8 tips for integrating influencers into your hotel marketing strategy – Hotel-Online
Kacey Bradley | October 25, 2019
If you’ve logged into Instagram in the past couple of years, you’ve probably noticed that your favorite actor, singer, or other celebrity posts with hashtags like “ad” or “sponsored.” With so many followers watching what they’re doing, these people become influencers, inspiring others to buy the products they use just by showing the world they’re using them. Often times, companies work with these celebrities or famous people on Insta to get them to showcase their offerings as well.
It turns out that this type of social media marketing can be a very useful marketing technique for hotels. Influencers come in and document their stay on their feeds, which their thousands or millions of followers see – and want to replicate. It’s so effective that 75% of advertisers are already using influencer marketing. Now it’s your turn. Here are eight tips to make it work for you.
1. Start with a goal
You can’t use an influencer to achieve your marketing goals if you don’t know what those goals are. So take the time to define what you hope to achieve with the help of an influencer. Do you want more traffic to your website or more Instagram followers? Chances are, you want to see an increase in bookings as well.
2. Know when to bring them
According to Accommodation magazine, over two-thirds of the trip planning process dream and plan the getaway. So you don’t want to bring in an influencer during your hotel’s peak hours – that’s when you want to inspire your customers to visit. Instead, bring in the influencer at the end of the season to motivate guests to look to your hotel next season. Or, invite influencers before your busiest season to push for last-minute bookings.
3. Choose the “room off” nights
Again, you don’t want to bring an influencer to your hotel during peak times – their free stay will affect your hotel returns. Instead, bringing them in during the offseason when there are empty rooms makes the most financial sense. It is even better to use a â€œfree roomâ€ allowance so that your hotel statistics are not affected. Indeed, it is a marketing operation and should not count in the key performance indicators of the hotel management. Avoid any potential conflict by designating influencer stays as “out of room” nights.
4. Select the right influencer
You can’t randomly select an influencer to come in and do some marketing magic for your hotel. It turns out that some highly-followed people on Instagram have tired followers. Maybe the influencer is already posting a lot of branded content – sharing it with your hotel won’t impress.
Instead of, find mid-level influencers with engaged audiences who comment on their posts. Their followers have a relationship with them on social media and consider their posts to be genuine. Therefore, having the influencer touting your hotel would sound like a real endorsement, not just for the money.
5. Update your social media presence
The influencer you bring to your hotel will surely be linked to your social media pages when they post about your hotel. As such, you want to make sure that potential customers who click will continue to be impressed with your offers. Make sure your Instagram page has engaging photos of your accommodation, food, and all on-site activities. Also update your bio to include a link to the most awesome pages on your website. All of this will serve to further encourage Instagram users to book with you.
6. Encourage more influential photos
Influencers with an engaged audience probably already know how to take a good photo – they know what their followers want to see. Nonetheless, for the sake of your business, it’s a good idea to describe the types of images you expect to see posted.
For example, a selfie from the influencer won’t do much to show off their hotel stay. Instead, encourage them to get creative with the photos they take. Offer to take pictures for them so that they have a more candid and authentic look. To this end, if the influencer is bringing a friend or family member, group photos will also be useful in promoting your property. Also ask them not to flood their feeds with photos of your hotel. Too many photos, and it will start to look like an ad campaign instead of an Instagram post.
7. Start a conversation
If you’ve chosen the right type of influencer, their followers will comment on the photos they post of your hotel. Make sure you stay on top of these reviews and respond to all inquiries regarding the property. After all, it’s those conversations that you engaged the influencer for. Your engagement and responses might also make people stick with you.
Indeed, you should take a page from an influencer book in this area. Always respond to comments on social media and engage with followers, especially the post-influencer stay. New people who followed you will want to get to know you and what you have to offer, because a trusted source says it’s worth their time.
8. Maintain the relationship
You’ve connected with the right influencer (s) and welcomed them to your place, but the work doesn’t stop there. Track click-through rates to see how many eyes you have drawn to your site. Add a box on the booking form to see how future customers heard about your hotel – they’ll give you the influencer name if that’s how they heard about your hotel.
If you notice an increase in traffic and visitors because of an influencer, you can build a relationship with that person in the future. Callback marketing can come in handy – maybe the influencer wants to come back next year for another getaway? This relationship could benefit both of you.
And, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: improving your hotel’s reputation with the help of a willing and appropriate influencer. Take your time, find the right person, and see what happens next. It could lift your business to new heights, as it has done for many others.