The term “influencer” brings out a wide range of reactions among consumers and businesses. Influencers are not a new phenomenon, celebrity endorsements are a marketing tactic that larger brands have engaged with for decades.
However social media has provided a platform where people do not need to be a famous football player or singer to become an influencer and so “influencer marketing” is now a booming industry.
According to Merriam Webster, the definition of the term influencer that is most often used is:
“A person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media.”
Across the list of ever-growing social media platforms, there are thousands of influencers covering everything from sports, to fashion to cleaning! Apps like Instagram and Youtube have grown in popularity because we all enjoy consuming content that resonates with us. That feeling is amplified when we identify with others who express similar interests. This often creates a feeling of a personal connection with influencers. Many position themselves as ‘experts’ within their field and so trust is key to the influencer/follower relationship.
As social creatures, it is ingrained deeply to “keep up with the Joneses” and now, more than ever, people look to influencers for guidance on the latest trends – be it the latest fashion trends or where to go for a midweek break.
The relevance for hotels or indeed for any brand is that influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method. Many Avvio customers have seen fantastic results in complementing their digital marketing strategies with influencer marketing.
Influencer Marketing in action
In the summer of 2019, Johnstown Estate launched its new Mulberry Suite which was targeted at the “girl getaway market” and worked with influencers relevant to this target market to promote the launch of the suite. Using promo codes within the Avvio platform they were directly able to track the impact of this campaign through their booking engine. The overall result for Johnstown Estate was that the Mulberry Suite was booked out for dates three months in advance.
A key part of the re-opening strategy for the Inn at Dromoland was to promote the Hotel to families and so they engaged with influencers they knew would resonate with this market. Again through the use of promo codes, the bookings generated by the influencers were accountable for 54% of the family bookings in July and August.
Leanne Mc Cafferty at the g Hotel Galway commented on the use of influencer marketing:
“Influencers are a great way to effectively reach a new audience that is within your target demographic, so brand awareness is a key advantage. Coinciding with this is, it’s a much more organic way of showing the customer journey, it looks like a softer sell than the Hotel posting themselves or targeted adverts. Another great positive to influencer marketing is the content they can create – great quality shots that can then be reshared or posted to the Hotels own page also. However it’s important to be selective when picking an influencer, they have to be the right fit for your current followers and one that matches your brand, what it stands for and its core values.”
Providing an influencer visiting your property with a promo code that they can distribute to their followers can drive bookings. We would also compare influencer marketing to other online paid models of advertising and remember that the promo code is similar to “last-click attribution”. Many followers will use the promo code immediately to make a booking and they can be directly associated with the content posted by the influencer. In addition to that, we have also seen increases in traffic and booking engine shoppers as a result of influencer campaigns. As another strand of social media marketing, it is also an exercise in brand awareness and would be considered “top of the funnel”. It helps get your property to enter the consideration set of those considering getting away, they may not be ready to make the booking just yet.
How do I get this right for my hotel?
Partnering with an influencer or influencers can expand your share of voice in your existing target market. Segments like corporate travel will take time to recover, which is why many hotels are searching for new markets. Influencer marketing could play a significant role in that strategy. Key things to remember when partnering with an influencer is to ensure you know who their audience is and that it matches who you want to reach. Create a brief on the hotel brand, your destination, and what the hotel takes pride in, for example, a menu that showcases local suppliers, so they have ample content to create. Transparency is also key for everyone’s brand integrity so if their visit is complimentary, ensure that it is communicated in their posts.
In these “uncertain times” using influencer marketing as a part of your strategy can be more effective than ever. Safety is the primary concern for guests and seeing influencers which they trust visiting your property and outlining how they enjoyed their stay with all the different provisions in place is a great way of showcasing the “new normal” at your property.