When you consider how much we rely on the Internet these days – to ‘socialise’, shop and research products and services, it’s no surprise that traditional marketing techniques aren’t quite as effective as they once were.
As shoppers, we’re more savvy and astute and rely both consciously and sub-consciously on the opinion of others. Or on ‘social proof’ in marketing terms.
Once upon a time our main influencers when it came to lifestyle, fashion, travel, hospitality and more would have fallen into the category of ‘celebrity’ – be it fashion icons, movie stars or musicians. But these days there’s a definite desire to not only keep up with the Joneses, but outdo them too. With this in mind, many modern day influencers are pretty mainstream – a quality that makes them surprisingly effective.
So what is Influencer Marketing and how does it work?
Influencer Marketing, put simply is the use of endorsement by someone who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others. This is usually through their affiliation with a particular niche and / or their perceived knowledge and experience of a product or service, as well as a well-nurtured relationship with their audience.
Finding the right influencer for your hotel or M&E venue is key to making it work, and the great news is, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Some nano or micro influencers are happy to be paid in experience alone, or with very little monetary remuneration, whereas macro or mega influencers will require a little (or a lot) more, to sing the praises of your venue.
What makes an influencer?
Influencers, simply put are individuals with a regular, active and usually large scale online following. They can be divided into the following categories:
Nano-influencers – with 10,000 followers or fewer.
Micro-influencers – with 10,000 to 100,000 followers.
Macro-influencers – with 100,000 to 1 million followers.
Mega-influencers – with 1 million + followers.
It’s important to note that the category under which an influencer falls, has little bearing on their suitability to represent your brand, but a huge impact on the ability for your campaign to reach more people. It’s more vital that you choose an influencer that is truly invested in your product or services and aligned with the demographic of your desired customer to ensure the effectiveness of your Influencer Marketing campaign.
Where can I find an influencer?
Very often influencers will be right under your nose. They might be an existing follower on your hotel’s social media channels or someone you personally admire.
Equally, they can be easily tracked down with a search of trending hashtags, searching your service offering or looking more closely at your competitors. Also consider following and engaging with the social media accounts belonging to the cast of popular reality TV shows, as very often these minor celebs might be right up your street.
If you want to get an influencer on board in promoting your hotel, it’s imperative that you start laying the foundations of your relationship, well in advance, to ensure you’re as familiar to them as they are to you. Be sure to engage in their content and interact with their audience in a positive light. Failing that, other options for sourcing great influencers can be via online platforms or agencies that can help you find the perfect person (or people) for the job.
Your influencers might be members of other professions that affiliate with your service offering or they could simply be someone focusing their efforts on a particular lifestyle such as eating out, city breaks, country retreats or indulgent spa experiences… It might be that you work with just one influencer, or it might be that you work with many, depending on your marketing objectives.
How can an influencer add to hotel bookings?
It’s safe to say, there are few people who would turn down an overnight stay in a lovely hotel, a delicious 3 course meal for two on the house or even a day in the hotel spa. All you need to do is ensure that the service is 5 star and you keep inviting them back for more. With mentions of your hotel on their socials and (vitally) your engagement with their content – liking, commenting, saving and sharing, you’re sure to see the bookings roll in as their fans and followers see your hotel as the place to be.
How do I measure the ROI on an Influencer Marketing campaign?
Aside from noticing an uplift in bookings, it’s easy to monitor the effectiveness of a campaign, with the provision of an incentive. Give your influencer a discount code relevant to the service they are promoting, to share with their audience and you can clearly identify bookings associated with the campaign.
InfluencerMarketing is not going away…
As social media platforms expand and develop their offering and with the pandemic accelerating the growth of Influencer Marketing in 2020, this growth has continued throughout 2021 with many brands increasing their Influencer Marketing budget. It would be foolhardy to assume this was just a mere fad.