An Interview with Hyatt’s Digital Marketing Expert – Executive Interview Series

Meet Jennifer Zajac, ex-Digital Marketing Manager Hyatt EMEA – Industry Expert

As a hotel marketing expert, Jennifer Zajac offers invaluable industry insight. Zajac’s experience is extensive. Having achieved a Bachelors in Communication, Zajac became the Internet Marketing Manager for Fairmont Copley Plaza. She worked at this luxury hotel in Boston for 4 years before joining the Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Here, she worked as the U.K. Digital Marketing Manager for 2 years.

Zajac, therefore, has experience with defining digital and influencer strategies for hotels. She has utilised influencers and bloggers for an increased online presence.

Meet David Gabriele, CEO of Swayy – Today’s Interviewer

Swayy is the leading influencer booking, campaign, and relationship management tool in the hospitality industry.

The success of Swayy is growing, with the company winning the Disrupt Awards 2018 at TTE (Europe’s largest travel tech event). Additionally, Gabriele himself was a finalist for the IHIF Young Leader of the Year Award – for those under 35 making a significant impact on the hotel industry.


Interview Highlights

How do hotels/hotel groups generally run influencer marketing campaigns?

Zajac notes that the process is “handled very clumsily in most properties”. She draws attention to the fact that each hotel has a different setup. As a result, there is no defined structure. Influencers are often handled on an ad hoc basis or consultative approach. There is no clear training or delineation of responsibility.

Who owns the influencer relationship?

Different people in every property/hotel could be dealing with the influencer. Zajac again cites this as being due to each hotel having a different setup. Even within the same brand, there seems to be no consistency across individual properties. It could be marketing, PR, revenue management or anyone else.

What internal challenges did you face when running influencer campaigns?

For Zajac, there were three prime internal challenges.

Firstly, there was the practical challenge of chasing after the revenue manager to get approval for availability. A key issue is that complimentary stays affect a revenue manager’s revenue per available room (RevPAR). As a result, they guarded the availability until they were sure they weren’t going to sell the rooms.

The second challenge comes from the other side; influencers are often travelling. Therefore, they have set dates and are often not very flexible. This makes the process even more difficult and negates the strategy to just blindly email influencers and try and book them in.

Finally, there is a struggle in the marketing department in understanding the revenue process. The job of the individual involved in the influencer process tended to be fairly junior; whereas the individuals making the key decisions about strategy and revenue tend to be more senior. This added to the struggle.

One key area which is lacking is training and education both at a junior and senior level. At a junior level, there is little training on how to really manage campaigns effectively. At a senior level, there is a need for education on what the tangible business benefits are.

Were you being proactive or reactive when managing influencer campaigns?

Nearly all hotels in Zajac’s experience are reactive. Many properties receive unsolicited emails from influencers regularly. Lack of a mechanism for quality control led to an overwhelming majority of hotels being unhappy with results simply by blindly working with them without any quality control process.

How do you go about finding the ROI?

To find out the ROI, Zajac has used UTM links. However, she emphasises that this is not an exact science. The booking journey is not linear and people often look for bookings with different devices.

Promotional codes were also used. However, Zajac recalls these being a bit of a headache. There was resistance from revenue managers because they have many existing codes and simply did not want more.

Having a more comprehensive and unified approach to tracking would be more helpful and avoid having to dig around the influencer’s social channels to compile some form of report for management. For Zajac, she often found that this took “more than half an hour every time.”

What were the goals of marketing campaigns and which produced the highest ROI?

Zajac says that generally speaking using influencer marketing for brand awareness was the best approach. It gained the highest amount of satisfaction. This was primarily because influencer content could then be used for pay-per-click and Facebook adverts to generate extra benefits.

What would be the holy grail?

Zajac’s holy grail would be a tool which:

1. Clearly displays key metrics

2. Has a sophisticated tracking and reporting system

3. Which would remove the time and hassle spent on putting together results of the campaign

What would you advise other hoteliers to be particularly mindful of?

Zajac offers three top tips for other hoteliers:

1. Be clear on deliverables

2. Set timescales

3. Have a clear Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

Given your extensive experience, what is your opinion on our solution?

“Overall, simply wow. I think you’ve built something incredible… Any tool to make our life easier is greatly welcomed.”

About Swayy

Swayy saves time, hassle and effort for venues, agencies and Influencers.

Influencers who sign up are pre-vetted to ensure they are relevant and professional. Leisure businesses and agencies then select the Influencer they wish to work with.

Relax with the knowledge that all Influencers on the Swayy database have been checked for quality control.

Swayy’s streamlined, closed-loop process puts you in full control from the start. Avoid the endless backwards and forwards negotiating collaboration terms and easily find someone who fits with your personal brand. It is quick, easy, and affordable.

Click here for more information.


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