In a digital world full of “influencers”, choosing our partnerships strategically, is the only way to stand out

In my previous article regarding the shaping of a hotel’s communication concept, we highlighted the importance of setting a specific plan, in which all of our communicational needs will be included. This plan, as we had discussed, derives from the through understanding of our brand, and works as a guide during all the steps that we have included in our strategy.

One of the most important steps in a modern hotelier’s communication strategy, is the collaboration with valuable and reliable influencers. Easy? Not at all! Some hoteliers might say that influencers tend to approach them directly, by sending them emails asking for free accommodation in exchange of social content. However, this is just the other side of the coin — and to be accurate, not even the whole side.

The opportunity given through influencer marketing, derives from the possibility of communicating directly with our most important targeted audiences

Let’s go through all the necessary steps we need to take, in order for our marketing strategy to stand out in 2019.

First of all, we need to make clear that the relationship between hotel and influencer, is bidirectional. The Hotel (no matter its size or location), must not just evaluate the requests it receives through email, but also look for the collaborations that will give an added value to the messages it wants to pass to its target audiences. But in order for this to happen, we need a strategy.

The opportunity given through influencer marketing, derives from the possibility of communicating directly with our most important targeted audiences. These audiences trust a specific influencer voice, for various reasons. Others out of admiration, others because of their need to be updated around topics that interest them, and others just because they like the quality and aesthetics of the content.

But, in a world full of influencers, how can we achieve what we want, in the best possible way?

Step 1 – the AUDIENCE

Hotelier Academy - Hotel Influencer Marketing

It all starts with our hotel visitors’ travelling profile — or the profile of the visitors we would like to have as guests. Which are their characteristics? What are their habits? Where do you believe they hang out when they are online? What do they like to read and which topics are the most interesting to them? 

Understanding our guests’ behavior is the most crucial part of marketing. When preparing any action, it is vital to raise questions through which we will find the right answers. And these answers will then guide us through the procedure of shaping our influencer profile, that will communicate with our audience in the optimum way.

Step 2 – the MESSAGE

Hotelier Academy - Hotel Influencer Marketing

What is the message we want to spread out to the world? Which are our property’s USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) that we want to emphasize? What do we want people to know about us, that will place us in their minds as something special and unique?

Either we are talking about a full accommodation & hospitality experience, or the additional services that we provide, we need to make a thorough documentation of our needs, that will be included in our general communication plan. When and what do we want to communicate?

Content was, is, and will be the necessary tool for most marketing actions that a modern hotel must follow

Step 3 – the VOICE

Hotelier Academy - Hotel Influencer Marketing

For Step 3, we will travel back to our brand identity. Who would we want to speak to the world about our brand? Does their culture, philosophy, and aesthetics match everything that we believe in and try to communicate?

Step 4 – the CONTENT

Hotelier Academy - Hotel Influencer Marketing

Behind the obvious, i.e. transporting our voice to a targeted community through an influencer, hides a talented Content Creator. Creative texts, photographs, videos, aerial shots, are the new means of communication with our audience. Content was, is, and will be the necessary tool for most marketing actions that a modern hotel must follow.

Therefore,
1) good aesthetics and
2) our needs in content,
are two additional factors that we must keep in mind, before choosing the right collaborations.

Step 5 – the MEDIUM

Hotelier Academy - Hotel Influencer Marketing

Where can our audience be found and which are the modern trends? Either we like it or not, the most popular social media are Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Instagram and YouTube grow bigger every day, and are expected to do so for the next two years. On the other hand, Facebook will continue its downturn for at least two more years. However, it is expected to return stronger than ever, as the recent (huge) investments in Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies indicate. 

Talking about Instagram, stories (+live) are the ‘kings’ of all available formats — and this is something we should keep in mind when choosing the right influencers to work with. Regarding YouTube, it is a fact that streaming threatens traditional television. New YouTubers appear every day, among which the next ‘TV celebrities’ are most probably hidden. Therefore, in addition to all previous steps, we need to specify the right “field of action”.

Bonus Step – the FILTER

Hotelier Academy - Hotel Influencer Marketing

Who said that numbers always speak the truth? Fake followers, fake likes, fake comments, fake views, and, in the end, fake influencers, are not rare anymore. As a matter of fact, we are talking about a huge phenomenon, that needs to be kept in mind. For this reason, we must — either manually or through social media tools, opt out our list of interest all those who use such techniques. At the same time, we must learn to locate the emails that try to trick us, and send them immediately to the trash folder. If we don’t do this, the only thing we will manage to do, is to showcase our hotel to ghost accounts, that are controlled by the well-known “bots”.

In a world full of influencers… choose honesty!

Before initiating any new influencer marketing campaign, we must keep in mind all the above steps. These steps, will help us locate and choose the best possible collaborations for our hotel brand.

Influencer marketing is not a simple case. It requires preparation, planing, strategy. Today’s hotels must take advantage of this new form of communication, and take the actions that better suit their needs. After all, we must not ignore the fierce competition within the hotelier industry. If we choose not to adopt the new trends of marketing, we will end up, sooner than later, in a degraded communication position.