Influencer marketing is rising in the hospitality world and for good reason. It’s not only effective for outreach but it is also a cost-effective way to directly target potential customers who are interested in leisure, restaurants, hotels and travel. Swayy does the difficult, behind-the-scenes work and helps hotels/restaurants connect with Influencers that match their preferences. These Influencers will engage with their followers by posting content about venues in an organic way; bringing in more business for the venues. Influencers have a lot of clout in today’s world, yet the necessary infrastructure needed for venues to fully take advantage of their power is hugely inadequate. Swayy has stepped in to help create a strong foundation.
Simply put, Influencers can have such a strong following that their content about a leisure business can go viral, this can mean major brand awareness and big increases in visitor numbers for venues.
Millennials are tomorrow’s customers so Leisure Businesses must connect to the millennial generation to survive. It’s not optional. Why? Millennials travel and eat out more than any previous generation in history. They also have the technology at their fingertips (literally) to make their opinions known globally in the digital world. Millennials are constantly plugged into technology, mainly social media, meaning they are in almost constant contact with each other forming digital communities with shared interests because of this digital lifestyle.
Millennials tell stories to each other, share photos and opinions with each other, ask for advice/points of view and impact each other’s purchasing decisions on social media. Furthermore, they want to connect with the products and businesses they relate to or are of interest to them. If a hotel/restaurant can tap into this marketing need it can be a huge competitive advantage, since they can create a hugely loyal fan base of people who will spread the word. Influencers have the power to do this.
Furthermore, for venues to take advantage of millennials they will need word-of-mouth marketing to build relationships with talented people that can inspire and persuade. This is exactly what Influencers do. So when an Influencer speaks, others listen. Regardless of how many followers they have. Swayy helps venues find the best Influencer partners for their particular needs, ensuring that the Influencer is professional and relevant.
Outbound Marketing: Outdated
Traditional brand marketing has become insincere, overwhelming and obviously biased. Businesses are biased saying they are the best at what they do and consumers don’t trust that. Just think of pop-up ads – just how annoying are they?! The majority of online users install ad blocking on their browsers, which is free and easy to install. Billboards, signs, marketing emails, or other outdated and expensive ads are increasingly ignored by consumers because they see too many of them and they just frustrate consumers.
Part of the Community
Influencers, on the other hand, are not aggressive in-your-face, shout-at-consumers ads. Influencers are normal people that can build a trusting and personal relationship with consumers. Why? Because normal consumers can relate to them. They’re just like you and me. As an Influencer, they command authority over their followers. And because an Influencer is a customer as well, their opinions are valued greatly. If a customer has a question about a venue or experience, that customer can reach out to the Influencer who posted about it and know they can get an honest answer from the Influencer. Where sponsored posts are used, i.e. when a venue pays to bring in an Influencer, Swayy Influencers clearly state they are sponsored in their posting to maintain the level of trust that they have with their followers.
New Marketing: Inbound Marketing
One of the reasons Influencer marketing works so well is that it does not run on a specific schedule like a TV Ad. The consumer will either already be following the Influencer on Instagram or perhaps come across a post by an Influencer while scrolling through their newsfeed. 74% of consumers actually make their purchase choices based on social media (1), and the smart hotels/restaurants know this!
Influencers are subtle. Making images of venues feel organic and look visually appealing, they are artists in the digital age. They will use Instagram to post photographs of various aspects of their meal at a restaurant or a seemingly candid but beautiful photograph of themselves lounging at a stylish hotel. They have an eye for visual display, which attracts customers. Finding the right ones, booking them, paying, and evaluating them in a simple booking.com style website is how Swayy helps. Instead of wasting money on a poorly targeted Ad, an Influencer will spread the word you want your consumers to hear for you but with beautiful content and at a lower cost. An example of a successful Instagram Influencer is Jack Morris, check an example of his Influencer marketing for Ritz Carlton hotels:
His account called DoYouTravel has over 1.4 million followers, with a beautiful Instagram feed attracting people to the places he posts about; hotels, spas, and restaurants (2). The above photograph alone gained 108,000 impressions in a matter of weeks. His outreach and influence undeniably make people aware of the Ritz Carlton brand and bring in business.
As mentioned above, when an Influencer “advertises” a venue it shouldn’t feel like an advertisement. For example, a trusted food blogger may post a photograph on Instagram of her eating sushi while laughing. She may post that she not only approves of the restaurant but confesses it’s her favourite sushi place because of X, Y, and Z. Furthermore, this food blogger, who has credibility, approves of another venue’s food. This seal of approval will greatly help to convince her followers to try this restaurant when they are next in the area. Often they do not even realise (or care) that the Influencer was promoting the venue. To the followers, it felt natural, as if it fits right into the Influencer’s typical daily life and niche.
Influencers and Instagram
Swayy focuses only on Instagram for Influencers. Why Instagram? Instagram is widely used by teenagers and young adults, A.K.A millennials. It’s not uncommon for an adult over the age of thirty to have an Instagram account either. Instagram is trendy, personal, simple to use and free. Each Instagram account is individual with an obvious style and personality. This social media platform is not overly saturated with ads and it’s aesthetically pleasing.
Conveniently, Instagram posts are short, attention-grabbing and provide instant gratification. Most importantly, Instagram creates a sense of community and following that allows for a connection with an audience. There are hashtags, likes and comments on each photograph posted. The outreach is endless. For a business, Instagram is a means to brand, market and also measures outreach and effectiveness (i.e. measuring most popular posts, the best time to post, hashtags, loyal followers, etc).
Connecting to consumers is all about reliability, trust and honesty. Because of this relationship, a community evolves. Followers become loyal to the Influencer and specific hotel/restaurant, which begins to attract more followers by word-of-mouth. All of this exposure is cost-effective. Influencer marketing shows integrity and sincerity from the business, creating customer loyalty. It’s so cost-effective that a recent study showed that businesses using Influencer marketing, on average, received £5.70 in earned media value per £1 spent in paid media (3). Many companies are starting to use Influencer marketing with great success and Swayy is the key tool to help venues do that.
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