We virtually sat down with three amazing Black travel influencers plus our new partner, BLACK GIRL DIGITAL, INC, to have a conversation about being Black in the travel industry and action steps for brands and tourism boards to take as they move to be more inclusive. The conversation was much needed, filled with data points and resources.
Our top take-aways:
- In 2018, Black travelers in the USA contributed nearly $63 Billion to the travel and tourism industry. Black travelers are traveling throughout the year to a variety of destinations and having a variety of experiences (from luxury to outdoor adventure and everything in between). And this is reflected in every Black influencer’s content!
- Black travelers need to see themselves represented in your marketing. If they aren’t, you’re providing false messaging that your destination is “not for them”, when it could be very welcoming. Black travelers and POC want to feel safe and comfortable traveling to your destination. Inclusivity is necessary.
- Black influencers have diverse audiences. They do not only have Black followers. Along with this, they each have their own unique perspectives and niches that their followers are excited about seeing in their feeds. Request media kits and details of their following if you want to further understand how they can help you reach your target markets.
- Explore long-term partnerships wherever possible. You cannot pay for a single post and expect a large return. To begin, start by establishing genuine relationships with those Black influencers who have visited your destination in the past or are local to your area. Engage with their content. Amplify their voices and their experiences in your destination—it can be as simple as resharing an Instagram story or providing a list of Black-owned businesses for their next visit.
- Actively avoid Tokenism. Rather than choosing one person to fill a ‘diversity quota’, take on a diverse mindset from the start. Provide opportunities for Black influencers to share creative insight and strategic recommendations through your campaigns—make room for Black people to tell Black stories! As Barbara Burnett mentioned, it’s one thing to be invited to the party and it’s another thing to be asked to dance.
About our partnership with BLACK GIRL DIGITAL, INC:
On June 16, we announced our new partnership with BLACK GIRL DIGITAL, INC. to expand our global presence, focus on creating more diverse brand partnerships, and amplify messaging that authentically speaks to people of color (POC).
Through this strategic partnership with BLACK GIRL DIGITAL, INC, we will provide the most comprehensive influencer marketing strategies, with a dedication to making sure black voices and POC are not only highlighted, but that marketing and content are developed with their interests in mind. Tourism boards, travel and lifestyle brands, and agencies across the United States, Canada, and abroad can now take advantage of our joint expertise, strategies, platforms, unparalleled education, research, and influencer relationships. Now more than ever, these relationships and influencer campaigns are telling the stories of our lives — and black and POC stories should be represented equally.
BLACK GIRL DIGITAL, INC.’s passion and strategic wherewithal in the black influencer space embodies what we look for in a partner. Offering brands a more insightful approach to addressing diverse markets, along with a deeper understanding of which influencers will best deliver that messaging, is our next step.