Tourism Society PR Network Meeting

Monday February 25, 2019

Tourism Society PR Network Meeting

25 Feb 2019

10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1


PRs & Travel Influencers:

“Everything you want to know about influencer relationships but were afraid to ask”


Over 50 people attended this stimulating debate regarding the growing use of influencers in travel marketing campaigns.


Alison Cryer FTS (AC) Representation Plus (Chair)

Michael Ball (MB) Traverse

Macca Sherifi (MS) Blogger/Content Creator

Fiona Anderson (FA) GEC PR

Naomi Ticehurst (NT) Weber Shandwick

Darika Ahrens (DA) MHP Communications


Anna Fenten and Catherine Owen of event sponsors Searcys welcomed attendees and outlined the excellent conference and meeting facilities available at the venue, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace. They also highlighted details of exclusive benefits available as a member of Searcys Club 1847 that was complimentary for attendees and Tourism Society members. Invitations to food and wine tastings, discounts on afternoon tea, cocktails and events were just some of the benefits on offer. To become a member free of charge, click here

Darren Khan of event sponsor TRAVLLR presented information on the services his company provides. He explained that TRAVLLR has experienced media, creative, production, digital, broadcast and publishing professionals who believe there’s a fairer way of building relationships between high-end travel and lifestyle customers and similarly high-quality creative supplier partners.

Alison Cryer FTS then opened the meeting by introducing the speakers.



  • 75% of social media content viewed is video – YouTube etc.
  • Influencer is a term that has become maligned following Fyre Festival fiasco, content creator is a preferred term (MS)
  • People still follow tribal patterns – this has not changed throughout the centuries – even though we are dealing with something new (digital platforms) people still stick with who they like and vice versa (DA)


Question: Are PR people engaging with ‘Influencers’ effectively?

  • Yes some are but there is a tendency for companies to use the same ones over and over (see DA comment above). This is not the best approach they need to examine more who would be the right influencers to work with on a campaign. Also there has have been a shift in the past year for PRs to move away from working with print journalists (MB)
  • PRs should be working with influencers – I am paid for my assignments – but I always try to add value by taking photos and shooting videos of the destinations I visit (MS)
  • PRs have to be smart about what they need to achieve. They have to get awareness/reach but also need to protect clients. Think of it as a trifle with different layers of influencers – so microbloggers as one layer, influencers with a huge following as another layer and so on (NT)


Question: How do you measure the effectiveness of campaigns/influencers?

  • Tools for tracking  – Upfluence, Hyper (YouTube) Social Listening, Social Blade (Instagram) – use your own network too, nothing like checking with other people in the industry for their views
  • Use your influencer for analytics. Ask for a campaign analysis report – this should be ongoing not just a one off – blogs are there for eternity, it might take months or even years – engagements will continue (MS)
  • Ask for reports – 3 or 6 monthly– take control – best thing to use is your brain – use tools that are out there but don’t forget these can be manipulated as some people will cheat! (MB)


Question: Should you pay for content, if so what are disclosure rules?

  • No one understands ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) rules for disclosure – how far back should you go with posts – a year – more? Whose responsibility is the disclosure – is it the influencer or the client? Do you keep making the disclosure with ongoing posts e.g. Instagram – post expires after 24 hours – do you keep disclosing?  I use an example of sunglasses that have been gifted to an influencer – do you have to keep disclosing if pictured or videoed in posts wearing them? ASA guidance not clear (MB)
  • Rules are confusing – very rare that I am not being paid to promote something. Platforms should make it easier to tag something that is sponsored or paid for (MS)
  • If money has changed hands it needs to be disclosed. Don’t want any ambiguity #ad #sponsored should appear in posts so the public know there has been a trade-off (NT)
  • Some influencers want to be paid – some don’t - not easy to justify to a client that an influencer going on a press trip (Maldives for e.g.) will want to be paid in addition.  Need to find ways of working – microbloggers for example – influencers with less of a following but more targeted/suited to the campaign (FA)
  • 90% of the work I carry out is paid for – I want to travel, tell stories and engage, but I need income. Organisations with smaller budgets could look at dealing with ‘someone small’ perhaps pay 4 influencers £250 each to experience a museum for a day (MS)



  • Always track a campaign and have a call to action (NT)
  • The best campaigns have a little bit of everything (MB)
  • Influencers are here to stay and they are becoming more professional in every aspect of the business (MS)
  • Not all influencers need to be paid – sometimes getting them excited in the brand is enough (FA)

The meeting was followed by networking with drinks and canapés.

Linda Moore, Bugsgang & Associates


The panel (l to r) – Michael Ball, Macca Sherifi, Alison Cryer, Fiona Anderson, Naomi Ticehurst and Darika Ahrens