Travel influencers are having a moment. With the ability to showcase stunning photography and lesser-known parts of the world, social media is the perfect platform for avid travelers to gain a following. This provides the perfect opportunity for hotel brands to partner with influencers and tap into those audiences in order to reach ideal guests.
Don’t know where to start? Read on to learn our three steps for getting your influencer strategy in place.
The first step for your hotel is to find the influencers that you want to work with. A great place to start is on Instagram or YouTube. Search relevant hashtags or head to the travel tab on the Explore page on Instagram to discover popular accounts. You can also look to aspirational brands — either inside or outside the travel industry — to see who they’re working with.
Once you’ve identified some influencers you want to work with, you’ll need to do some vetting. Of course, you’ll need to make sure they align with your brand in terms of the content they post and who their follower base is made up of. Make sure to think about your property goals. If you’re trying to acquire more family business, consider an influencer who likes to travel with their kids. If you want to reach more millennials, look for a trendier influencer who posts a lot on their Story.
Vet your influencers’ follower counts and engagement rates as well. While both are important, engagement rate should be looked at more than followers. Even if someone has 100,000 followers, if 50% aren’t engaged, you’re better off going with someone who has a following of 60,000 highly engaged users. It’s also beneficial to follow your potential influencers for a few weeks to see how their activity plays out in real time, allowing you to see how they respond to comments and what their organic and sponsored content is like.
2. Reach out and set expectations
Once you’ve established who meets the above criteria, it’s time to reach out. Many influencers list their email in their Instagram bio to make contact easy. When contacting them it’s important to set the expectations from the start and be as genuine as possible. While some influencers will produce posts in exchange for room nights or discounts, others will require financial compensation. Regardless of what they require, it’s important to have a set budget in mind before reaching out.
Consider comping meals and experiences on property so that influencers can get the full experience and provide your hotel with pictures and Story posts along the way. Schedule some nearby experiences as well, so followers can see how much there is to do in and around your property.
3. Set them up for success
Provide your influencers with a short itinerary and a shot list to give them ideas of things to do and post. If they aren’t from the area, give them insider tips and suggestions that they can then share with their own followers. While they’re visiting, make sure to share their posts on your hotel’s account to gain even more traction. It’s also beneficial to create a special discount code for the influencer to post in order to track the success of the partnership.