With 75 properties around the globe, Fairmont Hotels is one the world’s leading luxury hotel chains. While each Fairmont property has a unique feel, from The Plaza in the heart of New York City to Banff Springs Hotel located in one of Canada’s most picturesque national parks, all provide visitors with incredible experiences and impeccable service.
Recently acquired by AccorHotels, Fairmont is at the forefront of the hospitality industry. Through influencer partnerships, the brand has further strengthened its reputation as a leading luxury hotel chain. Sponsorships with top influencers have enabled Fairmont to share the unique experiences that are available at its breathtaking properties with a vast audience of social media users.
We spoke with Mansi Vagt, Executive Director Of e-Commerce & Digital Marketing at AccorHotels, to learn about the company’s success with influencer marketing as well as emerging trends within the hospitality industry.
1. What inspired Fairmont Hotels to create year-long influencer marketing collaborations highlighting the experiences surrounding Fairmont properties?
We know that our guests today are motivated by the desire to experience new and authentic local activities. Our iconic hotels are located in some of the most exciting destinations in the world and offer the opportunity for once in a lifetime experience. We wanted to show that through the eyes of key influencers using video content to bring it to life and share our story with their fans and followers.
2. What were some of the key achievements of Fairmont’s influencer marketing campaigns? Any specific standout moments, content, or influencers?
We were very proud of the level of engagement, impressions, and visits we received through the campaign overall. But a few key standout moments would certainly be when Louis Cole (of Fun for Louis) flew over an erupting volcano in Hawaii and the beautiful videos created by Todd and Diane from White on Rice Couple of our chefs and bartenders creating some of their favorite mouth-watering dishes and drinks.
3. As one the world’s marquee hospitality brands, how do the development and ever-changing nature of social media impact your overall marketing approach?
It is critical for us to stay up to date and current with the ongoing changes in the social media landscape. We certainly have a robust annual calendar and plan for our social channels, but we also leave room to be flexible and adaptable in order to react to new forms of media, content, and channels.
4. How has the influencer marketing landscape changed since you’ve been at Fairmont? What do you think the next big evolution of influencer marketing will look like for Fairmont or brands in general?
It has grown a great deal. We are constantly inundated with requests from influencers, both big and small, to visit our hotels and destinations. We really need to look at the right fit for our brands as well as the type of content they produce before working with each influencer to ensure we are targeting the right demographic.
At the same time, they provide a great platform to get our message out and build brand awareness with new audiences that are very difficult to reach through traditional digital marketing.
However, due to the influx of more and more influencers in a variety of verticals and interest categories, I do think we need to be careful with how we engage with them to ensure that we are being authentic and genuine in our relationships with them and ultimately the experiences they share.
5. Similarly, hospitality marketing has changed a lot over the years. What are some of the emerging trends marketers need to be aware of for 2018?
The key change is the move to showcasing experiences vs. just traditional hotel features (i.e. giving our guests reasons to experience what our hotels feel like, not just stay with us).
There is also a much bigger focus on food and beverage within our hotels and promoting our restaurants and bars as independent standalone hotspots in their own right within their local market.
The industry is also focusing on how we market to locals and invite them to experience our hotels, whether it be for a meal, the spa, our golf courses, local events and so on. Sharing that message through video, but with real people and authentic stories is key. Our guests today are savvy enough to see through overdone, staged and fake visuals.
6. Fairmont was one of the first hospitality brands who took to influencer marketing in a big way. Any advice or insight for travel, tourism, or hospitality brands looking to get into influencer marketing now?
It was quite tricky when we first started to ensure that we found the right influencers and paired them with the right experiences and hotels. Do your research and really get to know who your influencers are.
It’s the best way to ensure that the content they end up creating and sharing feels true and authentic to their audience and ultimately showcases your brand in the best way possible.
7. What are some of the influencer marketing benefits many marketers fail to acknowledge or recognize?
Influencer marketing provides a unique way to reach new audiences that are already extremely engaged (and are not easily convinced through traditional digital marketing) to learn about your brand and services.
It is not just about huge fans and followers in my opinion, but rather the right message being delivered in the most authentic way possible to targeted and relevant audiences bit by bit.
8. Any upcoming campaigns or new initiatives we should be on the lookout for in the near future?
Nothing I can share publicly at the moment for next year, but we had a huge focus on our Canada 150 campaign this year which performed extremely well.
We did engage a multitude of influencers for our Après in the Air initiative in partnership with Air Canada, our Great Canadian Railway Adventure in partnership with Via Rail and our Canadian Heritage Dinner series bringing back historic banquet and dinner menus from a bygone era.
We also saw great success with our 10 Weird and Wonderful Facts About Canada Infographic that gained quite a bit of traction on social and was picked up by a number of publications. With our acquisition by AccorHotels last year, we are very excited to be part of a larger global hotel family and look forward to new opportunities with our sister brands in the future.
This interview has been edited for clarity.