Influencer Marketing – Can Your Hotel Benefit From It?
Most hotel marketers in 2019 have noticed that it has already been a while since conventional advertising strategies have become almost obsolete and a thing of the past. A simple banner or a TV commercial is no longer enough to attract and retain customers and hotels are becoming aware of this. With the rise of social media and YouTube channels, publicity and advertising have reached new heights and they have often been given actual faces: the ones of influencers and hotel influencer marketing.
There’s no good reason why the hospitality industry could not profit from this new marketing strategy. Putting a well-known face to your brand, commercial, or one-time offer is something that can boost your popularity and increase the level of visibility in the online space. You are probably aware by now that having a strong online presence is key in today’s modern world. Although standard techniques, like having a well-optimized website, social media presence, and a large distribution area when it comes to reviews and your hotel’s reputation - are all highly relevant - however, the need for advertisement is still there and probably, stronger than ever. With the rise of social media, any smart hotel marketing profession has a brand new world of possibilities at their fingertips.
Why rely on influencer marketing though? Well, first of all, it might be good to know that 47% of online consumers are currently using AdBlock, being exposed daily to a ridiculously high number of ads, which they are tired of. In this case, the regularly paid advertisement won’t work. Nowadays, people are way more interested in actual content that can describe a product or service than hearing about it from a traditional ad.
Influencer marketing goes beyond the traditional means of advertisement, which the majority of consumers are starting to block
Second of all, pop-culture is packed with a new wave of celebrities. They might not be actors, singers, writers or anything as “well-defined”, but they can be just as recognizable and trusted by a large audience. Take Youtubers, for example. Some of them do vlogs, other travel diaries, some just do comedy well, and most of them start from the bottom. Maybe from their own basement or room, with not much equipment, but boy, do they make it big. Up to the point where they have millions of subscribers and viewers on YouTube, turning them into real-life celebrities. But the thing that separates them from the red carpet usuals is their start. Unlike someone who has been in the public eye for many years now, someone who is known for endorsing large brands, influencers, like the ones created on Youtube, are much more relatable and approachable by the public. Usually, people identify more with someone who used to walk in their shoes, a regular person. Also, it’s good to know that 43% of brands deem social media influencers more relevant than using celebrities in their advertising. It is already a trend and it’s getting stronger.
The influencers completely rely on their audience, because it is the most important factor in their rise and success. If an influencer makes poor recommendations, of products or services that don’t meet people’s expectations and they do it only for the financial benefits, that will most probably cost them their credibility in the eyes of their viewers and subscribers. The public knows it and this is why they trust an influencer’s recommendation. It better be good, or else they will end up losing part of their support. Studies even show that 92% of people will trust word-of-mouth recommendations over ads - and who would have a larger audience that relies on word-of-mouth than an influencer?
Allow the influencer to adapt your strategy to their own style, that their audience know and trust
As a hotelier, if you choose to invest in an influencer, you have to adapt to his own personal means of advertising your hotel. Whether it’s on Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, or a blog, make sure that you’ll provide the best possible tools for the influencer to do his job right. If his online footprint is a highly visual one, a stay at your hotel for a night or two could be the best way to go. Let them vlog, take lots of pictures, post on social, do stories on Instagram, live videos, anything that they can do and feel comfortable doing. Try not to impose a certain style or script, because their audience will notice it immediately and perceive it as unnatural and fake.
Also, always keep in mind that the influencer is, first of all, your guest. Treat him just as well as you would a regular guest, make his stay as pleasant as possible and that will translate towards his followers.
Another thing that you can do, if you want to hit an even bigger target, is to keep an eye on the entire influencer business. Sticking to the Youtuber example, many of them are managed by certain companies that do their PR, their contracts and promotions and those companies sometimes organize events for their influencers. Anniversary parties, Christmas or New Years, whatever it is, they will need a space to enjoy and they might even organize a stay. Reaching out to these companies and offering to host their get-togethers can turn out to be a smart move since the place will be filled with all sorts of influencers, who take photos, make videos, vlog, and so.
Influencer marketing appeals highly to younger generations and it enables a huge level of visibility for brands
Travel and hospitality are the perfect industries for influencer marketing since the 2014 ‘Google Travel Study’ shows that the internet is the most influential when it comes to inspiring leisure travel decisions and influencers are on the rise. Especially when it comes to attracting younger generations, such as millennials and gen Z’ers, to your hotel, using an influencer to promote your brand and facilities can draw a high level of attention and popularity, resulting in increased revenue and better visibility.
It’s important to constantly adapt to the new waves of marketing and advertising and in order to do that, you need to know your business inside out. Before reaching out to influencers to promote your hotel, make sure that you are aware of all its strengths and weaknesses, which can easily be done by properly analyzing the online reputation. For an all-in-one approach that enables both an in-depth analysis of guest reviews, as well as diverse means of marketing them, we recommend taking a look at our complete guest feedback solution.