Word-of-Mouth Redefined: A Profile of Influencers in the Travel and Tourism Industry

Richard George*, Hayley Stainton, E.A. Adu-Ampong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The emergence of the digital economy and easy accessibility to Web 2.0 tools has seen an expansion of the influencer ecosystem within
the travel and tourism industry. Founded on the principles of reference groups and peer reference there is a growing trend amongst
industry practitioners who are now opting to move away from many of the traditional approaches used to market their products and
services and are instead taking advantage of the concept of e-word-of-mouth (eWOM). Whilst there is a growing body of academic
literature addressing the notion of influencer marketing, there is little understanding of influencer marketers themselves.
Consequentially, this study addresses this gap in the literature through the quantitative examination of those who promote products,
services, or companies by distributing eWOM through their online digital channels and presence; otherwise known as travel influencers.
A quantitative research approach involving an online survey yielded 255 responses from travel influencers. The research findings
indicate that those who work in this field prefer not to be awarded the label “travel influencer,” focusing instead on their specific
method of influencing, such as blogging and vlogging or sharing Instagram updates. The research also demonstrates how the new
influencers have a strong role in generating travel urge and desire. The research contributes to the wider body of academic literature
and travel industry practitioners by establishing the general profile of influencers and their increasingly specialized role in tourism and
hospitality marketing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-44
JournalJournal of Smart Tourism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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