With an ever-growing realm of social media, influencer marketing has been taking the hospitality industry by storm. It is evident that the processes of planning and arranging trips have transformed, as it is not enough for hotels to simply offer rooms and food anymore. Travellers of today now seek more experiences than ever before. So, this is where you, as an influencer, come in and aid properties in endorsing the unique experiences in their offer to potential guests.
By using your platform to share your own experience at their hotel, you have the power to reach trustworthy followers and inspire them to find out more about the property. However, as the number of brands investing in these marketing campaigns is increasing, so is the number of influencers approaching them. It takes time and labour for them to separate professional influencers with a genuine following and a sincere interest in collaborations, from someone just looking for a freebie.
If you belong in the first group but are having troubles landing brand collaborations, find out how to effectively present yourself when approaching hotels and increase your chances of arranging valuable partnerships.
Select the right hotels and provide the necessary information
There have been instances of hotels not being too happy with social media influencers approaching them for collaborations. Not everyone recognises the benefits of working with influencers for marketing purposes, so it is up to you to make sure they understand the value your partnership would deliver.
Just last year, a boutique hotel in Ireland made international headlines for announcing that all influencers are banned from the property. This was instigated by a blogger emailing the owner of the hotel, expressing interest in a potential collaboration. However, and possibly due to the nature of her offer, the owner presumed she was just looking to stay at a luxury place for five days for free, in exchange for a mention in a YouTube video. And he did not appreciate her pitch whatsoever!
Sometimes getting the basics right makes all the difference. In order to avoid negative experiences, here are the key things to consider before contacting a hotel you would like to work with:
· Choose wisely: approach properties that would be a perfect fit for your travel style and that would appeal to your audience the most. When searching for a hotel, it is not only a matter of them being willing to work with influencers. It is also essential for your brand values to align. Look for hotels you can honestly suggest to your loyal followers. If you are an on-a-budget traveller, chances are luxury resorts would not be interested in collaborating with you, since your followers are most likely not their target audience.
· Be professional: the quality of communication is everything when it comes to first impressions, therefore make sure your proposal is written in a professional manner, with respectful vocabulary and appropriate greetings & remarks.
· Contact the right person: sending your pitch to hotel’s general info e-mail address increases the likelihood of your e-mail not being delivered to the right person. Try and find the contact details of the hotel’s marketing manager in their website’s contact section, or simply contact the hotel directly and politely ask for the e-mail of the person who manages influencer collaborations. This way you have a greater chance of your pitch reaching the right contact and, subsequently, a greater chance of getting a response. If you use Swayy, this hassle is taken away for you, because you’ll automatically be reaching the right person.
· Be flexible: Remember, you are approaching them. The more you emphasise your flexibility, the more likely will they be willing to work with you. Therefore, try to be as flexible on dates or specific requirements as possible. Do not approach hotels just a few days ahead of your already planned out trip and always consider their room availability. If you are travelling with a group of friends, chances are that the property will not agree to accommodate all of you for free. Be prepared for such conditions and let them know you are willing to meet their demands as well!
· Necessary information: Keep your pitch concise and clear, but make sure you provide relevant info. While the volume of your following is important, your engagement rates are usually decisive. If you have collaborated with hotels in the past, do not just mention it by saying that it has been great for them – explain how. Try and deliver some statistics and insights, such as the number of people that have engaged with those posts. Even if you choose not to reveal these in your initial pitch, make sure you prepare this data in case they request it. Again, if you use Swayy, this hassle is taken away for you, because you’ll only have to fill out your key details when you sign up and then those same details are shared with each property you apply to work with.
Understand the property’s values and brand you are approaching – do your research
When it comes to persuading them that your content would be a perfect fit for the hotel’s brand, think of it as a job interview. Would you go to an interview without knowing the company’s core values? How crucial is it for you to explain why you are interested in that company in particular and why you’d do well as a part of their team?
Now imagine simply telling them something like: “Well, I could really use the money and I promise I’d come to work every day”. Impressive? Hardly.
