Hotels’ marketing strategies have always depended on word-of-mouth throughout their history. Today’s word-of-mouth works mainly through OTA reviews (Booking /Expedia), reviews websites (TripAdvisor) and through social media platforms.
With social media’s growth, the role of influencers/bloggers/social media marketers has gradually increased. Currently, it has the power to provide a significant increase to the traffic generated to your website as well as direct bookings. As a result, this is obviously attractive for hotels, who get to increase their revenue by avoiding paying commissions to OTAs.
What is it that social media influencers do?
Influencers produce content in text, image and/or video, depending on the platform they use. That content can reach thousands of people, usually within a specific niche. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of influencers nowadays, working to produce content and “influence” specific people.
For example, you could get influencers for “Hotels in the US”, “Rural hotels in Portugal”, “Design hotels in New York”, “Pet-friendly Hotel”, etc…
Are they really worth it?
The results on traffic generated to a website and the bookings obtained will vary depending on the popularity of the influencer, the quality of their content and the public they have.
Below you can find an example where, over the period of a year and a half, a hotel benefitted from the influencer traffic that was generated. From the graphic, we can see an average monthly growth of 4% to the hotel’s website. Furthermore, if you were wondering if in 2019 influencer marketing is still valid, the average monthly growth was 8%.
The hoteliers’ challenge
The challenge for hoteliers is to find the time to determine whether the person who has contacted them asking for three free nights will bring the right audience to the hotel. And, consequently, if the content he or she creates is convincing enough to get some of their public to book a room at the hotel through the website.
Excellent influencers are:
a) Content Generators: The influencer creates all the content without having to involve you. If successful, this will help you save time for your hotel in content development.
b) Revenue Originators: If the audience is convinced by the influencer, then the bookings increase and will get the ROI you were looking for!
c) Awareness Boosters: Influencers are great at generating or increasing brand awareness. Therefore, they make your brand look popular and even more authentic.
d) Trust Creators: People sometimes struggle will trusting a brand and their advertising. But when the influencer says your service is good, people find it easier to believe it.
Final thoughts – How do we measure success in an influencer marketing campaign?
There is no doubt at this point that influencers can help your brand. But, how do we measure the campaign/partnership’s results and the boost they brought to your brand’s online presence?
For you to calculate the ROI of the campaign, you need to evaluate how it has impacted – positively or negatively – your brand’s performance in the following areas:
- Bookings/reservations through your hotel’s website;
- Website traffic;
- Social Media followers;
- Organic reach (likes, comments, shares, mentions, etc.);
- Hashtag mentions.
- Start a collaboration with someone who can create genuine, authentic, and appealing content that transmits the values and identity of your hotel. It isn’t all about the number of followers/likes;
- Make your decision based on engagement too. Usually above 2-3% is good by industry standards. But don’t be fooled! Some influencers tend to buy followers/likes;
- Look at the average Likes per post to check if users interact on a basic level with the content;
- Look at the average comments per post to understand if users are really engaging with the content on a more advanced level;
- Check their audience’s demography: country, age, language used. For example, is it content for couples? Family oriented? People looking for long holidays or city-breaks? Solo travellers?;
- Evaluate the topics: Is hotel-only content posted? Is it mixed? For instance, Destination, Fashion, Luxury, Automotive etc.?;
- Photographs/Videos: Make sure they show hotel your hotel in the best light and check the engagement on hotel specific posts. Above all, do they seem genuine?;
- Language used: Will the tone used in posts match the one expected by your potential clients?;
- Check the number of media uploads. This helps you determine whether the platform used is recent or whether the content creator regularly uploads content;
- It is crucial that, if a partnership is established with an influencer, the content has links directly to your website and not OTA or review pages!