have you ever wondered if influencer marketing is useful in the hospitality world?
Maybe you too have been contacted by an influencer asking to stay in your property at your charge in exchange for visibility on their social networks. What should you answer in such cases? And especially: how should you evaluate their offer? We will explain all the points to take into consideration.
About the influencer
An influencer is a very powerful figure that has been on the up and up in recent years. The influencer is someone who has a good online reputation, who manages to reach a good number of active and selected people (his or her community), who tend to be trusted and curious about what is being offered to them. In other words, an influencer is a person who, through his or her position, is able to inspire and ‘influence’ the purchasing decisions of the fans.
About influencer marketing
It is a kind of marketing in which a brand or company decides to team up with an online influencer, involving him or her in its communication strategy to promote a product, service or, as in your case, a property.
The social media we suggest for this type of business is definitely Instagram, perfect for all types of influencers. As a recent survey by SocialPubli shows, 96% of marketers consider Instagram the best social for creating this sort of partnership. In tourism, however, don’t underestimate those who have a blog, not just travel bloggers. Well-written and well-indexed content is an excellent resource for reaching target consumers over time.
Some numbers about influencer marketing in the travel industry
In 2020, research by Influencer Marketing Hub shows that for every $1 invested in co-marketing, up to $18 can be earned, with an average of $5.78. A Forbes study states that “the Instagram factor plays a crucial role in millennials’ travel destination decisions”. This means that a well-done photo beats many other factors that were once considered crucial, such as cost, cuisine and entertainment options in a specific area.
Is influencer marketing only for large hotel groups? And how much does it cost?
Let’s say that a good influencer marketing strategy aimed at identifying the right influencers is not only affordable for large hotels, but can also be a good and well considered investment for smaller establishments. It is not easy to identify a standard figure although, in general, we can say that to hire a micro influencer (i.e. profiles with between 10,000 and 30,000 followers), which could produce good conversions, an amount between €400 and €1,000 could be enough. In all, if we decide to contact at least 2-3 micro influencers simultaneously, the investment (taking into consideration organisation, management, monitoring, “living” costs for hospitality and travel) could be of €6000.
Let’s start from the basics: your social profiles and your website
Before choosing the best influencer and analysing their media kit (i.e. a presentation document with profile data) it is important to do an objective analysis of your communication. Are your social profiles well cared for and updated? Is the website converting visits into reservations?
Without checking these elements, even the best content creator wont be able to bring you the expected results. Would you ever follow a property that has bad photos with profiles and information that are 2 years old?
The 4 questions you need to ask yourself before engaging in any influencer marketing.
– What is the goal for the influencer?
– What do we want them to communicate?
– What services do we want him/her to highlight?
– Who will follow him/her while they are your guest?
Working with an influencer can lead to an increase in the number of conversions and an increase in popularity. A lot will depend on the product we decide to promote. Since we are dealing with a touristic property, various elements come into play, such as seasonality, economic possibilities, geographical distances and many others that will lead users to become active in the medium-long term. Remember that this collaboration could lead to expanding the number of new users but could also enhance the relationship with our existing community, encouraging them to come back.
Choose the right influencer for your property and your marketing strategy.
No influencer is the same as any other and the decision of its status will generate a series of other choices.
The influencer’s status will affect the target audience, the choice of content, the voice tone, the publication frequency… these are some of the technical parameters to be considered.
Keep in mind that dialogue and interaction, based on quality content, are the ‘weapons’ of a successful influencer.
Having many followers is no longer a guarantee of success. There are profiles with very large user bases that are much less effective than micro-influencers with more specific and genuinely interested niches. In short, it is not the numbers that really matter, but the engagement.
In order to choose an influencer, or to see if the influencer is the right fit for your marketing strategy, you need to first check that they are not someone totally outside of your target. For example, if he or she is a lover of the slow lifestyle and sustainable tourism, it will not be appropriate to invite him or her if our property is not aware of these issues. At the same time, not focusing only on your specific field and product could be a winning choice. For example, you could invite a lifestyle influencer who shares your values and can speak about them in the correct tone of voice, even if they are not a travel blogger.
How to evaluate an influencer
The first thing to do if an influencer reaches out to you is to have his/her media kit. If you want, you can check their profile on some free tools that can help you evaluate the performance of Instagram profiles, such as Not Just Analytic.
To rate a profile you will need to check
– Impressions: the number of total views that a post, an article, a page on a site can reach;
– reach: coverage, the number of individual users who viewed an ad, story, post or page, engagement;
– the interactions of the audience with the different digital content published (reactions or comments to the posts).
The project with the influencer to promote your property
You understood that it is not enough to host the influencer in your property. Once you decide the goal on which to focus your influencer marketing activity, you will have to prepare a project together, an idea that will show the true value of the content created. You will agree on experiences, activities but also on the number of stories and posts on his feed.
OK, you found the right person, you reached out to him or her and agreed. Well, if the influencer will be paid for the activity carried out, remember to put the agreements in writing and to send a report of the activity carried out.
You now have a lot of elements to consider when integrating influencer marketing into your business plan. Enjoy your work and let us know how your partnerships are going!