Chances are, you have been approached more than once being asked if you would be likely to provide accommodation free of charge in return for social media brand exposure and promotion by an influencer. Depending on the circumstances, an influencer collaboration could be beneficial for your business and lots of fun, or it could result in some underwhelming results.
Here are some key points to consider if you are thinking about collaborating with an influencer for your hotel or resort.
Firstly, take a look at the social media profiles of the influencer that has approached you. At first glance, you might be impressed with the number of followers on the account, but in some cases, this may not genuinely reflect the number of people that are actively engaged with the influencer posts.
Instead, take a look at some of the recent posts and check how many users are actually commenting on posts, or liking and sharing posts. A highly engaged audience is a better measure of reach than the number of followers.
The influencer should be able to provide you with a breakdown of follower geographical data, age, and engagement. An ideal match would be an influencer with a similar following to your business, or with an audience that you would benefit from reaching. If the majority of followers are from Canada for example, but your guests are predominantly from the 500km surrounding your accommodation location, then even a successful collaboration may be unlikely to generate the results you are looking for.
Assess the offer
Understanding what your business will receive in return for complimentary accommodation is important. The brand exposure can come in the form of social media posts, videos, stories, reels, blog posts, email campaigns, website features etc. Ideally you will also obtain permission to use images from the stay in your own platforms, with an image credit. You also want to consider whether you want to build awareness or generate bookings.
If you hope to create direct bookings, creating a special offer with an exclusive discount code to be included in influencer promotions is a strategy to consider. It can be difficult to track which bookings have come from social media posts, but having a specific discount code is one way to measure results. Make sure that you understand whether promoting an offer is part of the influencer marketing campaign offer.
Another consideration is whether you would like to include other local businesses in the collaboration. Leveraging cross promotion from nearby restaurants, attractions, tours, experiences, service providers can have you reaching audiences of local businesses as well as the influencers followers.
Return on Investment
When deciding whether or not to collaborate with an influencer, first you might wish to determine the outcome that you are looking to achieve. If it is brand exposure, ask for an estimate of the number of brand impressions a collaboration might create. If it is bookings, determine how much revenue you would expect to generate in return for your investment.
It might help to look at the accommodation offering that the influencer is requesting. Breaking down the financial investment required from your business can help you to weigh up whether a collaboration will be worthwhile.
For example, if you provided a two-night stay in a low season where the rooms would be unoccupied regardless, and you are just covering the expense of servicing the apartment afterwards, this may be a relatively minor investment for your business to front. In this case an influencer collaboration could be a fantastic strategy to build awareness and access creative assets for future use.
If however the influencer is requesting a week long stay during peak season, this may be a substantial investment for your business to make. Asking for results from past influencer campaigns so that you can estimate expected results for your influencer campaign can help you in making your decision.
You may also choose to base your decision on current and upcoming occupancy rates. If you are at capacity already, then active marketing to generate bookings may not be your ultimate goal, but building positive brand reputation and awareness for future dates may be.
eTourism influencer campaigns
At eTourism we have seen wildly successful influencer campaigns for hotels and resorts that have been mutually beneficial, and created long lasting relationships and bookings generated in the months that followed. The key to the success of these campaigns was choosing the right influencer with an organically grown, highly engaged audience, with similar demographic characteristics as the client target audience.
Influencer campaigns may be more uncertain in terms of the results delivered and difficult to measure, but they can be one option apart from other forms of paid advertising that gets potential guests noticing your property. Social proof is one factor that determines whether someone books with you, and a positive review from an influencer who’s opinion they respect could offer that.