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Losing bookings? Get fluent in influence marketing.

If you ask me what’s the fastest growing customer acquisition method for hotels – my answer would be ‘influencer marketing’. And let me also tell you that mostly this answer meets blank gazes. None of you hotels GMs know how it’s done, though most of you have heard about it.

Nielsen’s ‘Global Trust in Advertising’ study found that “Recommendations from people I know” (78%) and “Consumer opinions posted online” (63%) were the top two ad formats acted upon by European consumers.

While conversing with hoteliers over the past couple of years, I’ve realized not many understand its potential, and the right way to go about it.

It is not just about finding a social media celebrity with a large follower count. You need to attract down-to-earth personalities with a sizeable follower base who are representative of your target audience. There’s a lot that goes on in to it, and I’m writing this blog to help with you with that.

Choosing influencers

The first and the most underemphasized step is choosing the right influencers. Don’t make the oft repeated mistake of just going by the follower count. Actual engagement needs to be analyzed as well.

A smaller but more buzzing audience can be more useful than a larger inactive one. The latter may drive reach, but not action.The audience of the influencer must match the hotel’s distinct personality and target audience.

The bottom line is – influencers should ultimately tell your brand’s story.

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Show me the money!

Compensating influencers can be a tricky matter. How often, and how should influencers be paid? Most of the hotels provide complimentary stays to social influencers, who are expected to post a certain number of times about the hotel. However, there is no control over the content and no. of posts.

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I always suggest hiring intermediaries like PR agencies to establish explicit expectations. One word of advice – content style should ALWAYS be left up to the influencer. They have an established voice which has made them popular; sticking to it will make it sound genuine.

Measuring success 

Most managers I talk to have trouble quantifying the success of influencer marketing. Factors to include are engagement rates (likes and comments), shares and reach. You can correlate these factors with the traffic to your website, number of new followers on social media page, and your hotel’s booking rates. Eventually you want to see a positive relation between influencer marketing efforts and social media performance.

A blog post by a popular food blogger, posting photos of an envy inducing breakfast spread, or a social media personality writing about your exceptional services – sounds attractive, doesn’t it? Start this New Year by investing in influencer marketing. I can bet you will be pleased.

Watch the #AskAviArya show to learn more! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swwkGDLiFjc