- By Lynan Saperstein
Working with social media influencers is one of the hottest new ways to affect your potential guests’ buying decisions and create high-quality content for your boutique hotel or resort without the excessive costs of most marketing efforts.
An influencer is defined by Influencer Marketing Hub, as “an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. An individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage with.”
Due to Instagram’s large presence in the hospitality and travel world, collaborations with micro-influencers with very specific niches is the new and much more affordable way to extend your properties reach and online presence, sometimes even better than Facebook and Google Ads. With influencers creating ‘Instagrammable’ images and sales copy content and delivering it directly to your ideal demographics, posts about your property can generate target brand awareness and sales effectively.
Here are our 6 insider secrets to mastering influencer marketing.
1. Check Their Stats
When discerning which influencer your hotel will choose to work with, you will want to investigate to see who will showcase and actually support your property, as opposed to those who only want a free luxury stay.
Do your research before you invite someone to collaborate with your hotel. A powerful usually secret tool to use to research every Instagram account you consider collaborating with is: IG Audit by Authentique.
Using IGAudit.io, you input the account name and it will give you an accurate percentage of how many of their followers are actual engaged users, meaning ‘real’ human beings who could come to stay at your property from the shared content.Don’t be afraid to ask questions and go in-depth asking about the influencer’s following and audience:
- Where are most of their followers based? (both cities and countries)
- Is their audience in the ideal age range for guests at your hotel?
- Does their brand’s look & feel fit within yours or does it clash?
These are all important factors to pay attention to and look into before agreeing to work with an influencer. Ask for screenshots and be sure to save all of their stats, data, and research in one place for easy retrieval; an Excel sheet is a great start!
2. Create A Page Within Your Website
The most powerful way to attract high-level, high-leverage influencers can be creating an invitation page on your hotel or resort’s website to explain how you work in collaboration with social media influencers and content creators.
It can be hidden from homepage visitors, and easier to access through a press or contact page. You will likely get requests through this page and be able to direct interested influencers to this page, so be sure to have as much specific information of your requirements and requests as possible, to cut down on unnecessary back and forth messaging with the wrong influencers. Additionally, it will help for your property to decide on criteria for the most ideal influencer and content creator collaborations and what you would like to require in exchange for a free or discounted stay.
Another key point is to have a dedicated point person on your hotel’s team who can respond and manage these requests and has a deep working knowledge of your brand, requirements, and collaboration guidelines. This helps keep everything consistent and clear. We recommend someone with social media and/or marketing experience, but you can also utilize an admin person.
3. Reach Out Yourself
If your hotel or resort is already active on your social media accounts, posting and engaging with followers already, then you will likely already be getting requests. But if you’re just starting out or beginning to build up your content & consistency on Instagram, you might need to do some outreach. You can partner with a marketing agency like The Experience Experts or a PR agency that represents reputable influencers who will be aligned with your hotel brand and ideal guest.
Another option is to do it yourself, through Instagram DM’s or Facebook Messages. You can do a little research and reach out to influencers that create content that works for your brand and reach out to see if they will be in your area in the future. In this way, you can also prescreen for the most ideal fits, as you are in charge of starting the conversation.
4. Make Sure You’re Being Linked To
The entire goal of working with influencers is to get more direct bookings at your property through long-term exposure. Making sure that the influencers that you work with link back to you is key! Trill Travel and swipe-up links on Instagram stories are a great way to have their followers directly connected to your site and property. If they are bloggers or YouTube stars, be sure to have them link back to you in this content as well, as the click-throughs are sure to bring more traffic to your site.
5. Create Content Requirements
To ensure that any collaboration is worthwhile for your property, be sure to have content requirements for every influencer to comply with. A basic requirement list may look like this - but always encourage them to create more than your minimum:
- Access to all created content and rights to use it for your social media, marketing, and promotional purposes for any future advertising/posts
- Minimum 1 post per night stay offered
- 1-2 Flashback posts
- 10+ Edited images
- 1 or more videos
- 1 or more blog posts
Also, be sure to have them sign an agreement with your terms as well as confirm their travel plans to ensure that they actually arrive.
A bonus for this is create a basic itinerary for the influencer to see all the best features of your property, along with a required property tour to showcase the best spots! Having a list of picturesque photos on site will help them create the most content possible by doing the heavy lifting before they arrive.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
There are a lot of influencers that are great but not a fit for your demographics and won’t get your hotel or resort bookings and/or won’t create ideal usable content for you to use in marketing. Don’t be afraid to say no and decline influencers who reach out or to decline to work with someone that you reached out to initially.
If an influencer is being difficult or acting entitled in that they won’t sign an agreement or commit to dates, don’t be shy in revoking your collaboration request. There are thousands of influencers who will work within your boundaries to create stunning, quality content for you!n.
In conclusion, it is all about the growth of your social account and increasing exposure to your ideal audience who will them book their stay at your hotel. Be smart, have your boundaries, and don’t get sucked into all of the hype of fake influencers or social media creators who will not give you viable content and presence. Get ready to dive in and see if working with influencers will get results for your hotel or resort!