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What is it that Media Education students do? Well, for example media analysis on travel influencers


Media education as a field of study examines for example the role and influence of media in society. One related course is Critical Media Analysis and Erson, our first year student and Student Ambassador, has been examining the trend of digital nomads and the travel influencers´ industry.


Fascinating images? Splendid locations? Impressive lifestyle? All the way from Amalfi Coast in Italy, enjoying pasta and Aperol Spritz, to exploring colourful pathways of the Greek islands, then riding a camel through Wodi Rum desert in Jordan and ending up staring at the Northern Lights in Denali National Park, Alaska. Probably, I made your mind wander for a while. However, this is what top Instagram travel influencers portray to their followers.

The contemporary strategy of emphasizing images and videos as the main content of social media platforms, especially Instagram, has shifted advertisement and marketing to another level. According to Captiv8, globally well-known brands are constantly directing their marketing strategies from campaigns in traditional media outlets to social media influencing campaigns, therefore investing more than $225 million just in Instagram posts.

It happens often to all of us that while scrolling our Instagram feeds, we stop and stare at the stunning images captured all over the world by the above ‒ mentioned ‘digital nomads’, who appear to be on holidays all year round. Or at least, that is what their posts show us. The new trend of Instagram travel influencers or so called ‘digital nomads’ is a new form of social media marketing campaign with the aim of influencing followers and audiences. Travel influencers are the new era of traveling magazines but more effective because they can reach a larger audience with much less expense.

Travel influencers constantly travel to different destinations around the globe, posting the most prominent pictures with the aim of influencing their audiences to fly to that destination, book that hotel or buy products from that brand. Ibiza’s counsellor for tourism, Vicente Torres, argues that the role of travel influencers and Instagram marketing promoting the country (Spain) is increasing rapidly, often surpassing traditional marketing in terms of impact due to engagement from the loyal followers ( George-Parkin H., 2018). This statement gives a clear definition of the importance of travel influencers’ marketing nowadays. The pictures or travel destinations are especially inspired by the partnerships that the travel influencer has constructed with different hotels and resorts, destinations and brands. To simplify, Travel Influencer X has a partnership with Luxury Resort Y in Destination Z. The Travel Influencer X is invited to visit Luxury Resort Y for free for one week and during this time he/she keeps promoting his/her fabulous stay at Destination Z through pictures or video footage. Depending on the popularity of the travel influencers and his/her specific contract with brands or agencies, they get paid for the promotion as well.

It is important to mention that the trend of travel influencers, which is growing at a very fast pace, has a positive impact on exploring and promoting new travel destinations, inspiring people to travel, create and tell stories. According to MMGY Global 2017 Portrait of American Travelers, more than a third of travelers reported choosing a destination based partially or primarily on social media research, and 58 percent of millennial travelers documented their trips on social media themselves. To summarize, it is a powerful method of marketing and when is done well, it really works.

On the other hand, there is also the ‘hidden’ side or the reality behind the scenes which the followers of travel influencers are rarely aware of. In this blog post, I will point out and illustrate some facts and figures about the reality of travel influencers’ lifestyle which I have discovered while browsing through their profiles, blogs and interviews. Furthermore, I have analyzed several articles which indicate the ‘unspoken truths’ of travel influencers’ lifestyle.

This is an introduction to a longer article which includes following headlines and sub-themes. If you want to read more, you will find the original article here as a pdf.

  • REAL hard work and commitment
  • There is a legitimate industry behind the trend of travel influencers
  • Anyone can be an influencer. The increasing number of ‘fake’ influencers
  • Super saturated and edited pictures