In 2019, any industry that does not benefit from influencer marketing is missing out on an excellent opportunity to increase visibility and brand awareness. Influencer marketing is here to stay. As stated by the report of the Association of National Advertisers in 2018, 75 percent of marketers already use influencer marketing for hotels. With the help of the right platforms, it opens doors of possibilities to reach the right audience and increase engagement rate. Among the plethora of social media platforms, Instagram appears to be the most popular one for influencers.
In 2016, it became the top choice, as the platform excellently showcases travel contents, with inspirational images aspiring natural interest in new cultures, locations, and experiences.
Instagram is the most rapidly growing platform so far, with over 1000 monthly active users.
As it’s business model is based on visual imagery, it’s more suitable for advertising purposes. User-generated content (UGC) and video contents quickly take over the user’s attention. These contents also reflect the artistic personality of influencers. Along these lines, influencers offer a unique, creative, and fun perspective to hotel experience while keeping the users entertained.
Besides their own amenities, marketers should focus on contents around their locations. Displaying the spirit of the destination is a key to win the hearts and minds of the target audience, it doesn’t matter if you are a hotel, car rental, a tour company, airline carrier, or car rental provider.
Can hotels benefit from influencer marketing?
There isn’t any substantial reason why the hospitality industry couldn’t take advantage of the influencer marketing strategy. It is an excellent way to increase your online presence and boost your level of popularity in online spaces. It’s worth to note that, well-optimized website and strong reviews across social media is also crucial in the hotel industry. As social media grew, it changed the way travelers make their travel purchase decisions. However, those who are prone to traditional ways of digital marketing should know that 47% of online consumers use ad blockers against these digital ads and the majority of paid advertisements simply don’t perform as it was expected. It’s the fact that, in today’s modern world, consumers are more interested in genuine contents which describes the service or product.
Travel Influencers are widely used by leading hotel brands
Influencer marketing is the latest trends in digital marketing for top hotel brands. Leading hotel chains have used travel influencers for their influencer marketing campaign. Let’s see some examples of how hotels have leveraged influencer marketing to drive engagement around their brands:
Marriot’s “Moxy brand”
In 2015, Marriott used influencers on Snapchat for a campaign around its own brand Moxy Hotels. Together with a group of comedians, Taryn Southern created a series of videos called “Do Not Disturb” and put Moxy on the maps with their followers in Snapchat. Also, Marriot encouraged four social media influencers such as Diipa Khosla, Sara Hopkins, Tom Jauncey, and Jen Levinson to produce weeklong videos covering their trips to Dubai, Seoul, New York, and Berlin. They shared Snapchat stories on both hotel’s and their personal accounts to promote Marriot’s Reward Program.
Hilton’s “Live Music events”
Hilton recruited young travelers for its Hilton@Play initiative, which produces live music events in Hilton’s various properties across the USA and UK. Events were geared towards only HHonors Rewards members. The hotel gave access to artists such as Nick Jonas to take the stage, who did live stream videos on Periscope. The message was that even if they weren’t members, Hilton provided the opportunity for fans to visit its properties so influencers can be invited to the next live event.
We can mention the other well-known names like The Ritz Carlton, Starwood Resorts which leveraged travel influencers for their campaigns, which lead to successful outcomes.
Modern challenges of hotel marketers
In a world, where traveler makes their purchase decisions based on internet search results, it is a real challenge for marketers to grab their attention in traditional ways. To convert those internet users into potential customers, Marketers struggle by using traditional methods of digital marketing, such as ad blockers and the rising popularity of accommodations like Airbnb which is going to be the preference of millennials. To overcome these challenges, the hotel brand needs to develop an influencer marketing strategy that will increase awareness of the brand. So, how to use influencer marketing for this purpose? With the help of Travel Influencers!
How to benefit from travel influencers?
In a social media obsessed world, Instagram travel bloggers became an inspiration and credible source of travel recommendations for millennials. Why Instagram? It was reported that 698.7 million individuals used Instagram in 2018; 97% of them were millennials who share their travel snaps across social media, and 87% were inspired about a place to visit using social media. When used accurately, professional and trustworthy travel influencers are an effective way to promote your hotel, generating leads to your website and build a loyal community around the property. Most of all, this method can boost direct bookings of about 18%.
Wondering how do they do it?
They are usually micro-influencers with small followings but they also have the highest metrics in critical areas like engagements, number of followers, level of authenticity, and interaction with the audience.
As a quick example, Lisa Linh quit her full-time job to be a full-time traveler who had up to 100,000 followers three years ago. She has stayed in luxury hotels from Mexico to the Cook Islands, usually for free. She is one of those who call her followers to travel the world, often in luxury. Hotel marketers take advantage of elite and luxury-loving influencers like Lisa Linh by providing them with all-expenses-paid vacations in exchange for inspirational social media posts.
According to Kate Jones, the marketing manager of Dusit Thani, a five-star hotel in the Maldives, the hotel gets a minimum of six messages from self-titled influencers each day who want to collaborate. The context simply describes that they want to stay in the property for 7 to 10 days in exchange of two Instagram posts. These requests often come from people with 600 Facebook friends, she said. But nearly 10% of the requests she gets are deserving of reviewing.
How marketers can determine that the particular influencers are the right fit for their brands?
Considering our following tips, they can benefit from influencers boom:
- Dig deep to avoid fake follower traps
- Know the brand, choose someone more relevant
- Build your own social media strategy
- Be authentic
It is a popularly known fact that influencer marketing drives a 7x higher ROI, and first influencer marketing campaigns resulted in a 17% increase in direct bookings. Advantages of Influencer marketing for hotels are crystal clear. Besides, it is more affordable than traditional methods like billboards or social media ads. It allows targeting a particular audience, which is potential guests of your hotel. This marketing trend is the best bet to build authentic campaigns with real partners.