Inside the Influencer Economy

South Florida Business Journal
March 31, 2023
By Ashley Portero – Senior Reporter

There’s an influencer out there for any type of business. Just ask the owners of Yacht Haven Park & Marina.
When the Fort Lauderdale business aimed to brand itself as a luxury RV park, it turned to the creators behind Today is Someday, a YouTube channel and blog with 165,000 subscribers that focuses on RV reviews and lifestyle content.

In a video titled “MOST LUXURIOUS RV Resort We’ve Ever Seen,” channel creators Phil and Stacy Farley extol Yacht Haven’s amenities: pristine bathrooms and showers, climate-controlled laundry room facilities, pontoon boat rentals and boat charters, and a location on the intracoastal waters of Fort Lauderdale.

“I feel like I’m at a hotel!” Stacy Farley says during the video. “This resort makes me feel like I’m living in luxury!”

It’s a far cry from the campground-turned-resort that was close to demolition before it was acquired by its current owners and upgraded in a $26 million renovation completed this year.

Yacht Haven is among the growing number of businesses turning to influencer marketing to build their brands and attract new customers. It makes sense, as an estimated 49% of consumers turn to content creators with significant followings on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. They fuel a global influencer economy that was valued at $16.4 billion in 2022.

Businesses are paying attention.

According to the Harvard Business Review, more than 75% of brands now have dedicated budgets for influencer marketing. In South Florida, that includes ventures ranging from multibillion-dollar industry leader Norwegian Cruise Line to independent ventures such as Yacht Haven. But the businesses have one thing in common: They are trying to harness the power of community to foster trust and brand loyalty with consumers.

“One of the reasons I like working with influencers is because it’s not really advertising,” Yacht Haven co-owner Gary Cioffi said. “Every business can toot their own horn, but it’s different when an unbiased, credible third party shares their great experience with their followers.”

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