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An Interview with W Hotels’ Marketing and Communications Director – Executive Interview Series

Meet Jérémie Lannoy – Director of Marketing & Communications at W Hotels – Industry Expert

Jérémie Lannoy is the Director of Marketing and Communications for W Hotels in Bali, the flagship hotel for W Hotels in the Asia Pacific area. He is a skilled business developer and strategist in marketing for hotels, with 17 years of experience in advertising and luxury hospitality.

Meet our Interviewer: David Gabriele, CEO of Swayy

Swayy is the leading influencer booking, campaign and relationship management tool for the hospitality industry. Swayy helps venues find, book and maintain relationships with the most influential people on social media, recently winning the Disrupt Awards 2018 at TTE Europe.

Interview Highlights

What is happening in hotel marketing?

As the power of social media as a marketing tool shows no sign of diminishing, hotels are encountering “more and more influencers.” Lannoy points out that, as a result of this, it has become increasingly difficult to identify the people worth working with, and those that are a waste of time and resources.  But what can hoteliers do about it?

Lannoy’s suggestion? That digital hotel marketers go back to basics. Marketing strategists need to be asking themselves who they are marketing their venue to, and who best fits the profile for reaching that audience. Jérémie gives the example of female bodybuilder, @sarasigmunds (Sara Sigmundsdottir) who stayed in the Bali branch of W Hotels on 18th November. She has an Instagram following of 1.3 million, and during her stay, “the engagement was massive.”

A picture from the venue on @sarasigmunds’ Instagram

At the time of the interview, travel influencers Jeff and Anne, known on Instagram as @whatdoesntsuck, were also staying in the hotel.  The couple received many questions from their “super captive audience” following a post from the hotel.

So we can see that, in creating targeted hotel marketing strategies, it is important to utilise influencers for an increased presence on social media.

What’s the key to finding top influencers?

Lannoy says that the Bali hotel receives between 6 and 10 collaboration requests a day, from a huge range of people: “from soap stars to celebrities to nobodies.” He suggests that there is a process to narrowing down the influencers that will work best for your brand:

1. Look at an influencer’s following.

2. Ask yourself what your first impression of their feed is: does their content fit the image of the luxury lifestyle brand.

3. Determine the demographic of the audience they produce content for.

4. Be clear in your own goals: Lannoy says that “[we] set the mood board for what we’re looking for.” So while you have to maintain an influencer’s freedom of creativity, this should not be at the expense of the criteria you need met.

What’s your biggest challenge regarding influencer marketing?

When it comes to digital marketing and influencer campaign management, the biggest challenge is the filtering of requests efficiently. Working in a luxury resort in Bali, Jérémie sees his marketing team bombarded with requests for a collaboration. This means that they must be the ones to decide who to work with in order to make the best match.

Lannoy tells Swayy that his team is currently spending an hour and a half a day vetting their social media and the requests they receive from influencers. He adds that, in total, it can take up to a week to process a successful collaboration from receiving the request, during which time a marketing team has to get approval for the availability of their rooms and determine the dates that an influencer is available to stay in the hotel.

Anne (@whatdoesntsuck) enjoying her time in Bali

On the flip side, what are the biggest benefits of influencer marketing?

The beneficial impact of micro-influencers on hotel marketing is layered. Influencer marketing initially generates an increased social following for the brand. As a result of this, audience engagement also increases. This in turn leads to enquiries and, ultimately, bookings for the hotel.

How do you measure ROI?

For Jérémie, there are three key ways in which ROI is measured.

He looks at engagement with the brand as the primary method of evaluating ROI.

Sales and turnout for events are another obvious marker. For example, in October of this year, W Hotels gave the festival experience a makeover, luxury hotel style. Their multi-day music festival, ‘Wake Up Call’, saw huge artists and DJs bringing the party in their Barcelona and Hollywood venues, as well as on the beaches of Seminyak at W Hotel Bali. The festival was a success, and it generated a large amount of engagement with social media audiences.

Thirdly, for the millennial consumer, aesthetic is a crucial part of marketing success. It is obvious, therefore, that an influencer with the skill to portray your brand in the best possible light will lead to a high ROI. And with Lannoy citing a sum of £25,000 for a full photoshoot, the decision to turn to digital marketing seems a no-brainer.

How do W Hotels manage influencers at brand level? Do you have autonomy?

W gives its hotels and their marketing teams many rules and guidelines, but there is plenty of room for flexibility within those parameters. W Bali sees influencers as being “exceptionally important” for their brand, both on a local and a global level, so works with many of them every week.

As Lannoy succinctly puts it: “there is no better way to show the lifestyle.”

What would you like to see improved in the process of collaborating with influencers?

Lannoy says that he would like to see ways in which the filtering process can be improved. Importantly, he would like to get rid of the fake followers and fake engagement which prove an obstacle to influencer marketing methods – so solutions which address this are welcomed with open arms in the industry.

And what are your thoughts on our solution?

I like a lot the way you can set the requirements and you can control the end result – it’s really very interesting”.

For more top tips from industry experts, check out our recent interview with Jennifer Zajac, Hyatt’s Digital Marketing Expert.

Interested in working with full time, pre-vetted hotel influencers? Click here to find out how Swayy can help you. If you are an influencer interested in a collaboration, read up on what we can do for you.
Or give us a call: +442038088385.

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