How to Build an Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy for Hotels in 2020

The end of the year is upon us, and this means that most guides on how to kill it in 2019 are already out of date, particularly when it comes to the incredibly fast-moving realm of influencer marketing.

With influencer marketing being such a quickly evolving space, what worked for brands in January 2019 will not be what works in January 2020. And the same will be true in one year.

So what is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from individuals -- called influencers -- who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. Their power lies in the relationships they have formed with their audience -- trust built between influencer and fan, which ensures that when the influencer promotes a product, service or company, their audience pays attention."

In just a few short years influencer marketing has gone from being primarily a space for celebrities and paid endorsements to the uncharted and lawless waters of Instagram influencers, bloggers, micro-influencers and influencer marketing platforms, software and conversion tracking.

We have more helpful tools than ever available to us, but with it all moving so fast, it's no wonder hotels, and pretty much every other sector are regularly left feeling like they're playing catch up.

Influencer Marketing Mistakes of 2019

To look forward, let's first take a quick look back. 2019 was the year that most brands finally accepted influencer marketing as a viable tactic. With this came a lot of trial and error.

The biggest mistakes were:

  • Not having a clear strategy
  • Engaging only big influencers with big rates
  • Failing to set targets
  • Failing to track results

What is Influencer Marketing in 2020?

Influencer marketing in 2020 will be more focussed, and brands will be less blindsided by sexy follower counts. 2020 will be the year that micro-influencers (3-100k followers) take up most of the budget, and everyone gets more explicit on what is expected.

The playbook for influencer marketing has now been written, and it is more accessible and measurable than ever before.

Hotel Influencer Marketing for 2020

How you approach influencer marketing will depend on a variety of factors, including your size and reach. How a small hotel approaches influencer marketing will be different from how a large international hotel approaches it.

The below is a guide to help you pull together a killer influencer marketing strategy, no matter your size.

Identify Your Audience Before Your Influencer

You need to know who you want to target. This could the demographic that you know enjoys your services, or it could be a new target demographic that you're looking to break into.

When you know who you want to reach, it's easier to figure out which influencers have access to them.

Research Rates

Rates vary wildly between influencers, so it's good to get a grip on the averages before you start engaging. Macro influencers of 100k followers or more can cost you somewhere around $800 per post, while micro-influencers with under 100k can cost around $100 per post.

Be mindful that these figures can dramatically increase or decrease depending on where they sit on the follower scale and also what results they've been able to prove for past clients.

Set Your Hotels Goals

What you want to achieve will then influence what the campaign should look like and who to engage. Do you want to reach multiple markets or focus on one specific demographic? This will influence whether you choose a handful of micro-influencers or one or two macro-influencers.

Digital Marketing Options

Know What to Track

If you want to drive bookings to an event over a particular weekend, you will want to run a campaign with a code that allows you to track the number of bookings made off the back of the campaign.

Not all campaigns will be about sales or bookings, though, many influencers are engaged to generate brand awareness. For this, you need to look at engagement and how website traffic was impacted over the course of the campaign.

Pick up Your Tools

There are so many social media marketing and influencer platforms on the market today. Tools like Social Book , Upfluence , TRIBE and HYPR all give brands access to influencers, as well as the tools needed to track the results of the campaigns.

Engage Your Influencers

With a clear understanding of your target market, goals and tracking tools, it's time to engage your influencers. Use the tools available to you to craft campaigns and set high-standards of what you expect of your influencers.

Make sure that the content is authentic, trust your influencers know their audience and work with them to craft the best campaign.

With some forward planning and clear goals, 2020 can be your year to drive the biggest marketing ROI from your influencer marketing strategies.