And herein lies the responsibility to choose an influencer that is trusted, has integrity and can illustrate a positive impact. Is the aim to reach millions of people indiscriminately or to employ an influencer who can reach your target, niche market?
In any industry there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ examples. But it would be very short-sighted to lump all influencers in the same basket.
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is to embrace this ever-evolving, rapidly growing trend.
It’s an added feather in the cap of any marketing team’s multi-pronged approach. The only advice I can shed is to do your research and choose wisely.