Hotel Marketing: Leveraging Influencers

Finding the right Social Media Influencer for your brand in a world where everyone prides themselves on being an ‘influencer’ can be arduous. While their posts might be stunning, images and big numbers alone will not necessarily boost your brand presence in the way many influencers promise.  Selecting the right influencer for your business is key. Our guide to influencer marketing shows you how.

As social media platforms gain momentum with every passing hour, it’s important to play an active role if you’re looking to promote your hotel to travellers across the world. More and more, millennials (ages 18 – 34 yrs) are using their Instagram and Facebook newsfeed to plan their next travel destination.

Working with well-known Social Media Influencers (SMIs) can be a great way to leverage your brand’s exposure, but finding the right SMIs takes work.

In the past few years, SMIs have been playing a key role in leveraging brand presence across the world. While there are many legitimate and authentic influencers who want to promote brands for a freebie, there are also many fake accounts ruining the reputation of the good. So how do you find the right SMI that is best suited to you?

Follow these seven steps to help you find the right influencer for your brand.

Online marketing, selecting a social media influencerFamiliarise yourself with the nitty gritty

First things first, investigate their social media platform content. If they haven’t sent a press kit for you to review, ask for it and make time to go through it thoroughly. Ideally, a press kit will include links to all their social media platforms, analytics and insights, and the demographic of their audience base of these platforms. If they have a blog, ask for screenshots of sessions, page views, average session duration and pages/session. This will give you a better understanding of who their audience is and if they are the right fit for you to ensure that you are marketing your product to the right clientele.

Study their content

The SMI might have great images but do these images reflect your hotel brand and style? Remember, just because the images look fantastic on their platform does not necessarily mean they will compliment your brand. Go through their past content, read through their posts, and watch videos they have created.  When you work with an SMI, you give them the opportunity to be an ambassador of your brand so make sure that their content resonates with your hotel’s brand and philosophy.

Check engagement levels

An SMI with over 200,000 followers is interested in working with your hotel. That’s fantastic! But how do you find out if these followers are fake or real? With many people jumping on the bandwagon of becoming a digital nomad (another name for SMIs), hotels need to be careful and selective. Make sure to read through the comments to understand what their audience is like. Are the comments engaging and does it sound authentic? Is the influencer interacting with his/her followers? Go through their followers’ accounts and ask yourself, are these the kind of clients you want for your hotel? Another important thing to make note of is the SMIs’ engagement rate. Select one recent post and apply this formula.

Like + comment/number of followers’ x 100 = engagement ratio

On average it’s best to work with influencers who score more than 2% and be cautious of influencers with exceptionally high engagement because it could be fake. As the popularity of the influencer marketing grows, more people are resorting to buying followers and likes in order to enjoy the privileges of being an influencer without necessarily doing the actual work it requires.

Negotiate more

You’ve done the necessary groundwork and you’ve decided to work with an SMI who compliments your hotel brand. In exchange for a few social media posts on their account, they would like a night or two at your hotel. What about them do you like? Is it their photography, blog, or vlogs? If there’s something particular that stands out, ask them if they would be willing to give more of it. Perhaps it can be a few images which you can use for your own marketing campaigns in the future, a 30-second video for Instagram or Facebook or an additional post on their platform. They might say no but there’s no harm in asking!

Social Media marketingSign up a contract 

If you have an intention to work with many SMIs to promote your hotel, it’s best to draw up a contract or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure that you and the influencer are on the same page on expectations and deliverables. This will give both parties a document to refer at any given point. Make sure to include exact details, from the names of the influencer(s), accommodation basis, meals and beverages, and the number and type of deliverables agreed on.

Review first

Ask the SMI if they could share the post with you before publishing it on their platform. While you can’t demand big changes, you can review the post and see if it aligns with what you wanted from them. For SMIs, their accounts are their identity, so ensure that your request for changes are respectful and within reason.

Ask for a report

Once the content has been published, ask the SMI to provide a report inclusive of screenshots of the posts supported with engagement insights. These details will give you a better understanding of how the posts performed as well as these can be used for your own marketing reports. Further, you can use this information as a reference to negotiate your next SMI collaboration to get the best results for your brand.

Hospitality Insider Issue 4