How Not To Do Influencer Marketing


19th January 2018

Here at Wired Media, we appreciate that some hoteliers do not believe that social media marketing for hotels is worth it. These things you think you can’t control? You can!

Influencer marketing can offer a ROI

While many managers and hoteliers may not understand the benefits, it is worth making a note of how not to handle situations that will ultimately influence your brand in a negative way. Take, for example, a situation involving a well-known blogger and an independent hotel that was brought to our attention on Twitter. As a hotel marketing and PR agency, we had to sigh and hope that the property in question would seek consultation from professionals on how to manage the situation better in future…

For those unaware, influencer marketing utilises the following and knowledge of bloggers to not only create content, but to reach out to their wider audience and promote your offering. Many bloggers will attend your venue and provide a review and social media coverage in return for a stay. Their audience and fans will be introduced to your brand and encouraged to experience your offering for themselves; it’s a brilliant and apt way to generate direct bookings from a generation that adores all things online and social.

For hotels, the outlay and budget can be minimal for maximum return, and the blogger gets some rich content to use on their blog on social media. It’s a win-win situation. Until it isn’t.

Confidentiality and not jumping the gun

Recently a blogger stayed at an independent hotel for the weekend as a paying customer. No review was expected or negotiated, yet the hotel publicly outed them post-stay in what many believe is a breach of confidentiality. The reason? The hotel took umbrage to the fact that the blogger took Instagram shots within the property that tagged their outfit and their accessories.

Had the hotel been aware of how influencer marketing works, they would have understood that many bloggers deliberately avoid exposing their location until after their stay for safety reasons. It depends on how large their following, but safety on the internet is of paramount importance and something that should not be forgotten. Everyday bloggers are asked what they are wearing, where items can be bought from and a part of their job is to inform their audience and help generate sales – whether they are being paid to by a company or not. In this situation, the blogger was not paid yet the hotel complained to the appropriate authority regarding advertisement and the whole scenario got rather out of hand.

The result has been markedly negative for the hotel. Many Twitter users rushed to the influencer’s defence and made it clear that the handling of the situation by the hotel would prevent them from staying there. Eventually, the hotel apologised – but has the damage already been done?

Our advice

The rise of social media and the blogger – and why you need to understand influencer marketing

With the unprecedented rise of social media comes the increased prominence of the social influencer. Facebook has nearly 2 billion monthly users, Instagram has over 600 million and Twitter has an average of 330 million users every month – to not utilise this incredible breadth of audience range could be hugely detrimental to any company using blogging and social advertising to promote their business.

With that in mind, hotels and hospitality marketing agencies need to appreciate the importance that social influencers can have over a wide-reaching platform, thus understanding how to treat visiting bloggers and understand the repercussions of badly handled situations as stated above.

Also, to be considered is the ROI of providing free accommodation, dining and spa experiences in exchange for reviews to feature on blogs and social platforms when influencers are doing just that: influencing their audience.

It’s not what you know, but who you know

The PR game has been around since the dawn of time, and still the age-old motto of “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is still hugely relevant – the network of social media is a close-knit circle of bloggers/influencers who are passionate about not only what they do, but contributing to a community of like-minded individuals who seek to provide genuine and honest information. Once you have cracked the code into this circle, a plethora of social media opportunities can be utilised!

Another useful piece of information for hoteliers is be careful of what you tweet/post/share on your social media platforms. Not only in terms of grammar, punctuation and content but how you voice your opinions and deal with conflict – words cannot be unspoken and the same goes for social media platforms, which can often return to haunt you and be very unforgiving!

If you have any questions about getting to grips with social media marketing for hotels or want to equip your team so they can avoid a PR disaster, then be sure to contact us so we can help.