With millennials accounting for about half of all travellers worldwide, it’s more important than ever for a hotel’s marketing strategy to be moving towards this tech and social-savvy generation. Influencer marketing can help grow a hotel’s brand awareness, increase loyalty and drive direct bookings by providing consumers with trusted and authentic opinions and advice. However, there are a few first steps to follow when collaborating with influencers, to ensure the greatest success out of your influencer marketing campaign.
1. Find the Right Influencer
“Travel influencers” are well-traveled, authoritative individuals who can provide the real-life experience of a hotel stay through their social media accounts and blog posts. They engage with their followers on a very personal level, creating an environment of trust and reliability, and in most cases, their personal opinions ‘influence’ their followers’ purchase decisions. After all, studies have shown that 92% of people trust world-of-mouth recommendations over all other forms of advertising.
To find the right influencer for your marketing campaign, start your search on YouTube or Instagram. You can filter through accounts by searching for specific or relevant hashtags, or look into influencers that other hotel properties may have used in the past. You need to find someone who’s own brand aligns with yours, and who has the right audience. For example, if your hotel is family-oriented, you’ll probably want to find an influencer who travels with his children to properly align his audience to the audience you want to be targeting.
Once you think you’ve found the right person for the job, follow them for a few weeks in order to assess their levels of engagement. An influencer may have 100,000 followers, but if they’re not responding to comments, building relationships, or consistently posting authentic content, then they may not be the best fit for your brand.
2. Negotiate the Campaign
Once you’ve selected the right influencer, get in contact to negotiate your campaign. While some influencers will post content in exchange for a discounted or free stay at your hotel, others will also require financial compensation, so you’ll want to make sure you are up front about your budget limits and what you can offer.
If your property has a restaurant, spa, or other amenities or activities on site that you’d like to promote as well, consider adding free or discounted meals or spa services into the deal, so that the influencer can post content showcasing all that your hotel has to offer. For example, if you offer a unique excursion, have the influencer participate for free and allow them to take pictures, film or livestream the experience.
Although you’ll want to have a hand in guiding the type of content that is ultimately posted, you need to remember to let the influencer post it in their style — that which their audience already knows and trusts. If you try to script or control what they will be posting, it may come off as unnatural and unauthentic.
3. Help Drive Engagement
During your influencer’s stay at your hotel, help them to drive engagement on their posts by sharing them across your hotel’s own social media accounts and monitor and respond to applicable comments on their feed. If possible, create discount codes that the influencer can offer to his followers to use at your hotel in the future, or a special hashtag to use in their posts — both of which can help you track the campaign’s success.
Influencer marketing is a partnership: both the brand and the influencer have something the other wants in order to increase followers, brand awareness and revenues. As long as the right brand finds the right influencer, then the partnership will be a success.
RoomKeyPMS gives hotels the tools they need to excel online and in person. Put your property in the best position possible and contact our team today.
Photo Credit: Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash