How important is influencer marketing content to hotels?
Experts weigh in on the developing trend that has already had massive advertising ramifications for other industries.
The concept behind an influencer marketing campaign is a simple one: a brand taps into existing followings on social media by working with influencers, who themselves have large followings in certain niches.
What this looks like for products like protein shakes is pretty clear. Manufacturers of that sort of product hire a fitness model with a large Instagram following to start taking pictures of herself using their product, talking about why she likes it, and posting photos of her mixing it into her post workout shakes. The logic is that her existing audience who already looks at many of her posts, will then potentially see the brand’s product and consider buying it.
In old school terms, it’s not unlike when a popular radio personality reads ads live on his or her show, theoretically seemlessly integrating them in with the rest of their program. It is, in other words, not quite consider subliminal marketing, but it is within the same neighborhood, to be sure.
What Influencer Campaigns Look Like for Hotels
While influencer campaigns have been pretty firmly established for other businesses, there is still some natural question within the hotel industry about what they might look like and how they might function for a successful hotel company.
One example might be this: a luxury hotel chain that’s aimed at millennials (which is something that’s increasingly common these days, given that generation’s increased buying power in the hospitality market), sets out to launch influencer marketing campaigns in each of the 20-plus cities in which it currently has hotels.
What this has looked like for some chains is that the company would then rollout separately-branded microsites related to things like fashion, music, design and parties that would then start to accumulate their own social media followings. Let’s say they wanted to hone in on music, like the trendy W Hotels chain started doing in 2017 with its program Sound Suites.
What this Sound Suites campaign looked like saw the program teaming up with the indie musician St. Vincent in order to produce a 3-part video series called “Secrets of the Sound Suite.” As part of this series, St. Vincent shot segments within Sound Suities facilities in W Hotels that were located in Seattle, Barcelona, and Hollywood. These segments went on to then accumulate as many as 944k views on W Hotels worldwide YouTube channel.
That is certainly nothing to scoff at.
A Word of Caution
There are, of course, moves to avoid in a marketing campaign such as this one, as there are in any sort of advertising efforts.
An influencer campaign, however, must operate a bit more on sincerity which can at times make it more challenging to maintain, especially for larger companies like hotel chains. In the instance of what the W Hotel did with Sound Suites, the company came to learn that its effort depended heavily on paid YouTube advertising, limiting its organic reach, which would, of course, be a better outcome if the hotel company could obtain it.
The bottom line takeaway, however, is that there is still much room for improvement with these sorts of campaigns.
Let’s take a look at a few projects currently underway by W Hotels:
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