Air Canada appears to hire travel influencers despite pandemic restrictions

Jan 6 2021, 6:06 pm

Air Canada appears to be enlisting the help of travel influencers to promote their vacation packages even as health officials across the country discourage non-essential travel to curb COVID-19 transmission.

At least three travel influencers posted photos tagged as paid promotions with Air Canada Vacations in December, at the same time that provinces tightened public health restrictions and infections surged.

Travel influencer duo @jennexplores and @mitch_explores appear to have gone on a trip to Mexico over Christmas in partnership with Air Canada Vacations and Iberostar.

Neither responded to a request for comment, but Mitch noted in a recent post that travelling from Canada “comes with extra considerations these days, and we have some inside projects lined up for our time in quarantine.”

Mitch also said their resort was about three quarters full, and there was “lots of room to breathe and catch some rays and waves.”

 

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A post shared by Mountain Roamer (@mitch_explores)

Daniel Reyes, another travel influencer, also tagged some photos of his December trip to Vancouver as being a paid partnership with Air Canada Vacations. In the captions he praised Air Canada for their pandemic safety precautions, ease of booking, and lower prices for travel during the pandemic.

“This trip has been exactly what I wanted for our 5th wedding anniversary,” he said when posting a photo next to a West End mural.

 

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A post shared by Daniel Reyes (@dothedaniel)

Reyes confirmed he traveled to Vancouver in early December 2020 but declined to comment further.

Daily Hive reached out to Air Canada to ask why they’re pursuing new influencer marketing campaigns at a time when Canadians are being told to stay home. The company did not respond.

Ken Wong, a marketing professor at Queen’s University, thinks it was a poor decision on Air Canada’s part.

“The problem right now isn’t that there’s no demand for air travel. There is demand,” he said, adding he believes there will be an explosion in air travel once the pandemic is over.

“I don’t need marketing or advertising to get me on the road. The thing holding us back is fear — of the pandemic.”

Influencer marketing makes sense for airlines, since having a glowing review from a third party often goes further in a consumer’s eyes than hearing an airline sing its own praises, Wong said.

But he believes airlines would be better off rebuilding consumer trust after many customers reported struggles getting refunds in the early days of the pandemic. He’d also like to see governments provide more resources to consumers on how to tell if an airline, restaurant, or other business is following public health measures adequately.

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