The Rising Value of the Travel Influencer

By Sherry Heyl Founder & Consultant, Amplified Concepts | February 25, 2018

Millions of dollars have been spent by hotels trying to share the experience of what it is like to stay at their property. Stories are crafted, photos are enhanced, and smiling actors emulate the activities that take place at the hotel.

Once the stories are nicely packaged, millions more dollars are spent disrupting an audience from their select entertainment to engage them with an advertisement that they may or may not care about. This seems inefficient, but for many, many years it was the best that brands could do to reach a mass audience to affect perceptions and behavior. Today, there is a better way.

We have always trusted the people in our close circle for advice of where to go, what to do, and where to stay, usually before we even begin researching what is available. The past decade, our circles have expanded from family, friends, and neighbors to people we have developed relationships with online and oftentimes have never actually met in person.

The Internet has provided almost every man, woman, child, and pet a media platform to publish their thoughts, ideas, opinions, and reviews. Those with a talent for storytelling and engagement have developed a following, oftentimes far larger than a traditional magazine. Do these people affect purchasing decisions? Yes, according to ODM group, 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions. Why? Because people are following and paying attention to people they trust and whose opinion they value.

When your hotel works with an Influencer who can tell a compelling story about your brand, you will reach a captured audience with a trusted connection to the story teller.

For the past 10 years my team and I have been helping brands connect with Influencers as media partners, designed Influencer Marketing campaigns, and have worked directly with Influencers to help them increase their value and appeal to brands. Here are just a few things we have learned along the way.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.