Influencer marketing is an excellent way to gain more direct bookings. By working with influencers, you can tap into audiences before they’ve even started searching for accommodation. With content available in just about every niche going, finding the right individual to work with has never been easier. Influencers are often cheaper than other forms of marketing but keep in mind the best ones will have certain expectations. You will need to let them stay at your property, and give them a certain amount of creative control. With this in mind, there are some things you should also consider before choosing which influencers to work with.
Check their influencer marketing stats
Your first check should be their audience statistics. Hospitality Net mention in their blog that you need to make sure they have the kind of audience you want. You will need to look not just at the overall numbers, but also their core demographics. If you are a B&B in rural Devon, you might not get much benefit if their audience is mostly teenage Malaysians. Consider the kind of visitors you usually get and make sure this aligns.
There are a couple of ways to do this. Bill Widmer of Social Media Examiner wrote about a handy list of tools you can use to look up influencers. Social Blade is great for getting overall audience numbers, which platforms they are most influential on and how well their influence is growing. For more specific marketing stats, you need to get in touch with influencers directly. They will be used to having to send these stats to other brands, so don’t be shy in asking for them. Let them know what kind of audience you are aiming for, and ask for proof that they can deliver in those areas.
Does their tone fit your brand?
As mentioned by Amadeus Hospitality, it is absolutely important that your influencer’s tone aligns with your brand. Audiences are more likely to trust authentic sponsorships. This means your brand will perform a lot better with influencers that have the same values as you do. You can hire an agency to help you with this – but nobody knows your property better than you do, so make sure you always have the final say before continuing with a campaign. You should have plenty of control over your influencer marketing campaign.
Holly Hamann of Tap Influence wrote a guest blog for Convince & Convert where she talks about this. You need to dive a little deeper into their posts to get how well aligned they are with your brand. Just because they are travel photographers doesn’t mean they are ideal for all hospitality businesses. If you are a young, edgy and provocative brand, you might be better aligned with backpackers that post about street art and food trucks than you would be with a family blogger. Make sure to check their other paid promotions to see what kind of brands they work with, and how well these campaigns seem to be performing. Again, don’t be afraid to ask for stats on specific posts.
What is their engagement like?
Small Business Trends make a convincing argument that engagement is more important than follower numbers. Social media platforms are rife with fake accounts, so check how many of their followers are actually interacting with posts. This doesn’t just mean numbers for likes and comments – also check the content of comments. Instagram, in particular, has bots that accounts use to post comments on a variety of posts across the platform. You can usually spot these a mile off, so read through a few of the comments to check these are mostly genuine.
You should also consider going with a micro-influencer. These are accounts that have smaller follower numbers, but generally better engagement. Shane Barker wrote on his amazing blog, the sweet spot is in the range of 1,000 – 5,000 followers. People are more likely to engage with these accounts as they believe they are more likely to receive responses. They also trust these accounts more as they generally only go with brand they genuinely like. These influencers usually charge less, but give you a much bigger return on your marketing investment.
How does the influencer interact with you?
Influencers are generally individuals rather than companies, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect a level of professionalism. Partners Creative recommend keeping an eye on how good they are at responding and how transparent they are. You should expect them to be as honest with you as you are being with them. If they aren’t keen to show their stats, or aren’t very responsive, it is best to avoid partnering with them. Your influencer marketing will be much more successful with a reputable person.
It’s also important to gage how enthusiastic they are about your brand. As mentioned by Influence & Co., if an influencer connects well with your brand, they will do a much better job of getting their audience to connect with it as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for a video call before giving the green light on a campaign. This will give you a clearer idea of what they really think about your brand. You want them to be almost as excited about your property as you are.
Can they provide loyalty?
You can’t realistically expect that you will be the only property they work for – but make sure they do not work with your competitors. Both Interweave and Gorkana emphasise this. You can demand exclusivity in the contract, as long as this is within reason. If your property is based in a smaller city such as York, there’s nothing wrong with asking them not to work with other properties in the city. In London, you should at least try to make sure they are not working with other businesses in the same area.
This is also another benefit to marketing with smaller influencers. Often, your main competition won’t be other small businesses but larger chains such as Travelodge or the Hilton. These chains are more likely to work with the bigger influencers – but smaller influencers will focus on specific types of brands. As long as your values align with the influencer, and they genuinely like your property, there is less to worry about with regards to them working with your competition.
These are just some of the factors you should consider when choosing an influencer. This is a simple and cost effective way of marketing your brand. Making sure their tone, engagement and loyalty align with your property is by far the most important consideration. Also keep in mind that many influencers freelance in other areas. From photography to travel writing, you might be able to get some additional marketing materials from the influencer. This might cost you a little extra, but ensures you build a great working relationship and get more out of your budget.
Want to learn about how to get the most out of your marketing budget? Sign up for the Boostly Academy for great tips on getting more booking.