Tourism agency invests in software tool to boost work with online influencers

Technology will help track and monitor content posted by social media users

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The national tourist board has invested £30,000 in a software tool to help manage and monitor its work with social-media influencers.

Recently published procurement information reveals that the British Tourist Authority (BTA) – which operates chiefly under the VisitBritain brand – last month signed a one-year deal with Brandwatch for a “social influencer platform”. The deal will be worth an initial £31,080.

In response to an enquiry from PublicTechnology, the BTA indicated that the tool will support its growing work with online influencers based in both the UK and overseas. The technology system will enable the authority identify influencers, check the authenticity of their online followings, and help assess “brand alignment” with VisitBritain.

Once relationships have been established, the tool will allow the tourist board to “track influencer content and results in real time, providing deeper insights into influencer activity performance and to confirm it is meeting the organisation’s objectives”.

VisitBritain’s previous work with influencers has included an international campaign dubbed ‘Welcome to Another Side of Britain’ and launched earlier this year. The initiative saw the BTA work with 12 online personalities with global followings, who collectively visited eight cities around the country and took part in different local activities.

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“Four groups of three influencers discovered two cities during the week-long trip creating videos and stills for their social channels, highlighting fresh and exciting experiences to come and enjoy right now, driving immediacy to visit, and showcasing Britain’s vibrant culture,” the said the BTA, in a statement to PublicTechnology. “Influencers were contracted to deliver 250 pieces of content, which could be repurposed on VisitBritain-owned channels, in exchange for a content creation fee and experiences organised during the trip, to reach 20 million unique accounts, generate 30 million impressions and 700,000 engagements.”

The authority said that this initiative has been nominated for two awards, and that online influencers now “play an important role in BTA’s paid and owned channel activity, supporting it to reach new audiences across multiple social media platforms”. 

“The objective in working with influencers is to create authentic and engaging content to convert the inspiration to visit Britain into bookings and driving immediacy to visit. It is also supports in broadening travel itineraries, driving tourism growth right across the nations and regions and across the year including the shoulder seasons,” it added – referring to the period between peak and off seasons for travel. “Influencers are also engaged to boost reach and awareness of key events, destinations and products to meet immediacy goals and to create content for use across VisitBritain’s channels.”

Procurement records indicate that Brandwatch’s tools for tracking and managing social network activity are used by a wide range of government departments and other public bodies. Its contracts include a separate £48,960 one-year deal – for a “social media monitoring and analytics service” – awarded by BTA in July.


Sam Trendall

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