The Importance of Influencer Marketing in Hospitality
You might have already heard that “word-of-mouth is the best type of advertising”. While before, that “word-of-mouth” was limited to friends, coworkers or any other people with whom we had direct contact, today, this influence extends beyond borders and personal acquaintances. At the origin of this phenomenon are social networks.
Their evolution has been super-sonic. Initially used to keep a small circle of friends and family up-to-date on the news in our personal lives, it was only a short time before these platforms’ global reach potential was recognised.
Strategies of relevant and sometimes viral content, as well as special attention to the “whims” of the respective platforms’ algorithm, made the number of followers skyrocket, increasing the reach of the users’ voices, opinions and personal interests. Suddenly, “normal” people were becoming celebrities in the world of social networks.
The new celebrities
With a louder voice comes more power. Greater reach has caused these new celebrities of the digital world to expand their level of influence. Any products, brands, services or places mentioned or recommended by them on social media have almost immediately seen a substantial increase in brand awareness or sales. Never has word-of-mouth been so impactful.
Their credibility grows as new content is published. Admired by thousands or even millions of people worldwide, they influence behaviours, purchasing habits and even lifestyles. It wouldn’t be long before these new “influencers” started being approached with collaboration proposals to promote new products.
The travel influencers
Along with lifestyle and fashion, travel and tourism are two of the most prominent areas in social media. Images and videos of dreamy beaches, unique hotels, plane trips and new experiences abroad are some of the contents that generate more interaction. Travel “experts” multiply online, offering inspiration and authenticity to followers who faithfully accompany them and aspire to share the same lifestyle one day.
The hotel industry could not remain indifferent to this phenomenon. The opportunity to reach thousands of potential new guests exactly when they are looking for inspiration and recommendations for their next holiday is priceless. Alongside self-promoting content or
digital campaigns, hotels have also started considering influencer marketing actions in their strategies.
A well-designed campaign of this type results in greater brand recognition and sales. But what factors should be taken into account when creating it?
Three secrets to an effective collaboration with a travel influencer:
1. Look Beyond the Number of Followers
Gone are the days when choosing influencers for a campaign mainly depended on their number of followers. Let’s think about it: what’s the point of having thousands or even millions of followers if most of them don’t interact with your content or show any sign of emotional connection?
The metric you should look at is the influencer’s engagement rate, i.e. the ratio of likes and comments on posts to their total number of followers. A low engagement rate means that collaborating with this influencer will result in poor brand exposure considering that their followers do not show a solid connection to your content.
2. Consider Your Target Audience
To promote your hotel/accommodation, consider your brand positioning and the profile of your potential guests. When choosing an influencer for a social media campaign, ensure their followers’ profiles match your target audience.
What is the niche of that specific travel influencer? Solo travel, family travel, more adventure-orientated or more upmarket? The more you coincide with the target audience, and the more identified their followers feel with the content, the greater the influence and the more effective the campaign will be.
3. Offer Creative Freedom
Once you have established the collaboration agreement, make sure you present the influencer with all the most relevant highlights of your hotel. Let them know the most “instagrammable” locations, the most impressive gastronomic creations, as well as the origins and history of the accommodation. After all, they need to understand your strongest points to be able to show them off to their followers. If they don’t experience it themselves, information is unlikely to be passed on authentically and genuinely, and authenticity is one of an influencer marketing campaign’s most crucial success factors.
Next, give the influencer the freedom to do what they know best: create content. Only they know what works best with their audience. Negotiate the number of posts but avoid the temptation to tell the influencer what they should focus on or how they should get their message across.
Influencer marketing is undoubtedly the way to go if your goal is to increase your brand awareness. With fewer and fewer consumers relying on traditional marketing, it’s essential to enlist the help of the most effective word-of-mouth technique today: influencers.
Maria João Proença
Digital Marketing Expert
ABC Sustainable Luxury Hospitality
Proudly Ambassador Global Wellness Institute
Happiest Places to Work – Awards