Influencers told to stop asking for free trips to help travel industry recover

Lifestyle

The travel industry is struggling to stay afloat as the coronavirus pandemic grounded flights, closed hotels and put a stop to foreign travel.

As restrictions start to ease and the world slowly opens up again, the industry is desperate to get back on its feet – and one blogger says influencers must play their part to help the industry bounce back.

Travel blogger Ana Silva O’Reilly, also known as Mrs O Around the World, is urging other bloggers and influencers to say no to freebies to help the travel industry come back from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The blogger has launched the #PayingOurWay movement encouraging travel influencers to pay for their own tours and stays when travel resumes, and cover it across their channels without asking for compensation.

The initiative encourages travel bloggers – many of whom are used to complimentary stays and other forms of compensation in return for the content they produce – to be patient in the return of press trips and ‘freebies’, and to do what they can to support the travel industry by paying for their own experiences and creating content about it for free.

The travel blogger, who has more than 17,000 followers on Instagram, says that she always books half of her own paid holidays every year, as well as being fortunate enough to enjoy some brand partnerships.

Ana says this allows her to keep a perspective on the investment which her readers and audience are putting into their travels – and also allows her to differentiate between a work trip and a normal holiday.

Given the impact the pandemic has had on the travel industry – particularly for family-run hotels, independent tour operators and other small businesses – Ana launched the #PayingOurWay initiative to encourage other bloggers and influencers to continue to invest in the industry to help them over this hurdle.

‘The impact which the pandemic has had on the travel industry is huge, and some small businesses may be in a situation where they really struggle to recover,’ says Ana.

‘As travel bloggers and influencers, we are intrinsically linked to the travel industry – ultimately, if the travel industry doesn’t get through this then travel bloggers will be left with very little to write about.

‘It will be a while before many travel businesses are able to work on brand partnerships once more, but if in that time we are able to continue to book our own trips and share our own experiences we should certainly keep doing that. This is why I have launched the #PayingOurWay movement.’

Mrs O Around the World is encouraging other travel bloggers and influencers to get involved with the movement by sharing the hashtag across their social channels and posting about the movement on their online blogs.

She is encouraging travel bloggers to start planning and booking their next trips once it is safe to travel again and to share those experiences with their audiences to keep travel inspiration alive.