March 28, 2023

Unpacking Influencer Brand Trips

By Kennedy Gregory

In the past few years, many brands have taken their collaborations with influencers to the next level: vacations. Brand trips are when companies invite a group of influencers on a vacation to bring attention to their brand. Brands often plan trips to promote a new product launch or campaign or just to bring attention to the brand.

Despite not receiving financial payment, there are many benefits to going on a brand trip for influencers. When deciding where to go, brands often pick very visually stunning locations in places such as Mexico and Bora Bora and plan fun tourist activities. Influencers will be posting on their platforms and brands want to make sure that influencers can portray their aesthetic lifestyle. 

Brands are selective of the influencers that they invite and consider what type of content they post as well as how many followers they have. This benefits influencers who go on the trip by allowing them to collaborate with other influencers and gain exposure on each other’s platforms. Brands will often take photos and videos to post on their social media platforms, allowing influencers to gain even more exposure. Influencers are also often provided with gifts such as the brand’s latest products, tech items, clothing and even brand new luggage to carry all their new items home in. 

With so many perks, it’s easy to understand why influencers would want to go on a brand trip. What’s in it for the brands though? For many brands, trips are a great way to get exposure for a new product release or their brand in general. By inviting many influencers with potentially millions of followers, brands are increasing their likelihood of being seen and gaining new followers. Brands can get a substantial amount of exposure without having to pay each influencer their rates. However, brand trips can be expensive. Brands often fly influencers on private planes to stay in luxury hotel resorts and participate in expensive activities. According to a blog post from Thought Catalog, first-class flights can cost up to $192,000 and luxury hotels can cost up to $80,000.

Despite the high price tags, brands could see the value of avoiding having to pay each influencer individually which could cost up to $25,000 depending on the influencer’s follower count, engagement and platform they would post on. 

While brands can benefit tremendously from the exposure they get from influencers, they can also be very risky. Using brand trips to promote the brand puts a lot of power into the influencers’ hands. By associating so closely, the success of the campaign is tightly linked to the influencer. If an influencer does something problematic, the brand can easily get associated with their actions and lose support because of it and vice versa. 

This recently happened with Benefit Cosmetics. The makeup company is facing backlash after bringing a group of influencers to Hawaii for a brand trip, despite the recent outcry from Hawaii natives to stop all tourism to the state due to a water crisis. This has caused many influencers to receive backlash, including popular TikTok beauty influencer Mikayla Noguera who decided not to go with the brand after receiving negative comments on almost all of her recent posts. With Noguera having millions of followers, this was a loss for the brand and the campaign. 

Despite the negative backlash, the brand and many influencers still went on the trip. Many of the influencers’ posts showed off many of the desirable elements such as gifts and private planes that were mentioned earlier.


I’M IN HAWAII WITH @Benefit Cosmetics ✈️💖🌴 #beauty #makeup

♬ About Damn Time – Lizzo

While both brands and influencers seemingly have a lot to gain by putting on brand trips and promoting an ideal image of their brand, both parties should also consider the risks that brand trips can pose to their images in the short and long term. 

17 thoughts on “Unpacking Influencer Brand Trips

  1. Hi Kennedy, love the little pun in the title. The price tags for these brand trips absolutely shocked me. And I totally see what you’re saying about the risks of these pricey trips…in a way the brand and influencer are kind of forever bound. And is that a risk worth taking? I’m not so sure. Definitely gives them lots of content and exposure though.

  2. Hi Kennedy, I enjoyed this post! Taking brand and influencer trips is certainly a risk but there is also the possibility for rewards. One thing I think about with the short style format videos of Tik Tok is that its possible to film an immense amount of content over a short period of time. This way brands could benefit from these trips months later by still having leftover content promoting their brand. Regardless, this is a big risk to take and has a large upfront costs. Decisions like this gotta be left up to the brand.

  3. Kennedy! The relationships between brands and influencers are so interesting and honestly attractive to us on the outside. These brand trips encourage influencers to post a very consistent amount, and is it worth it? I’m always curious what their contracts look like too, what is the mutual benefit? Lots of content and awareness for sure.

  4. Kennedy,
    I honestly find myself thinking about the price tag on these influencer trips a lot so I found your insight to be helpful. Is it really worth it for these brands to spend the amount of money they are on these trips? I want to know that turn over they are getting in the form of publicity or money with a specific example. I also thought it was a good point that a lot of power goes to the influencer on these trips. If the influencer does or says one thing wrong on these trips, it is connected back to the brand he or she is promoting.

