As hospitality entrepreneurs and business owners, at some point you have to delve into the world of marketing to promote your brand, because it’s all very well having a brilliant product or service, but if no one knows about it you won’t get very far.

One aspect of marketing that technology has had a huge hand in developing is influencer marketing. In the old days, the closest thing we had to influencer marketing was celebrity endorsement, but today’s influencers aren’t necessarily famous celebrities, but they can have millions of social media followers and must be able to demonstrate consistently high levels of audience engagement. They are authentic and should only agree to get involved with a brand if it’s truly aligned with their values and beliefs.

Relationships between businesses and influencers in the tourism industry have gradually improved and it’s very common for both parties to collaborate. Hotels and other brands from the hospitality sector don’t have to sit back and wait for influencers to make proposals anymore, you can track down the most fitting profiles and establish marketing strategies with the aim of boosting your business.

Working with marketing influencers can bring about great results, fast. According to statistics, up to 82% of travelers follow travel blogs or influencers. So, here are some top tips for working with influencer marketing in the travel industry:

1. Choose the right influencer/s for your audience

First you have to truly know who your audience is and which social media channels they use. Then, do some proper due diligence into your potential influencer/s. Go back in time and check there are no scary skeletons in the closet. Have they amassed their followers organically? Do they have the audience reach you need?

2. Invite them to experience your product or service

In order for influencers to recommend your service in a fluid and natural way, a good option is to invite them to participate in your activities. That way, they can share experiences in real-time on their social media or include it in a more curated content, such as a video summary. It’s important to know that they value creating quality content to engage their audience.

3. Understand digital performance KPIs, monitoring, and results

Digital performance KPIs are measured in number of unique visitors to a website, number of followers (be sure they’re organic), number of likes of posts, number of views of videos, number of shares and most of all comments, or overall engagement. Watch for the sentiment of engagement. Does your influencer/s receive positive comments regularly? Once your influencer marketing campaign is underway, you’ll need to monitor it and know how to respond in real time. Make sure you have a plan for handling any negative fallout in real time. How you measure the results will depend on your campaign objectives, and there are several platforms out there that can do this for you.

4. Provide a proper brief, no more than three key messages

You need to develop a critical eye and be able to confidently brief and give views on visuals, scripts, copywriting and audio content. In order to do this, you need to be crystal clear about your campaign objectives and ensure the brief is an alignment. Be sure to specify deliverables, so if you want them to use certain hashtags, specify them, but don’t constrain the influencer/s too much or they won’t come across as authentic. The influencer needs to lead on the creative and you need to lead on the brief – they share experiences, not products. As a side note, specify whether you’ll put any media spend behind the campaign. This can be a sweetener for influencers, helping you to negotiate the terms and fee.

5. Write robust terms

You must ensure your terms and conditions are watertight, clear and within the Law. Your terms must protect you and specify campaign deliverables and timelines. Allow for two rounds of feedback and specify anything that is not acceptable, such as using certain language or mispronunciations. The campaign period and ownership is generally one to three months. If you want it to be longer then you’ll generally have to pay the influencer/s a higher fee. In influencer marketing, it’s generally the influencer who leads fee negotiations. They’ll tell you how much they want based on the brief and campaign objectives and you negotiate from there, rather then you saying how much budget you’ve got.

6. Hire a specialist agency

Engaging in influencer marketing will cost you money, unless your campaign is for a very worthy cause or charity and you can persuade influencers to get involved for free. But that rarely happens. Working with influencer marketing is no easy feat and whilst it may cost you more money overall, working with a specialist agency should take away a lot of the work and hassle for you.

Overall, just remember that your audience must believe in the personality and credibility of the influencer/s you choose. Any influencer worth his or her salt wouldn’t want to comprise his or her own reputation as being an authentic influencer with an organic following. If you want to engage in influencer marketing but you are still unsure about how to tackle it, get in touch with us and we will take care of everything for you.