When you first approach a hotel, it should be clear that you understand what their property’s style and concept is and who is it suitable for. Research these specifics and use the acquired knowledge to your advantage! Always try not to generalise when contacting hotels – remember, they probably get a ton of “Hey, your rooms are cool, can I stay there for free and blog about it in return?” kind of messages. It is much more effective to offer them content that would be perfect for them specifically.
Hotels often host special parties and regularly enhance their services and amenities. Check their social media channels frequently and look for recent novelties or upcoming events that would work well with your brand and would appeal to your followers.
Let’s say you are a travel and food blogger and a hotel you’d like to work with is opening a new restaurant. You should construct your pitch from that point of view and position yourself as an ideal influencer to experience it first-hand and promote it to your devoted followers. On the other hand, if you surround your blog around family trips and activities suitable for children, maybe one of the hotels you are interested in is adding fun water slides to its outdoor pools.
Emphasise that a collaboration would be a win-win situation by differentiating yourself
The most crucial point to remember when collaborating with properties is that you are forming a business deal, which obligates you to deliver value for the hotel. Always treat it as more than just a way of getting a free stay and a few meals. If you approach a hotel and they evaluate that you are just looking for a freebie, they will certainly not be too thrilled to work with you. Your ultimate goal is to ensure the hotel recognises why you’d be perfect for promoting their brand. Make yourself stand out from a never-ending sea of collaboration requests they receive by using your imagination and creativity!
For example, you could suggest making an entertaining video of you experiencing a day at their hotel from a particular angle that would appeal to your audience on a higher level. If you own a drone, even better! If you are a food blogger, you could perhaps do several posts on all of the meals of the day, offering your recommendations from the hotel’s menus. Maximise the use of social media features by including Instagram stories, polls and live videos – these can all make your interaction with the audience extra engaging which will also draw more attention to the hotel.
Simply offering to mention the hotel on your social media does not really benefit the property all that much, unless your audience counts millions of people. If your following is not as extensive, take your time to think of innovative content ideas. After that, recommend a specific list of posts/videos you could create especially for them. It is an additional mutual benefit if you allow them to re-purpose your content on their own platforms – you get exposure, they get scenic content to display on their website! An influencer application with extra proposals displays willingness to go above and beyond. If your pitch offers a professional and mutually rewarding purpose that differentiates you from other influencers, they will more likely consider you for marketing campaigns. If you want to know more about creating a successful pitch, click here.
How can Swayy help you arrange beneficial collaborations with amazing hotels?
As we discussed in this post, there are numerous things to consider when pitching to hotels. Also, remember that hotels are having a difficult time avoiding fake followers and distinguishing genuine influencers – in their eyes, the effort of it all sometimes outweighs the benefits. And subsequently, this reduces your chances of arranging successful partnerships.
This is why Swayy exists – to do all the hard work for you. It is the hospitality industry’s leading influencer booking, campaign, and relationship management tool. As an influencer, you have various collaboration opportunities to apply for on the Swayy platform, advertised by trusted hotels that are seeking enthusiastic professionals such as yourself. This way, you are not wasting valuable time contacting the wrong employees or approaching properties not interested in influencer marketing.
The listings already display guidelines regarding the collaboration expectations, so you have all the freedom to apply for partnerships that you’d enjoy and that suit your brand the most. It simplifies the negotiation processes between influencers and hotels, since clear requirements and goals are easily identified. Also, Swayy is designed to help both you and the hotels, by pre-vetting all social media accounts for quality control, automatically banning those with a fake following. This means that the hotels you approach on our platform already know your audience is authentic.
Also, we calculate your audience reach and engagement rates, which instantly provides the hotels with that essential info, thus streamlining the process of pitching to properties. Of course, you can always contact them and offer them your innovative content ideas, in order to stand out from other applicants. Finally, the more jobs you book, the more venues can rate your beautiful work – which builds your personal brand and establishes you as an influencer that handles partnerships in a professional manner and that produces amazing promotional content!