In 2018 I had the pleasure of donating time to being part of the first ever Pantone® Colors of Travel study. As the VP at HireInfluence, I conducted a controlled study which looked at 20 of the top Instagram influencers in travel and their most engaging photos, to determine what were some of the top trending colors in travel. 


As the expert in all-things influencer, I designed and executed the study to properly reflect the entire travel vertical - that included photography accounts, lifestyle accounts, travel-specific accounts and more. The creators were required to have at least 200,000 followers - many had up to 1M and had to have traveled to at least 3 distinct US travel destinations in the past year and a base engagement rate of 5%, though many had above average engagements up to 10%. 

A total of 75-80 photos were pulled from the top engaging photos and organized by recurring color patterns. We looked at primary, focal colors, assessed the amount of space each color dominated and looked at whether the eye was drawn to the color to identify 4 trending colors among top engaging photos. With an eyedropper tool, we pulled CMY, RGB and HEX values for Pantone who created the official names. 

As a second piece the study, Wagstaff and client Carlsbad, California, uncovered all of the places in beach-town Carlsbad, California where these trending colors could be found. The town build murals designed with the trending colors, created signature cocktails for their top restaurants and worked some of the colors into designs gracing top tourist destinations. 

The top colors and destinations where then promoted through an influencer activation where 2 LA-based travel and lifestyle influencers where sent to top destinations to chase the trending Colors of Travel. 

The campaign was indeed one of the first to prove that influencers and their content are more relevant and engaging when they take part in a larger, more interactive brand experience. The campaign held immense value in the influencer community and made top headlines in millennial focused publications such as Forbes and Elite Daily. This is now a yearly tradition that has continued to be a talked about study in the influencer and travel communities. 

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design: by me  |  hosted:  |  photography: Lauren Nicole