Best practices in disclosure requirements for travel content creators and influencers

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As a content creator or influencer in the travel and tourism space, you play a pivotal role in driving social media user decisions that impact how they spend both their money and their precious leisure time. You often showcase idyllic destinations, hotels, and experiences, so presenting misleading content can erode your audience’s trust when reality falls short of expectations. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established disclosure requirements for influencers to help protect consumers by ensuring transparency and authenticity in influencer content. 

Non-compliance with these requirements can result in fines, which can be substantial if you rely on partnerships with tourism boards, hotels, and brands. While you should read the guidelines on your own, to make it easier for you to comply, our team at Hello Social Co. created this summary for you to reference, with special attention to the items that are most relevant to travel and tourism. 

We asked creators to weigh in on whether they understood the latest FTC guidelines.

FTC Disclosure Requirements for Influencers: What’s required?

You must disclose any material connections you have with a brand you’re endorsing. This includes financial, employment, personal or family relationships.

  • Financial relationships aren’t limited to money. You must disclose the relationship if you’ve received anything of value to mention a product or service—that includes discounted rates, not only payment or things you receive for free.
  • Take note that tactics that seem like second nature to influencers like tags, likes, and pins are considered endorsements if you’re in a financial or material relationship with a brand.
  • Even if you post from abroad, U.S. law still applies if it’s “reasonably foreseeable” that the post will affect U.S. consumers.

Make your disclosure clear and visible.

  • Place disclosures within the endorsement message, not just at the end or within a group of hashtags, and not anywhere that requires a viewer to click to find it.
  • Endorsements made via photo content should have the disclosure superimposed over the image; and via video, it should be within the video message.
  • If you’re endorsing something in a live stream, make the disclosure repeatedly throughout the broadcast.

Use simple and clear language in your disclosure.

  • Examples include saying “thank you” to the specific brand for whatever you received, or using words like ‘ad,’ ‘advertisement’ and ‘sponsored.’
  • Don’t rely on social media lingo for disclosures, like collab or ambassador, or abbreviations that general consumers might not understand.

Be honest and authentic.

  • You can’t endorse a place, experience, or product you’ve never tried.
  • You can’t say you had a good experience if it was bad.
  • You can’t make claims that aren’t true.

Top 5 tips for your fulfilling the disclosure requirement:

  1. To be as clear and upfront as possible, use #Ad, #Sponsored, or #PaidPartner at the beginning of posts.
  2. Practice consistency across all your platforms.
  3. Educate your followers so they appreciate your disclosures and can distinguish between your promotional content and your personal experience.
  4. Use the built-in disclosure tools offered by social platforms, BUT don’t assume that a platform’s disclosure tool is good enough—use it in addition to your own disclosures.
  5. Engage with followers who ask questions about your partnerships and sponsorships. Having a dialogue with your audiences reinforces your commitment to transparency. 

What’s the penalty for failing to comply?

Failure to comply with the requirements can be costly. Influencers face possible civil penalties of up to $50,120 per violation.

In the highly competitive travel and tourism content creator and influencer market, creating captivating content and adhering to these regulatory guidelines can go hand-in-hand. In fact, by following best practices for compliance, you can also enhance your credibility and build lasting relationships with your two most important stakeholders: your audience and your industry partners.

Have specific questions about influencer requirements? The FTC’s Frequently Asked Questions is a great resource.


Disclosure examples from members of the Hello Social Co. Creator Network:

Members of the Hello Social Co. Creator Network are travel or experience-focused content creators and influencers that are vetted by our team for account quality, engagement, and performance. These members have shown great examples of proper use of disclosures.

In this video, @AlexEatsTooMuch opens with a disclosure about his partnership with the PA Lottery.



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A post shared by Alex Goodstein (@alexeatstoomuch)


In this post, @NicholetheNomad discloses her paid partnership with LL Bean at the top and in a separate set of hashtags.



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A post shared by Nichole Iby ↟ New England Hiking + Travel (@nicholethenomad)

@ToryTalksTrails includes the Laurel Highlands region at the top of her post.



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A post shared by Tory | Hike Pennsylvania (@torytalkstrails)

In this post, @ItsChrisandAlex begin their post copy with AD to disclose their partnership with Beach Whiskey.




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A post shared by Chris & Alex | LGBTQ Travel + Lifestyle (@itschrisandalex)


Become a part of a growing network of Content Creators and Influencers

The Hello Social Co. Creator Network connects high-quality and authentic social media content creators with destination organizations and experience-oriented brands.

Brands know that user-generated content is the future to a successful social media strategy. The Creator Network provides a space to streamline the hosting process, and features educational opportunities to help both Creators and Brands achieve a great partnership experience.


This post was contributed by writer Jodie Dello Stritto for Hello Social Co. Jodie is a freelance writer based in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

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