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Opinion

The Ethics of Producing Travel Content Post Pandemic – How do Creators Ensure That They Are Not Becoming Out of Touch with Their Audiences?

In the lead up to the first lockdown, there was definitely a formula that worked for travel content. From couples posing in the waterfalls of Bali and beaches of Tulum, to floating breakfasts and beautiful sunsets from beautiful houses in the Maldives - we’re aware of many examples of how successful aspirational travel content was made.

The issue with these popular destinations, however, is they were beginning to get overpopulated. Communities that weren’t used to accommodating large groups of tourists were needing to make adjustments that they couldn’t always make. However, while the pandemic has brought its own issues, it’s possible it may have presented more of an opportunity for a new take on influencer travel content. 

In March 2020, many travel content creators had to do some serious reflection. Did they quit creating content, or pivot? Many decided to pivot and keep themselves at the forefront of the conversation. This meant taking elements of travel, like culture and food, art and sport, and creating this type of content at home. Which opened up many avenues for both creators and brands, as well as opening up a portal for audiences into their favourite parts of travel. 

Many took to clueing themselves upon their favourite destinations, this also led to taking a further interest in improving things for the better, both for local communities and the environment.

So what does content look like moving forward?

Content creation as an industry isn’t going anywhere, but it will likely continue to evolve. The next few months are likely not going to be straightforward. We may see some clumsiness from creators – that’s almost guaranteed. But the key to producing safe travel content will in fact be simple, just as long as content creators continue to follow government guidelines (local and international), as well as planning accordingly and taking the necessary precautions to share safe travel practices.

Sure, there have been a handful of stories over the last year about influencers that have shone a poor light on the industry. However, when we take a closer look, these individual cases have come about as a result of little to no planning, zero research and not following guidelines. This has, of course, led to social media audiences unfollowing and ‘cancelling’ their favourite creators. 

Just as with any business, professional travel creators are typically knowledgeable about keeping up with the latest government guidelines, acting cautiously, and being mindful of where they head to. 

Personally, I would go so far as to say that some travel creators and brands have created some of their most successful collaborations this last year. In building strong relationships with both brands and their communities, many will be in trusted places to aid the return of the travel industry, first at home and then abroad.

Maintaining audience relationships

Generally speaking, some content creators will get a read for the ‘community climate’ from their surroundings and reading the news. Otherwise, through the use of their app analytics and insights, content creators can get a general gauge for what their audience is tuning in for. Some may also choose to start conversations on Instagram Stories, tweets, and lives as well. 

But as for when it’s ‘right’ to travel again, it’s very much the call of the individual creator to make this decision. There will likely be no ‘right’ time. However, providing there is transparency with audiences and safety measures are actively followed, there is little reason for major fall out.

The travel industry is actively looking at ways to begin operating again, both at home and abroad. And content creators will continue to be an engaging way to encourage audiences to invest when they feel ready to do so.

Future of travel

After a tough period for many around the globe, in which many are taking a serious look at what they are literally buying into, there is now a new opportunity for content creators – an opportunity to demonstrate a more mindful way to approach many of our everyday actions and purchases. Which will include how and who we are travelling with. 

There may have been questions raised around content creation and influencer marketing over the pandemic. But content has such a quick turnover, and decisions can be made just as quickly. It will certainly be interesting to see who is leading conversations that are in line with this ‘kinder’ approach.

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