We live in the age of social media influencers. Brands across the globe utilize this powerful marketing tool to promote everything from sports drinks to travel to fashion. By understanding the way these influencers work, and by following our methods for engaging with them, your hotel will see increased success on social media and attract more guests.
Who Are Social Media Influencers?
Influencers are “social media personalities with loyal audiences that they earned by sharing content that inspires, entertains, informs, and connects them with their followers.” This direct connection with their followers ultimately drives conversations, sets trends, and gains visibility for whatever brand the influencer is showcasing in their posts. Below are a couple of examples of social media influencers in the travel industry.
These influencers explore the world and share their experiences with their followers, making them a trusted source for future travelers. This type of power is invaluable to your hotel, as it encourages visibility and ultimately will drive bookings. But how do you engage with these influencers and work with them to market your hotel? Here are five steps toward achieving that goal.
Step 1: Identify Your Influencers
As a hotel, you will want to focus on partnering with influencers who travel. Select an influencer whose audience is in line with your hotel’s target market (i.e. families who travel, young couples, and so on). Be sure to take a close look at their profiles and personality as well. How responsive are they with their followers? What verbiage do they use when talking about hotels and locations? There are different levels of influencers ranging from nano and micro (who have a following between 1k and 50k) and celebrity influencers who have millions of followers.
We recommend reaching out to nano and micro influencers. Generally, not only do they have higher engagement due to their smaller audiences, but they are more likely to charge less for their participation. It is a win-win because they are looking to increase their social media presence as an influencer and you are looking to increase visibility to your hotel.
Step 2: Reach Out and Establish Compensation
Once you have identified your influencer, you can reach out to them via direct message on their social channels or via email from their website or blog. Be sure your message is personalized and sincere. If the influencer responds positively, you can then negotiate a form of compensation. Some influencers will stay at your hotel for free to build up their repertoire of travel experiences and followers; however, you should not expect this. You can offer them anything from a free night at your hotel to a free meal at your restaurant. If any form of payment is involved, your influencer will need to disclose this in their posts or on their blog. For example, if you give them a free night’s stay, they will need to specifically call this out in their blog as shown below.
If they are doing posts on social media, they will need to prominently include hashtags such as #sponsored or #freenightsstay. The influencer should also tag your hotel in their posts.
Step 3: Define A Goal
You should always have a clear goal in mind when promoting your hotel and involving an influencer. Primarily, you want your guests to be attracted to your hotel and book with you so having an influencer speak to their first-hand experience will be invaluable. It is okay to ask them to take a certain number of photos and ask for specific shots of the room, dishes from your restaurant, cocktails, or any other relevant content your influencer can gather during their stay. Setting expectations on both ends will ensure a more successful partnership.
Your ultimate goal should be visibility and bookings for your hotel by the positive experience of your influencer. You may set a specific goal whether it be driving traffic to a specific page on your website, driving traffic to your website from the influencer’s blog, or simply gaining more likes on your Instagram account. No matter the goal, establish it with your influencer from the beginning so you can measure your success.
Step 4: Amplify Your Content
Make sure to put your influencers’ content front and center. There are several ways to accomplish this.
- Participate in conversations on their content
- Take blurbs from your influencer’s blog or posts and use them as content
- Share and pin their content on your social channels
- Post their content over several social channels simultaneously
- Reuse and repurpose their content over time
Finally, be sure to document any ROI from your partnership efforts with your influencer. Record not only shares, likes, comments, and traffic to your social channels during this time, but also the engagement and conversations on the influencer’s social channels.
Step 5: Build A Lasting Relationship
It is important to foster a relationship with your influencer for future partnerships with them as well as their network. Continue to engage with them and follow them on social media.
Always be on the lookout for bloggers who stay at your hotel by running keyword searches on your social channels. Share their blogs and social posts whenever possible to showcase your hotel and attract potential guests. As we have discussed, first-hand experience is invaluable to travelers and having positive stays highlighted on your hotel’s social media will increase the chances that guests will book with you as opposed to your competitors.
With all of these tools and best practices, you should be ready to begin your social media influencer journey. You can always reach out to our experienced team of social media marketers to ensure your success and to answer any questions!