Word of mouth is one of the most successful marketing strategies, but also one of the hardest to generate. Today we talk about one alternative marketing trend to consider for your hotel, influencer marketing. With a quick guide and some great examples from other hotels, start your own campaign.
We have discussed some actions to engage with prospective guests, such as video and online management. We are definitely living in a world where word of mouth moves faster than ever thanks to social media and the Internet; consumers trust peers more than ever in the decision-making process. And thanks to this, influencers are becoming more and more important in social media.
Around 92% of consumers look for information and referrals from the people they know. But what is an influencer exactly? An influencer is a person who has an above-average impact on a specific consumer group or niche and is looked for advice, direction, trends, and opinions. Around 50% of marketers use influence marketing to generate leads and sales, whilst the other 40% focus on brand engagement.
From celebrities to bloggers, photographers or travelers, influencers are expected to help hotels raise awareness, desirability, and loyalty with appropriate target audiences by sharing endorsed stories as trusted social media users.
How to run a campaign?
Considered one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies on the market, influencer marketing has seen a popularity rise in hospitality in the last years. A recent study from Tomoson exposed that companies investing one dollar in influencer marketing would get on average $6.50 in return. Influencers have a different face for every brand and every story told. To work with influencers in your hotel we have gathered some suggestions to reflect on before, as stories to tell might work with different individuals. Here are the first steps:
Before choosing any influencer to work with your hotel, think of your target audience. Consider location, age group, interest, and narrow characteristics as much as you can. Hotel marketers generally have a good idea of their guest, therefore taking this information and identifying the messages your audience positively reacts to is a great first step to having a good message criteria. Think if you want a blogger, a vlogger or an Instagrammer. Last but not least, define the exact results you want to achieve by working with an influencer to keep clear criteria at all times.
After identifying the stories that work, it’s time to find your potential influencers. The right influencers have a massive reach in your target audience due to their shared content and the relationship they have with their followers. Additionally, they are recognized in the industry you’re targeting by their knowledge and opinions. Revise their content, relevance, and engagement. Once you have identified the right individuals, approach them.
Once you have identified the right individuals, approach them. The first step is to present the idea and discuss it with your potential influencers. After this, discuss compensation: it could be recognition from your hotel on your social media; a discount or a giveaway, like offering a free night and a spa treatment to the influence; or finally but not recommended, a financial compensation. However, you need to ask yourself if you would trust any reviews or experiences from a paid experience. After finalizing those details, get on with sharing your stories and experiences with the influencers. If you’re having some issues, doubts, or simply want some guidance, there are fantastic agencies dedicated to finding influences and build campaigns with brands. Some agencies include Digital Visitor, Brandnew, Pulse Advertising,
How others do it
The first example comes from Marriott, which joined forces with British vlogger Jack Harries (known as JacksGap to the video community) to promote Tokyo, New Orleans, and Istanbul to a younger crowd. With over 4 million followers, Harries shares his YouTube channel with his brother Finn, and they are known as travel vlogger and good story teller. The short videos showcase the vlogger’s experience during 24 hours, including bazaars, food, and not very typical activities for an average traveler. Combined, the videos mass over 9 million views. Watch one of the three of the stories below.
The hotel chain has done similar work with video influencers in the past, including a short film called ‘Two Bellmen‘, a collaboration with extreme sports and arts company Substance Over Hype. However, Marriott is not the only industry player challenging formats. Travel Instagram account @BeautifulDestinations boasts an amazing 7.3 million follower muscle, and is constantly showcasing -as their name can tell you- breathtaking destinations from around the world. This picture is a great example of how travel brands and hotels come together to display the best of one place based on guest experiences.
The best moments when traveling aren’t defined just by where you stayed, but by what you did. #BDTeam @jacob and @sam_kolder walked on water at @hiltonhotels’ Los Cabos property! “The hues from sunrise glistening over the turquoise ocean and bouncing off the seamless pools beckons any guest out of bed to take in this moment. Sam made his way out for the best view possible before a day of infinite adventures!” Visit @hiltonhotels and check out our Instagram Story for more amazing moments captured by @beautifuldestinations! #NoTravelRegrets
Opting for a different type of influencers, Holiday Inn wanted to share touching guest stories with their audience, and the Creekmore family is a fantastic example of their campaign. The videos explore guest’s life stories in an unscripted documentary format, unthreading the stories and faces of guests from around the world that otherwise would have never been heard.
Finally, the last success story comes all the way from Las Vegas (USA), where Luxury hotel Bellagio created ‘Ultimate Vegas’. The campaign invited a diverse group of over 20 influencers from all around the world to promote the hotel. Influencers curated in-property content in multiple channels and following their own content and aesthetics, delivering 100% growth for Bellagio’s Instagram followers (from 51.000 to 103.000), and a double-digit growth traffic on their website. Here’s one of the final results.
Make every moment unforgettable. #UltimateVegas Photo by @muradosmann A photo posted by Bellagio Las Vegas (@bellagio) on