This time will be different, you say, as you book your next vacation. As you rifle through notes and bookmarked links, it’s clear that the lists of things to do and places to see are completely homogenized; as if each of these so-called guides and experts went through the same motions and experiences. This shouldn’t come as a surprise when you turn to typical sources such as TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, TIMEOut or Rough Guides, who tout their knowledge and authority about every destination under the sun. But what you need are ideas that reflect who you are as a traveler, not a tried and true agenda.

photographer-865295_1280That longing for a unique but personalized experience is what destination marketers are trying to appeal to. Creating campaigns to motivate vacationers like you and me to open our wallets and book hotels, packages, and dinner reservations take top priority. Recruiting high profile bloggers and Instagrammers boasting a few million followers — and becoming increasingly expensive to work with — may be out of reach. Not only is the ROI still questionable, but consumers can already see past the once blurry advertorial lines. In addition, influencer marketing is being closely watched by the FTC.

Travel marketers can still get creative with their limited budgets with the help of micro influencers.

Say, who? Micro influencers are individuals who’ve carved a small but highly loyal — and more importantly, authentic — audience by focusing their work on a specific area or topic. They exhibit a strong editorial viewpoint and possess a passion and knowledge about a particular subject matter, but have not made it their “day job.”

Working with micro influencers could be particularly beneficial to travel marketers pursuing a niche demographic.



Take South Dakota, Black Hills and Badlands Tourism. They’re going after prospective visitors from as far as China, Germany and the UK. The state has partnered with several regional tourism and marketing firms to create promotional videos. “South Dakota is a very unique place with an interesting combination of attractions, from Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse and Native American culture to a western feel that is the heart of America,” Brianne Maciejowski of Miles Media said. “We believe that will appeal to the international visitor.”

To complement their existing video strategy, South Dakota should consider the following:

– The Black Hills are known for their scenic hiking trails. Why not search for and recruit enthusiastic hikers who’ve blogged about their journeys?

– To promote South Dakota’s outdoor recreation activities, why not seek out backpackers with incredible aesthetic on Instagram?

– How about working with food bloggers to explore the state’s unknown dining experience?

South Dakota Tourism Board would not only benefit from a well-curated collection of social content, but would also evoke a genuine sense of belonging to prospective visitors through the lens of others. And that sense of belonging and ideas for unique experiences are what travelers are seeking for for their next vacation.