This is a viewpoint by Hayley Corwick, co-founder of Steele Rewards.
Remember when you were in school and a friend showed up with an amazing backpack? You ran home and begged for the same one. The next week, the same kid had a new pair of sneakers that caused your head to spin.
Back in the day, we called those trend leaders, the cool kids. Today, we call it influencer marketing.
By this time, everyone is quite familiar with the art of personality marketing and it’s only growing.
According to eMarketer, 84% of marketers said they would launch at least one influencer campaign in 2017. Almost 60% of fashion and beauty brands already have an influencer marketing strategy in place, says a report from eConsultancy.
The hospitality industry has lagged behind the trends of fashion and beauty brands when it comes to tapping the talent of influencers for customer-acquisition but that’s changing quickly.
Hotel marketing departments report that just a year ago they would receive only one or two influencer requests a month. Now they are juggling three to five a week.
Without the assistance of a big public relations firm it could be difficult to determine which influencers to accept and how to best execute a meaningful collaboration. Below are a five do’s and don’ts for working with influencers- along with a couple tricks of the trade.
Do be choosy about your influencers:
Many of us already know that Instagram numbers don’t always tell the full or real story. Look for partners who are more than a pretty picture. For example, a healthy blog readership, in addition to an active YouTube channel is a good indication of a loyal fan base. That loyalty across channels is a good sign that a collaboration will yield customer conversions.
“Hotels should make sure that they're not only looking at follower count, but finding out if these followers are the target demographic they're interested in reaching,” says Kat Tanita, founder of the blog and travel app, With Love From Kat.
Don’t host an influencer without delineating very clear expectations:
Too many times, we’ve seen hotels host an influencer without spelling out deliverables, objectives and expectations. After several days at the property and only one Instagram post, the hotel was disappointed.
Before any invites are extended, a hotel should outline exactly how many posts they want to see each day on: InstaStory, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. If you’re sponsoring an influencer, you might even go as far as requesting to see a preview of the blog post and request the rights to photos.
Do have a clear plan to measure success:
Many hotels invite influencers and have no clear way to measure conversions or campaign success. How do you know how many reservations were made based on a collaboration?
Do make sure that the influencer you choose fits your brand:
Make sure that your partners have traveled to similar places, warns Ana Silva O'Reilly, who is the publisher of Mrs O around the World and works as a consultant to a variety of hotels.
She says whomever you work with should “know how to eat at a table and behave like one of your guests.” She continues, “Many [influencers] are actually living beyond their means and have this new found fame, which means no manners!”
Don’t Ignore the Power of Amplification
It can be a lot of pressure for an influencer to meet the expectations of a hotel partner. Hotels should take it upon themselves to amplify the influencer’s message.
That mean’s retweeting, linking to posts, re-gramming photos and sharing information across all of your media channels. After all, social media works best when everyone is, well, social.
This is a viewpoint by Hayley Corwick, co-founder of Steele Rewards. The views expressed are the views and opinions of the author and do not reflect or represent the views of her employer, tnooz, its writers or partners.
Image by Matheus Ferrero