The travel and leisure industry as a whole has suffered tremendously since the coronavirus pandemic started its spread across the globe. Lockdowns, travel restrictions and economic uncertainty mean that people are either unable or unwilling to spend on luxuries like travelling.
Social media influencers, who once made a living posting glossy photos of their latest excursions to Bali or other exotic locales, are forced to dig into their #throwback archives to keep content going. Travel bloggers and vloggers are unable to post their usual videos or blogs, since they’re stuck at home. They are also losing more than followers, as companies withdraw precious ad and marketing spend.
Doubling down on the entire situation is the somewhat negative connotations that are often associated with influencers in recent times. Many people see them as entitled and spoiled, demanding ludicrous payment and treatment for just a couple of photos or videos. The very same glamorous lifestyle that many influencers are known for is now seen as shallow, a target for backlash. Any lament that they too have lost their jobs and income are met with “oh boohoo, other people have it worse so stop complaining.”
I actually sympathise with some of these influencers. Losing your income is never a good thing, so why do we revel in other people’s misfortunes? Not all of them are entitled, and some actually work really hard to come up with great content. Before you actually say “well they just take videos”, have you actually TRIED filming and putting together a video with great aesthetics? No? Then stfu.
I understand that some influencers/travel bloggers/vloggers have built up their fanbase based on a specific niche (eg travel) so not being able to travel = no content. However, there are others who have taken up the challenge by adapting/tweaking their content to offer something new altogether.
I follow a couple of Youtubers who produce food and travel content, such as Mikey Chen and Mark Wiens. As they are unable to travel, their channels are now posting more mukbang-esque content, where they order delivery to their homes and review the food as they eat.
Mikey is known for travelling to different countries and trying out food at local fast food chains or convenience stores. His recent content sees him ordering takeout from establishments such as Panda Express and Shake Shack, as well as several hotpot restos around the neighbourhood – and sharing personal stories with his viewers as he eats. He’s also been posting much more on his other channel Cook with Mikey, where he shares recipes. As for Mark Wiens, he still seems to have a stock load of videos from recent travels that he posts regularly, interspersed with ordering food from takeout and doing food challenges such as the Spicy Noodle Challenge, in collaboration with other food vloggers.
As someone who writes mainly about travel and food, I’ve also been trying out new topics on this blog. In a way, it’s a good thing as it allows me to flex my creativity and avoid relying on just specific content – but in other ways, it might also be a challenge for bloggers/vloggers who have already built up a fan base based on a particular niche, as they might lose the ‘connection’ (or what made them appealing) to their audience.
I know it is a very difficult time for the media and lifestyle industry as a whole, and will be for the next year or so at least. I’m grateful to have a job, but the future of my career remains very uncertain. Still, I’m glad I took some time to diversify my portfolio, so I still have something to fall back on.
Are you a food and travel content creator? How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your content, and the way you deliver it?