Influencer Vs Agent

Influencer Vs Agent

What does your content say about you?

Recently I was talking with a new acquaintance, someone who booked her Disney trip for 2025 sans-agent. I told her if she had any questions to let me know and I could help. She said she was pretty good, she had been watching TikTok for tips and felt confident that they could handle it. That made me think about how I have been seeing over and over again, the age-old ‘people are asking me for travel advice but then booking on their own’, or even worse: the dreaded Costco… Why is that? My question to that agent would be: Is your content conveying that you are an agent or an influencer? What do I mean by that? 

Well, let’s discuss influencers real quick.


What is a social media influencer?

Social media influencers are people who have grown a large and engaged audience. They use their influence to recommend products or brands, give advice, and share experiences. They make money through views, brand deals, and sometimes they even sell their own products or services. Their job is the content creation and they are primarily paid through advertisers to sell their products or even paid by the platform itself because they keep people on their app which makes the app more money from advertisers. See the circle? It’s never-ending. 

Take a look at some of the popular creators on YouTube. Mammoth Club is a channel that features 3 friends traveling, sharing opinions and strategies, and promoting brands. Social Blade shows they have amassed almost 2 million views in the last 30 days. They estimate the channel alone has made anywhere between $484-$7.7K monthly. They also have partnerships with companies like Undercover Tourist and have their own monetized community. Similarly, Disney Food Blog makes anywhere between $1.4K-$22.3K monthly with 5.568M views in the last 30 days according to Social Blade. They also sell their merch and guides. 

These influencers create long-form content, but then also provide short-form content to post to social platforms. This leads viewers from their short-form content to their long-form content. By posting consistently they build these massive communities that they can monetize. 

Why do I say all this? Well, stick a pin in that for a second and let’s talk about travel agents.


What is a travel agent?

Okay, I get it, if you’re reading this you probably are a travel agent and want to roll your eyes and skip this part, but hold on, the similarities and differences are important here. 

So a travel agent is someone who uses their knowledge of travel to offer advice, handle the work of crafting a custom itinerary, book the trip through suppliers, follow up with clients…okay, I think you get it from here. The point is as travel agents we primarily make our money through commissions from bookings and planning fees if we choose to use a fee structure. So where influencers can get paid without a client, we need those individual bookings to make money. 

So how do we find clients? We find leads through many ways, probably the most popular is word of mouth/planning for friends and family. The second would be to market ourselves by making content. This is where it gets a bit tricky. 


Making influencer-style content, leading with service

So how do we make this amazing content that catches the eye of our ideal client while making sure they know we actually book the trip, not just entertain and give great tips?

First, we HAVE to know our service. We have to know what we offer before we can organically tell others. I know it feels silly, you may think ‘duh I plan awesome trips for awesome people’. I’m sure you do! But what does that entail? Do you meet with every potential client via Zoom? Do you craft daily itineraries customized for each travel party? Do you provide list, ideas, and strategy? What do you do that makes you special? That’s your service. Write it down and review it often. 

Second, we have to create a content strategy that makes sense for our goals. We don’t want to be throwing random videos and graphics on platforms just to say we posted. Doing this confuses the messaging. We need to provide clear CTA’s for every post. I’m not saying you should be doing hard sells in every Instagram reel, definitely not, but we need to have purpose with our posting. The purpose separates us from an influencer that is posting for engagement. Engagement is great but it's only the beginning of converting a viewer to a client. 

Overall, while both social media influencers and travel agents may create content related to travel, their approaches and objectives are distinct. Influencers focus on personal storytelling and entertainment, while travel agents prioritize providing valuable information and assistance to travelers.

I encourage you to audit your own social media by looking through the lens of a stranger coming across your content. Does it come across that you are offering a service? Can you tell what the service is?

P.S. here’s a little tip: If you have trouble formulating a call to action, ask ChatGPT to help you. It will give you one and from there you can make it your own!

Now go out there and lead with your amazing service, you’ve got this!

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