Until the digital revolution, expensive print ads and commercials were the only way to tip the grand consumer awareness scales in your favor. Now, thanks to millennial activity on social media, word-of-mouth influencer marketing is a relatively inexpensive, referral-based social experience that can propel your brand into the spotlight and deliver new guests to your property. Hotel Management Contributor, Steve Cox, helps hotel marketers navigate through the process of building relationships with influencers and social referral networks to maximize results.
Your new generation of guests are digital natives, spending one in every five minutes on either Instagram or Facebook. Intercontinental Hotels Group predicts 40 percent of their online travel sales will come from mobile devices by 2020.
Tap into the infinite influencer web. Influencer marketing is like having a concierge introducing you to a massive web of highly qualified consumers. Travel influencers are trusted travel experts who excel at creating vivid images, highlighting their adventures. They’re also really good at making you look good with instant access to thousands and travel fans who are just one swipe away from booking their next trip.
Influencers affect opinions of more than just their followers. They influence family and friends when planning visits. They influence friends of friends who see your property tagged on selfies in the hotel courtyard. From there, the social referral threads are infinite.
Not all influencers are a good match for your brand though. Here are a few tips to help you navigate through social referral networks and these relationships:
Start with micro-influencers. Don’t be fooled by an inflated number of followers. Influencers with medium-sized audiences are often better choices for building social referral networks because of their higher engagement rates with followers.
Link to your best page. Reduce your drop-off rate by linking to a landing page that counts. For instance, a room page should have visually captivating images and an easy-to-navigate rate search option.
Be clear on branding guidelines. Cox suggests you ask influencers to post four or fewer creative, original images, avoiding shots that are too selfie-centric, and follow basic guidelines that best highlight your property and brand values.
Interact with your followers. Keep your audience in the know about events on your property and surrounding areas, special offers, and interesting facts about your region. Make sure a real person on your marketing team responds to comments and keeps your followers engaged in an authentic way.