1990s: How it used to be…before Influencers
Imagine what marketing was like before Influencers. The year is 1990. You’ve just stayed at a wonderful hotel. You want to share your experience with friends and family as a means of creating public support, but how do you do this? By talking to your co-workers, your friends and your family. You use so called “Word of Mouth” advertising for this new hotel. You are an Influencer. Social media in 1990 was still in the developmental stage limiting your word of mouth activity to Internet Relay Chats (IRCS). Traditional marketing (consumer ads, commercials etc.) was still the only real viable means of growing consumer awareness of new venues. Restaurants and hotels relied on this as well as consumer “word of mouth” reviews to gain new customers. Social media was still in the conceptional stage and would not appear for several years.
2017: The new reality…
Fast forward to 2017. Traditional brand marketing has become disconnected from consumers with a large majority of all ads displayed via traditional means not being seen or remaining unnoticed. How did this happen? To understand the impact of social media and its effect on the leisure (hotel/restaurant) brands we need to look at the change in population.
Today’s social media users are the children of yesterday’s consumers. Past consumers relied on the traditional marketing messages and “word of mouth” to connect with trusted hotel and restaurant brands. The new consumers are digital natives. They arrived just before or during the rise of social media. These new consumers are reviewing hotel rooms and restaurants. To do this they don’t use the traditional spoken word of mouth, but a new form: Digital word of mouth.
Digital word of mouth spreads exponentially faster than its predecessor and in the process, a void has opened between brand marketers and consumers. That void has recently begun to fill with the advent of Influencer Marketing (see “Why Instagram is the most powerful tool for leisure?“). Swayy is a technology business working to fill that void and huge need.
Where Swayy fits into all of this
Swayy understands that consumers are rejecting traditional advertising, replacing it with the more personal “review” oriented messages on a new medium: Instagram. These posts are created by ordinary people with a powerful digital voice. This digital voice is shaping the future of marketing, particularly for leisure brands. Firstly, Instagram users have developed followers because of the quality of the content they post online. Secondly, these postings have become one of the most powerful marketing tools a brand can utilise.
Swayy provides a common ground for consumers and venues to connect through the shared experiences of trusted influencers. The traditional self-promotion methods used in brand marketing have experienced a large decline in trust. The use of Influencers offers a more personal touch/real-life experience of the venue. This is preferred by potential consumers since they can really see what the experience (food, room, etc.) is like in vivid images/videos accessible directly on their mobile phones.
Due to the highly visual nature of Instagram (the fastest growing social media site worldwide), the opportunity for hotels/restaurants to take advantage of this is enormous. The fashion industry has already caught onto this. As a result, the front rows of every major catwalk are now packed with Instagram stars documenting and sharing the new collections with their millions of followers, ordinary people like you and me. Tommy Hilfiger even has an InstaPit: http://www.wmagazine.com/fashion/2016/02/tommy-hilfiger-fashion-show-instagram-pit/
With the development of digital marketing through Influencer marketing, hotels and restaurants are now faced with a new dilemma. How to connect through Instagram media without self -promotion that turns consumers away. Much time could be spent in the effort to make a business relationship with customers who have audiences, or businesses could utilise the services of companies such as Swayy. Through an organisation like Swayy, venues can actively connect Influencers with hotels and restaurants. It makes a previously time consuming and expensive process simple and easy. That’s what a team of super-experienced engineers and hotel/restaurant experts have spent months to build.
(See: “How Swayy Works”)
The “I want to find a hotel” scenario
Think about the last time you travelled. You needed to book a room at a destination hotel. What was your approach? You went to websites like Travelocity, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, among the many OTAs available. What do these sites all have in common? The hotels include user reviews as well as list recommended restaurants gleaned from user reviews. Yet currently, Generation Z are finding out about these venues through Influencers on their Instagram before they even know they want to go there. These Influencers are essentially the new generation of reviewers who can reach future customers.
What Swayy can do is connect venues with Influencers who can help promote these venues. Even the most obscure hotels and restaurants located far away from tourist hot spots can utilise Influencers. With Influencer postings, travellers can be encouraged to explore an area and certain venues. Visual imagery (just see our Instagram page @swayy.me SWAYY) brings another element into the new marketing paradigm.
Wider community benefits of using Influencers
Today’s younger travellers are enjoying access to locations their predecessors could not. Incomes are more flexible, travel methods more diverse. By utilising Swayy to connect with travellers using Influencers, hotels and restaurants could increase their revenues and market exposure immensely. This does not just apply to major cities like London which Swayy focuses on. It also applies to more rural communities. Consequently, this is where greater exposure and a larger piece of travel industry revenue would be available to small communities off the beaten track. Swayy ultimately aims to connect hotels and restaurants in villages, towns or cities across the globe with Influencers.
The new reality for leisure
So, what does this all mean for the leisure industry? The use of Instagram and Influencers through Swayy is the new marketing. Using Instagram to communicate and share experiences is rocketing and Swayy provides a way for hotels and restaurants to harness that value.
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