There’s a love-hate dynamic between hoteliers and influencers these days. As marketers, we can’t deny the importance of authentic, word-of-mouth recommendations. Yet the rise of influencers has resulted in a wave of freeloaders requesting all-expenses paid vacations in exchange for a couple social media mentions. How can hotels separate the tastemakers from the tricksters? Read on for a simple checklist.
If you’re a hotelier…
- Do your due diligence: Forget about the number of followers. Instead, look at engagement rates. This is the percentage of followers or viewers that respond to posts. Check the influencer’s engagement rate by randomly sampling five posts across the past six months by using this simple formula.
(Number of likes/ number of followers) x100 = engagement
According to Iconosquare, the engagement rate for the top 10 tourism brands in 2018 on Instagram ranges between 1.02% and 3.1%.
- Evaluate the influencer’s aesthetic: Is it on brand? Beyond that, look at the posts and see if the influencer comes across as genuine. Are they selective in their partnerships? Are they truly passionate about the brand or just in it just for the freebie? Followers can tell the difference between authentic posts and monetary-driven mentions (hence the rise of microinfluencers in campaigns).
- Ask for examples: Look at past collaborations and explore what the influencer can offer in return. Can they spend a few hours with your social media team to teach them some tips? Are they willing to offer some styling advice to enhance your hotel’s feed? The best influencers are professionals at getting attention on social media. Learn from them.
- Set the parameters: Prepare an agreement outlining the number of posts and whether you have usage rights to the content. Create a cheat sheet for them stating the desired hashtags, geotags and the account to tag.
- Be equipped: Ensure your property has decent wifi! Nothing frustrates an influencer more than not being able to deliver the goods. Go beyond the basics and provide pocket wifi so they can bring your destination to life. Make recommendations on places to visit. Think of the little details that will make the experience a pleasure to showcase. After all, this is what the hospitality industry is about.
If you’re an influencer…
- Understand your role: This is a business transaction. Your free trip incurs a direct cost to the hotel and they need a return on their investment. When you send a request for a collaboration, include what you can offer the property.
- Offer data: Provide statistics about your audience. Where are they from? Who are they? What age group do the majority fall into? Demographic stats are easily found in the Insights section of Facebook or Instagram. Show that you understand the hotel’s target market and demonstrate how you will help the hotel reach them.
- Be a straight shooter: Position yourself as content providers. Hotels need content for their social media platforms. In addition to sharing posts on your own platforms, can you style photos that the hotel can use? Can you offer them outtakes?
- Be flexible: The hotel will most likely have style guidelines that dictate how they should be portrayed. Adhere to their wishes. If you feel these guidelines impact the aesthetics of your feed, be prepared to reach a compromise.
- Go the extra mile: Prove how you can bring value. Perhaps it’s working with the hotel to come up with an incentive for your followers. Maybe it’s allowing your followers to have a complimentary drink if they use a certain hashtag. This will allow the hotel to track value and work with you again in the future. Remember, no one is entitled to a free stay. Be professional and treat this as a job.
Thoughts? What has worked for you in the past?