  5. Hi Kennedy,

    As a micro-influencer I don’t understand the point of having a branded trip unless you actually want to go there. If you are getting paid to travel then great! These types of trips make people with a lower following or generally non-influencer people feel a sense of being left out. By only handpicking a few people, these trips tend to be a bit upsetting for onlookers.

  6. As someone who loves to keep up with social media influencers, this blog was a great read! Recently, Revolve (a fashion brand) was under fire for their event/trip at Coachella. Due to bad transportation logistics, many influencers took to socials to express their frustration.
    A hairdresser from my hometown also did a brand trip to get content for her Instagram page. It’s amazing to see that these trips can be successful… or not… at a small and large scale.

  7. Hi Kennedy,
    This post was so interesting! I love the topic. I always see videos on TikTok about brand trips and influencers on vacation with brands. Its crazy to think they get all of these fun and free trips just for brand exposure.

  8. First, I just wanted to say how excited I was to see an article about influencer trips because as much as I want to clown on them, I would cut off my arm to go on one (even though by no means am I a desirable candidate). I was so interested reading this article and I honestly didn’t even know about the benefit scandal (my thought about a brand trip scandal was the Revolve fest at Coachella). Honestly, moving into the future, I think that brands that host these trips will need to be way more careful about what is actually being done on the trip to avoid a PR scandal. I think that influencer trips are so relatively new to the influencing world that it seems like that forethought just hasn’t been done.

  9. As someone that loves to travel and use tik tok, I see these types of things all the time. I was really surprised about the prices. I had no idea that influencers were also given basically a free vacation to promote them. I thought this had just been for products.

  10. I am always so interested with the expenses of these trips. I was a big Emma Chamberlain YouTube fan and the amount of times Louis Vuitton would fly her out to Paris for a week for the fashion shows and shoots is crazy to me! Not only is she getting everything paid for, but she gets the suite at one of the nicest hotels in Paris. Louis Vuitton is a very successful brand, but sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it for Emma to go to Paris by herself for a week; noting that there were many times she would document herself bored and seemingly lonely in the hotel room. Very interesting post, and quite baffled by the expenses some of these brands are willing to endeavor for their influencers.

  11. When I think of brand influencer trips, the first one that comes to mind is #RevolveAroundTheWorld which is hosted by the brand Revolve year round. I read a statistic that over 70% of their sales are driven by influencers. So clearly, brand influencer trips seem to be working for them, however, I wonder if they have run into and obstacles with this PR strategy and how they recover from them if so.

  12. I really enjoyed reading this. Great work. I liked the fact that add the end you added the risks that brands and organizations should keep in mind because it is important. Yes, you want to have your media be impactful, but there are always two sides to a coin.

  13. This is such a great post and so relevant to today! Influencer brand trips always caught my eye because I was so curious about the logistics. I think it is a great strategy to get your brand out there, especially with big-name influencers. I liked how you also add the negative aspects of the trips. This reminds me of the Dote trips if anyone watched YouTubers like Emma Chamberlain, Hannah Meloche, and Ellie Thuman. Overall great read!!

  14. I loved reading this post! I have never thought too much about how much these trips really cost for brands to put on and it’s crazy. Creators never really talk about the logistics that go on when it comes to brand trips so I found it really interesting to read about it!

  15. Hi Kennedy!
    Influencer brand trips have always been something I was extremely curious about. I have always wondered about the behind the scenes and what the influencers are receiving besides a trip. I was very obsessed with the DOTE trips in high school. Influencers like Emma Chamberlain, Ellie Thuman and Olivia Rouye would make vlogs from these trips and they always seemed so fun which has always made me curious. Great read!

  16. I really enjoyed reading your blog post and I think the idea of influencer brand trips is a great idea. It benefits both the influencer and the brand because the influencer helps the brand get attention, and the stunning locations the brand sends the girls to help their social media get more traction. Although it does cost an absurd amount to actually send the influencers on these trips (even aside from the fact that they aren’t paying them) I do believe it’s worth it, and it can really boost your brand.

  17. I think the idea of influencer brand trips is a great idea. It benefits both the influencer and the brand because the influencer helps the brand get attention, and the stunning locations the brand sends the girls to help their social media get more traction. Although it does cost an absurd amount to actually send the influencers on these trips (even aside from the fact that they aren’t paying them) I do believe it’s worth it, and it can really boost your brand.

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