Did you know that 58.2% of people rely on user-generated content and 54.6% rely on social media posts to plan their travels?
This above findings by Statista clearly showcase how social media and the internet play a major role in influencing people’s travel choices. And that include the reviews and recommendations from travel industry influencers too.
Their opinions and advice are greatly valued by their followers, many of whom are travel enthusiasts. And so, travel industry influencers can benefit hospitality businesses immensely.
However, it is important to find the right travel industry influencers for your hospitality business.
For example, you can categorize travel industry influencers by budget travel, luxury travel, couple travel, solo travel, family travel, and so on to pick the ones who best suit your brand image. You should also look at other parameters like their reach, engagement, and location when you select your influencers.
Hospitality businesses can benefit a great deal by collaborating with travel industry influencers. They can generate stunning content, drive bookings, create buzz, and accomplish many other marketing goals. In this post, we’ll take a look at how travel industry influencers can help you market your hospitality business effectively.
1. Build Your Brand Image and Boost Credibility
Endorsements or recommendations from multiple travel industry influencers can help you build a better brand image. That’s one of the major reasons why so many brands use influencer marketing today. Following are some of the ways you can leverage travel influencers to improve your hotel’s brand image:
Leverage Travel Influencers for Reviews
Hotels and other hospitality service providers can collaborate with travel influencers to get them to review their properties and share them on their blogs or social accounts.
For example, Lisa Linh is a popular travel influencer who has 93.5K Instagram followers. A whole section of her blog is dedicated to hotel reviews.
Leveraging travel influencers in your advertisements or social media posts, instead of celebrities or models, can make them more relatable and authentic. Showcasing pictures or videos from influencers who have experienced your services first-hand lends more authenticity to your promotional content. You can also repurpose influencer-generated content and use it in your advertisements.
Marriott Hotels often reposts pictures and videos from travel influencers who stayed at their hotels, on Instagram. In the example below, Marriott Hotels has posted a picture from travel influencer, Or Zano, to promote their property in Petra.
If trusted travel influencers recommend a hotel, their followers are likely to consider that as a good option while making their travel plans. So collaborating with travel influencers can also help you drive more bookings for your hospitality business.
Offering discounts for stays at your property is a direct way to drive greater bookings. This also has the added benefit of free social media promotion when influencers post about their stays or share reviews of your hotel.
For example, American hotel chain, Ace Hotels, provides discounts on hotel bookings for travel influencers. In fact, they have a separate form which influencers can fill out to get a discount on their bookings.
If you want to take this up a notch, you can provide travel influencers with discount codes which they can share with their followers. This will help you gain visibility among a large number of travel enthusiasts and can help drive more bookings.
Ask Influencers to Include a Link to Your Website
By including links in their posts, travel industry influencers can drive traffic to your website and increase your chances of getting more bookings. It is always better to provide links to the specific property mentioned in a post, to make it easier for viewers to reach the booking page.
In the example below, travel influencer, Christie, mentions two specific properties of Fairmont Hotels and has tagged their respective Instagram accounts. This makes it easier for her followers to check out that hotel directly and book it if they like it.
Get Featured in Travel Guides and Hotel Recommendations
This is another great way to increase your bookings. Travel bloggers have an engaged follower base that consists of travel enthusiasts. So if they recommend a hotel in their travel guides or itineraries, it can help drive more people to the hotel’s website.
Travel influencer and blogger, Matt (popularly known as Nomadic Matt), shares travel guides and itineraries on his website that include hotel recommendations. He also provides direct booking links for those hotels to make it easier for his followers to book them. He caters primarily to budget travelers, so he can be a great partner for budget hotels.
Similarly, if you own a luxury hotel, you can collaborate with luxury travel influencers and reach your target audience easily and effectively.
3. Promote Events or Launches
Another great way to leverage influencers is to create buzz around an event at your hotel or a new property/service launch. You can create branded hashtags for each such events that influencers can use in their posts to generate more excitement and increase awareness.
Marriott Hotels recently launched a campaign with the hashtag #redesignedmarriott to promote their technology-upgraded properties that make it easy to work while traveling. They collaborated with several travel and business influencers to promote these properties to business travelers.
In the example below, Wylder Hotel asked travel influencer, Kate, to come for a free weekend stay at their hotel and review it. The blogger posted a detailed hotel review on her blog, with several high-quality images. She also posted about it on Instagram, along with a link to the review and to the hotel’s Instagram page. The hotel was able to generate high-quality online content just by offering an influencer a room for the weekend.
You may have to offer monetary compensation to travel influencers to generate online content for you. On an average, micro-influencers can charge $250-$500 per post, while more popular influencers may charge as much as $5,000 per post.
Travel industry influencers have become a key driving force that influences people’s travel choices. So if you haven’t yet collaborated with travel influencers to promote your hospitality business, the time is now.
Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.