Travel and influencers: five top tips to help you decide who to work with

Jessica Murphy Jessica Murphy Uploaded




Jessica Murphy of The Northern Quarters Serviced Apartments in Manchester offers her advice for aparthotels and serviced apartments who are thinking of working with influencers to promote their properties.

It’s no secret - influencer marketing has been the biggest emerging channel in recent years. When done properly, this form of marketing is an effective way of increasing brand awareness and sales. The key point here is making sure it’s done properly. If not, the return on investment your property is hoping for will not be satisfactory.

The most common roadblock brands have with influencer marketing is establishing which are the right influencers to achieve results for you. The hotel industry often falls within the travel niche, which has one of the largest pools of influencers, which in turn creates difficult decisions for a marketer. The issues come with such a broad variety of people to potentially work with, a brand could work with many, but only a few would provide a return on the investment.

It takes time and effort to build a relationship with a worthwhile influencer for your business. This is because the influencer’s audience must have the right people to hit your campaign’s goals. Ensuring that you don’t lose money on campaigns and instead drive your property’s bottom line up through your work is vital. Here are five tips on how to do it.

• Validate the authenticity of followers
One of the first metrics people look at when evaluating an influencer is how many followers they have. The classic mistake marketers make is to find the influencer with the highest amount of followers and approach them, without considering further metrics. The theory behind this is almost sound, the more people your messages reach, the more people that could book at your property. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Getting this right comes down to the real crux point of influencer marketing - does this person actually have any influence to drive your campaign? There are numerous tools and strategies that a person can use to artificially inflate the number of followers they have. These ‘fake’ followers will not engage with the influencers’ content and thus your campaign will not reach an engaged audience.

Check how many people engage with an influencers’ content. Do people comment and like it? Also, look at some of the profiles of the people who have liked and commented, are they real or could they be fakes too?

• Look closely at engagement rates
We touched on this in the above point, but it’s so important it needs its own section to really get the message across. Engagement rate indicates very clearly how many people are interacting with the influencer you are thinking of using.

No matter the size of an influencer's audience, it doesn’t matter if nobody is looking at it. For example, if the influencer has an audience of 200,000 people and regularly gets around 200 likes on a post, their engagement rate is 0.2 per cent. If we compare that rate to another influencer who has 10,000 followers but also gets 200 likes, their engagement rate is two per cent, this is 20 times higher than the previous influencer.

The above example highlights that even though the first influencer has a further reach, the audience is less engaged. Evaluate what your campaign goals are, depending on what you deem a success, your budget might be better allocated on a smaller influencer with a more engaged audience.

• Do they have their audience’s trust?
The next consideration is does an audience trust the influencer and follow their advice? If there is no trust, the audience might engage with the content but not follow the advice to stay at your property.

The authenticity of an influencer is often talked about because it is what makes an audience trust them. People don’t like constant ads and bought out content to be forced in front of their eyes. However, if the influencer is respected and makes a genuine recommendation on your product then audiences don’t usually kickback.

• Are people inspired?
This doesn’t have to be an overly dramatic point about helping people to find their true calling or start a political party, but they do have to have enough to inspire people to book into your property. Begin by looking for an influencer that creates original content that an audience will remember.

• Understand the niche
An influencer could have millions of followers, with an extremely high engagement rate, they’re respected and trusted, but if their content has nothing to do with hospitality and travel, the money you have spent will have been wasted.

If an influencer has built up a following within the hotel and travel niche, the audience is actively interested in that topic. The individuals already show a level of intent. However, if the influencer doesn’t work within your niche, you have no basis that the people who are going to receive the messaging are actually interested in your offer.

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