Thanks to over 130 members who joined our Under The Influence – The Fun Side of Slow Travel webinar hosted by the Slow Travel Network in December. The live event was moderated by Maria Stoyanova of Travel Massive, and featured special guest speakers Lauren Gay and Melissa Lee.
Watch the webinar replay to learn how content creators change traveler’s perspective on travel, what style of content works best with slow travel, what revenue streams are out there, and more.
Lauren is the creator of Misadventures of an Outdoorsy Diva Blog, host/producer of the award winning Adventure Is A Lifestyle Podcast, published photographer, speaker, consultant, on-air TV travel expert, and adventure coach. She is a monthly travel expert on CBS Great Day Live Tampa Bay.
Lauren is also a travel writer and social media influencer who is passionate about inspiring and empowering black women to step out of their comfort zones for new experiences in travel and adventure and embracing nature as therapy. Lauren is also an empty nest mom and a dedicated long time advocate for racial diversity and inclusion in outdoor recreation and adventure travel and a founding member of the Black Travel Alliance.
Melissa is the founder and CEO of The GREEN Program, an award-winning global experiential education program for future sustainability leaders. For her innovative work in sustainability education and travel, Melissa has been recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners as the Environmental Advocate of the Year, Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education, The North Face, and served as a Global Schools Ambassador at the United Nations.
Melissa has had the honor of being named the Lattman Visiting Scholar of Science and Society at Penn State, and a Heinz Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh for her role in incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into global education and workforce development. She currently serves as a board member for UnTours, the first B-Corp in the world, and non-profits in the social impact, tourism, and sustainability sectors.
Here’s five key takeaways from Lauren and Melissa’s webinar interview.
Both Melissa and Lauren agree that it’s important to focus on authenticity in your storytelling. Showing not only the glamorous side of travel but also behind the scenes stories.
Melissa: Long captions of just explaining the emotions behind the experience, or what went into it, are what I really love to see.
Lauren: For me, the 10-15 second reels of me just slowly showing my surroundings, really work well on social media. Just a video of me working from a beautiful countryside home in a small cute town in the UK this summer, or being in a cafe and showing around the environment.
It’s also really important to shed light on the problem solving part of travel. Showing what went wrong in a destination and how to get around that is really authentic and relatable. Content creators should not hide the struggles of missing a bus or train and trying to find a solution of a last minute change in plans.
Accessibility is another thing you can focus on to tie your content more to the slow travel principles.
Lauren: There’s nothing worse than you getting into to a destination and you asking someone how far is a certain place and they tell you it’s a couple of kilometers, but they fail to mention the hill that you have to climb or the 200 steps that are in that two kilometers.
What is really important is the content that is showing that there’s hills, there’s cobblestone streets, there’s a lot of steps or inclines so people really know what they’re getting into.
A really important tip for content creators that want to develop more partnerships with brands that focus on slow travel is to do a lot of networking. Melissa and Lauren recommend attending travel conferences where you can meet brands and create that in person connection.
Lauren: Networking events have been my go-to places for new connections and partnerships. For the last three years, most of my work has come from them because I’ve actually met these people in person first.
Some networking events that were recommended include:
Melissa and Lauren agree that you don’t have to have a huge audience to start working with brands.
Influencers can create content for the brand to use – that’s user generated content, and it’s a great way for people who may not have a big following to start working with brands.
Lauren: Even with less followers, if you’re really niche and your content is really authentic and high quality and connects with the message of the brand, you can still form partnerships. I had my first fam trip with 1500 followers and I got it because I went to a conference and met in person with the brand.
– Thanks to Melissa, Lauren, and Maria (moderator) for sharing their stories and insights!
Powered by UnTours, the Slow Travel Network unites 700+ content creators, tour leaders, and travel insiders on a mission to develop stories and highlight outstanding and replicable ways travelers and the tourism industry are making the world better through #slowtravel.