Travel influencers have created some of the most popular accounts and channels on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube. Bringing the world to their followers, they offer picturesque images and videos, as well as recommendations on sites to see and places to stay. Hospitality brands looking to engage with consumers interested in travel have partnered with travel and other influencers to entice future residents to their hotels and resorts.
While many hotels are seeking to tap into the power of influencers, The Atlantic reports that some online personalities — both legitimate and otherwise — regularly push hotels for free stays in exchange for promotional posts. According to the piece, prestigious properties can receive a dozen or more messages per day from individuals claiming to be influencers. As a result, some hotels have created special application forms for influencer requests, while others have even banned influencers altogether.
Influencer marketing is on the rise as the hospitality industry also experiences impressive growth. Hospitality companies looking to catch the wave of influencer marketing can look to the successes of other hotel brands for insight into what works within the travel space.
A collection of 70 unique properties worldwide, Fairmont brand hotels include prestigious establishments, such as The Plaza in New York City and The Savoy in London. Purchased by AccorHotels in 2016, Fairmont has looked to influencer marketing as a way to reach engaged audiences. According to AccorHotel’s Executive Director Of e-Commerce & Digital Marketing, Mansi Vagt, “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.”
Part of this may stem from Fairmont looking to market the experiences guests can expect while staying at their hotels, rather than just features. To that end, Fairmont has engaged in influencer marketing campaigns that go beyond just a post or two and, instead, lasting a year long. These long-term engagements ensure high-performing collaborations, which translate into improved ROI.
Fairmont collaborated with the Luxury Travel Expert to feature Fairmont’s Banff Springs Hotel in an in-depth portrait that spans more than 20 minutes and also links to an extensive written review. While this layout centers on hotel features and amenities, it paints a clear picture of expectations for potential guests. Additionally, Fairmont Orchid worked with FunForLouis in a sponsored vlog in which Louis explores Hawaii. By focusing on the fun activities as opposed to his hotel stay, he showcases the experiences afforded by staying at the hotel.
Further, Fairmont has partnered with LIKEtoKNOW.it, an app that allows users to reserve travel and purchase products through images from their favorite influencers on sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Fashion blogger, Rach Parcell, shared a post wearing a summer swimsuit accompanied by a caption enticing her audience to read the details of her trip and outfit. With no direct tie to her stay at Fairmont Mayakoba, the fashion influencer seamlessly weaves the sponsorship into her personal diary.
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Yellow…one of my favorite colors this summer!!! Especially for swimsuits!! Today on my blog I’m sharing my iPhone diary of our time in Mexico. Link in bio to read the full post and get all my outfit details! ? Http://liketk.it/2wf0Y #liketkit @fairmontmayakoba #LTKgetaway #fairmontmayakoba #fairmontmoments #ad
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The Ace Hotel represents a collection of soulful individuals who aim to uphold values of community and compassion through hospitality. With locations spanning major US cities, to international holdings in Kyoto and London, the Ace Hotel seeks to attract those with a knack and appreciation for human connection. None other than travel influencers would fill this role of energizing human relations.
On Ace’s website, they offer influencers an inlet to their community via an influencer media stay request. While complimentary stays in exchange for social media or blog shoutouts aren’t an option, Ace will provide discounted rates depending on dates and other undocumented criteria. This formalized process enables Ace to filter out bogus or fake influencer requests.
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I am loving my stay at the @aceneworleans. The bars downstairs are always bumpin’, the shows at the @threekeysnola which is also located inside the hotel has some dope musicians playing every night. And the supermarket, CVS, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars are all walking distance. I also love the fact that my room feels like a big loft apartment. Now I’m chillin’ poolside on the rooftop. #nola #acehotelneworleans
A quick gander at Ace’s Instagram account presents images more akin to an artist’s feed. Instead of meticulously filtered and carefully curated photos of the hotel itself, Ace follows a more free-spirited approach. And even sporadic influencer posts graze their feed to fluidly fit into the Ace’s retro aesthetic.
Operating 91 luxury hotels and resorts in 30 different countries, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company bestows unforgettable experiences for yearning travelers. In many cases, the hotel is a destination in itself. As if the name didn’t command an audience already, The Ritz-Carlton has turned to travel influencers who speak to the same niche audience of luxury seekers.
Despite being plagued by fake followers in its dark past, The Ritz has embarked on lavish journeys with influencers, both micro- and macro- alike. Micro-influencer, Chris Aznar, showcased his rewarding stay at the hotel as a break from his photography profession, while macro-influencer and world-traveler, Jack Morris, snapped a heart-warming shot of a baby sea turtle heading out to sea for the first time on the shores of The Ritz’s Madagascar location.
Another well-established blogger hailing from the realm of travel influencers, Alex Waltner, shared a captivating photo of Kyoto architecture and yielded high engagement. In each collaboration example, travel influencers have an opportunity to attribute their extravagant adventures to the ritzy hotel.
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The travel and hospitality industries would simply not be the same without the influence of social media tastemakers. Hotel brands derive unquestionable benefits from influencer marketing, but this assumes brands have done their due diligence to ensure compatibility with influencers. In order to achieve message alignment and optimal campaign success, brands should implement thorough application and vetting processes. This also avoids the potential for fake influencers slipping through the cracks and contaminating brands’ marketing efforts. Hotel brands should look no further than the above examples for direction on how to leverage travel influencers.