Influencer Interview: How To Be A Travel Influencer During A Global Pandemic
Traveling during a pandemic? Discover how Scott and Collette of roamaroo made it work!
Scott and Collette of Roamaroo, aka The Travel Couple, are living the Travel Influencer Dream. Even during a global pandemic. Since 2015 they have been providing their audience with an amazing look inside their world-travels. From Seoul to Rio, they explore all corners of the globe together. But, that all changed in March 2020.
As the world entered lockdown and borders were shut, one of the first industries to be impacted was Travel. With the inability to take month-long European trips or trek throughout New Zealand, what was a travel influencer to do?
Like most early-adaptors, they had a plan. It was metal with four wheels. The duo purchased an Airstream and decided that they were going to find a way to safely produce travel content amid a global pandemic. And that they did. Not only are they official Airstream ambassadors, but they have traveled across the US and created amazing road-trip guides.
We caught up with Scott and Collette, while they were in Spokane Washington, to learn more about their experience.
Travel Influnecers: Scott & Collette
What are you up to in Spokane, Washington?
Collette: Well we had to do some repairs on the airstream. So, we decided to put it in the shop and take an Airbnb for a few days.
Scott: We also realized that when we are on the road, it’s nice to take a break from the Airstream. Every now and then you want to sit on a couch and watch TV, and do work on a real desk with some wifi.
Collette: And, of course, laundry!
How did your influencer journey begin?
Scott: We were in the corporate world and we decided to take a Gap-Year. One day Collette came home and was inspired by a simple podcast, and she said, “let’s travel”. We always wanted to travel and never let the honeymoon end. So, we decided to take a 7-month trip around the world. And it was at the end of that trip, we were living as cheaply as possible, and we had seen how other people were making a living. Content creators and Influencers were just starting to become a buzzword, so we decided if other people figured it out we could try it too. Especially with our background, Colette was a TV producer and I was an engineer. We knew there was a way we could make it work.
When you took your gap-year did you initially think you would be creating content?
Collette: At the time it was not about social media at all, it was purely about the experience we would share together. We started a social account and blog, but it was mainly to keep our friends and family updated about our experience. Along the way we thought, with my background in producing, maybe we could start helping hotels and create videos for them, it was kind of an idea to help supplement our budget. And, we started doing that, and it was fun and still is, but it blossomed into something that we weren’t expecting.
I think in retrospect we had the knowledge to make something like this happen, but in the moment we were just pulling levers and trying to make something work. We wanted to extend our “gap-year”.
Are you ever too old to take a gap-year?
Scott: You can’t be aged out of a gap-year. I’m 36 and Collette is 33, and when we were on our first trip we met people of all ages from all over the world. This is definitely something that is more accepted internationally. Countries like Australia really embrace this.
There are ways of looking at this. If you look back in the last year how much of your life has changed, minus the 2020 pandemic, but if this was a normal year. Your career trajectory doesn’t change drastically in a year.
And, people have a fear of a gap in the CV. But, many companies would appreciate the willingness to take a risk and travel and have more learning experiences.
Collette: This type of experience makes you more dynamic. We kept saying it was our one-year Grad School on International Relations. We learned so much about traveling about different cultures and people. And, once you open your mind to that mindset, you start attracting that energy and start meeting other people who approach life differently. It gives you a fresh perspective on other ways of living.
And, the silver lining of 2020 is that most people are working remotely. They are not really dependent on an office to get their work done. Perhaps there is a way to keep your job and travel the world.
Now that you’ve transitioned your Gap-Year to a travel brand, does your content fund your travels?
Collette: We took us around the world trip in June 2015, and that was not to create a new job that was just to travel. Then, in January 2016 we said let’s turn that into a business. And ever since then it has been our full-time jobs and source of income.
What was the moment when you realized it was working for you as a business?
Scott: We had the belief in it, because we saw other people doing it. The first project we got was with Jamaica. They wanted to pay us to come down there and shoot content. I think we didn’t know our value at the time, and that started to validate our purpose and our goals.
Colette: In the beginning, we just decided we needed to get our feet wet. Kind of like an unpaid internship in being a content creator, make contacts, learn about the industry, and. see what we’re good at. The Jamaica shoot was the first time someone wanted to pay us to do the thing we love. That set the baseline to accept more paid jobs, and from there they started flowing in.
It is a balance of pitching and people coming to us. I think it’s imperative to reach out to people, DMOs and Agencies don’t have time to see every creator. It’s great to make introductions and build relationships. Even if we aren’t working together, it’s just to get on someone’s radar. Maybe something won’t work now, but it will work in three years from now.
How do you stand out from the competition when pitching yourself to brands and agencies?
Scott: We have a specialty for taking a brand or location and putting it into pictures and videos, and tell a story that is relatable and inspires people to make a decision. Whether it’s a decision to book a trip and visit a destination, or a decision to purchase something, we do it in a native way.
We were in Aruba, and a couple came over to us and said, “you’re the reason we’re here! We saw your video and we said we have to do that!” We had been in Aruba earlier for the Carribeans’ largest wedding vowel renewal. We were invited back the next year, and I can’t tell you how many couples came over to us during the entire trip. It was so amazing to see how we inspired people to do what we love.”
Collette: That was so gratifying! On an emotional level, we want to help people lead happier and healthier lives. So to see couples say they want to travel with their partner and renew their vows. It was so amazing to know our creative storytelling has such a strong impact on our audience. Even recently we have had people purchase airstreams after we did. We think we need to go to college, go to grad school, get that job, and then once we are retired with enough money we can travel. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. And, for people to seize the day, it’s gratifying.
You inspire a lot of couples, but how is working as a couple?
Scott: It’s tough but it’s fun. My friends said, “there is no way I could do that.” It’s like any relationship, there are speed bumps and you need to have good communication. You need to be able to say what you need and also be able to see what your partner needs. When you’re in an airstream you’re really in the same space on top of each other almost 24/7. We put a lot of value into getting as much alone-time in the morning, in order to start the day off on the right foot. That really helps us.
How has corona impacted your collaborations and content output.
Scott: Well, initially everything stopped. We were supposed to go to Mexico on a job, and it was cancelled the day before Califonia went into lockdown. We had a lot of fear, we didn’t know what would happen. All the marketing budgets just froze. Everyone stopped spending, and that’s what pushed us to get an airstream. We were paying a lot of rent in California, but it wasn’t adding any value to our brand. So, I saw an opportunity, we can get the airstream. We can go see our families and travel safely. It was a great decision because it has allowed us to produce some great content and tell a story.
Collette: The airstream was a great idea because it allowed us to produce content that is relevant and safe. We do have a responsibility, people look to us for travel advice. We decided to drive across the country to reunite with our families on the East Coast, while inspiring people to roam responsibly.
How have your collaborations changed once you got the airstream?
Scott: It’s opened the door to many new opportunities. It took a bit for brands to acknowledge our content transition, we never produced RV content. I knew it would take a few months. We needed to get on the road and get content out. But, it was amazing how quickly we were able to have discussions with brands. Quickly we became airstream ambassadors. I don’t think I foresaw how quickly this market would explode. Airstreams are completely sold out in the US.
Our followers that are passionate about travel, still like to travel. Like us, they are looking for safe ways to explore, and for many, that means RV travel.
What is good about traveling right now?
Collette: It’s nice to get out and feel like you have a little control. Prior to Corona, some of our favorite trips were road trips. We rented RVs in Iceland and New Zealand, but we never owned one. We understand the freedom of the open road.
Feeling inspired? Learn more about the great influencers waiting to collaborate with you!