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Personalised Journeys and AI’s Role in Travel Influencing

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2024 marks a transformative year for travel with a shift from ‘revenge travel’ to personalized experiences. Influencers, using AI, are pivotal in curating tailored journeys that resonate deeply with modern travelers.

As 2024 unfolds, it is becoming a landmark year for the travel industry which is transitioning into a new phase after the pandemic. The burst of pent-up demand for travel, often referred to as ‘revenge travel’, is settling down. This shift is bringing in new trends and tech advancements globally, influencing consumer attitudes, business practices, and the entire travel landscape.

The new era in travel is defined by a move away from one-size-fits-all experiences to highly personalised journeys, meticulously tailored to the individual preferences of travellers. This transformation is supported by the growing sophistication and reach of influencer marketing in the travel sector, which has evolved from mere trendsetting to a powerful tool for curating bespoke travel experiences. But what is also important is that influencers are becoming more impactful by increasingly using AI, which helps them create narratives that are visually impressive and closely tailored to their audience’s specific interests and likes.

The Shift Towards Personalised Travel Experiences

It has become a common place that the contemporary traveler is no longer satisfied with generic, package-based tourism; instead, they seek unique, individualised journeys that offer a deeper connection to destinations. Responding to this shift, influencers have begun curating content that aligns with specific interests and lifestyles, offering their followers more than just picturesque images – they provide gateways to experiences that resonate personally. This shift has given rise to a diverse range of influencer-promoted travel experiences, including cultural immersions, eco-tourism adventures, wellness retreats, and custom-themed itineraries.

Cultural immersion trips, for example, have gained popularity, with influencers partnering with local communities to offer authentic cultural experiences, including homestays, local cuisine tastings, and participation in traditional events. Similarly, eco-tourism is being highlighted by influencers, promoting eco-lodges and conservation projects as part of a growing interest in sustainable travel. Wellness retreats in serene locations like Bali and the Swiss Alps are also being showcased, catering to the wellness-minded traveler.

The Role of AI in Enhancing Personalisation

The most compelling travel experiences today can arise from the intersection of AI and human creativity, and influencers are already benefitting from this synergy.  They use AI to gather insights about their audience’s preferences and interests, and transform these insights into captivating travel stories. They also use AI-generated data to identify under-the-radar destinations or trending activities but then apply their personal experiences and storytelling skills to bring these suggestions to life.

Additionally, AI helps in creating immersive experiences, such as virtual tours or augmented reality (AR) explorations, which allow influencers to showcase destinations in innovative ways. Influencers are also using AI to create unique and compelling visuals — tools like DALL-E and other AI image generators enable the creation of custom graphics and images that can be used to illustrate travel stories or highlight specific aspects of a destination.

Read also: AI and Post-Truth World

AI’s impact extends to various facets of content creation, enhancing the overall quality and appeal of travel recommendations. For example, AI-powered video editing tools allow influencers to craft engaging virtual tours, providing an immersive preview of travel experiences. Customised storytelling, aided by AI, has become increasingly popular, enabling influencers to structure content that resonates with their audience’s preferences. Overall, by blending AI’s technological capabilities with their creative vision, influencers can offer their audiences a more interactive and engaging way to explore potential travel destinations.

Ethical Considerations and Future Outlook

The use of AI, as attractive as it seems, still raises important questions about the authenticity and reliability of travel recommendations. While AI can enhance engagement, influencers need to maintain transparency regarding its use to preserve the authenticity of their content. That simply means that influencers need to be clear about how much of their content is AI-driven to ensure that their recommendations are seen as genuine and reliable.

Looking into the future, AI’s role in travel influencing is expected to expand significantly. We anticipate more sophisticated personalisation, with AI algorithms becoming better at understanding and predicting consumer preferences. The future also promises more advanced AI-powered tools for content creation, offering even more immersive and engaging experiences.

As the utilisation of AI by travel influencers will increase, the danger for the industry is that it can further blur the lines between virtual, completely unrealistic inspiration and real-world travel experiences. This is why in tourism, just like in every field where AI is involved, the key to success will be maintaining a balance between leveraging AI’s capabilities and ensuring the authenticity and transparency that audiences value.

Travel influencers should see AI as a collaborative tool, augmenting their own human creativity of influencers rather than replacing it. As long as the collaboration works this way, we can expect that the balance will be maintained between the efficiency and innovation offered by AI and the authenticity and personal touch that is central to influencer content.

Master Connector - Midas PR | + Articles

Karine is the Managing Director of Midas PR and serves the company as its “Master Connector”.

She has over 20 years of experience driving PR strategy for leading organisations in various sectors, launching Midas PR in 2007 after gathering ideas, honing her skills in Luxembourg, and refining her PR approach by working in Thailand. Over the last 16 years, Midas PR has achieved strong and consistent growth and today is recognised as one of Thailand’s leading multi-award-winning PR and communications firms. Alongside heading up the Midas team, Karine is Chair for the PRCA Thailand and a member of PROI Worldwide.

Karine is also a renowned thought leader and in-demand speaker on industry topics such as reputation management, corporate communications, and diversity and inclusion. She has shared her insights at several leadership, business and PR conferences, such as the Women in Business Series and the Thailand Startup Summit.

A passionate advocate for female leadership, Karin aims to serve as a role model for other women and inspire them to pursue their aspirations. She co-founded The Lionesses of Siam, a distinctive social and business networking group exclusively for women in Thailand. She has been honoured with several awards, including the Prime Award for International Business Woman Of The Year 2023.