Meet Melody Siagian…
Siagian is the Director of Marketing and Communications at The Trans Resort Bali, and has six years of experience in the hospitality industry. Before working at the The Trans Resort Bali, Siagian was the Marketing Communications Manager for Le Meridien (part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.), and she has also extensive experience in Public Relations.
And our interviewer, David Gabriele, CEO of Swayy
Swayy is the industry’s leading influencer booking, campaign and relationship management tool, and winner of the 2018 TTE Disrupt Awards. Swayy helps properties streamline the collaboration process, helping properties proactively find relevant “on brand” influencers, save time and hassle evaluating them, and also manage constant inbound requests from bloggers or influencers asking for free collaboration stays.
The Trans Resort Bali is a multi-award winning five star resort in Seminyak, Indonesia which offers a luxurious and elegant getaway with an outdoor swimming pool, on-site spa and wellness centre.
The resort in the heart of Seminyak, close to local restaurants and boutiques. It offers complimentary yoga classes every morning and a fitness centre with a team of personal trainers on hand. Because of their location, their resort attracts a high percentage of Australian guests, including couples and families.
What’s your current process for dealing with collaboration requests?
Siagian tells us that her resort receives between 3 and 5 requests every week. The marketing team will carefully review each of these requests, looking first at the profile of the influencer. This is to gauge the demographic of an influencer’s followers, as this is very important to ensure that the campaign is a success. They will then review the influencer’s traffic, and the engagement their followers have with their content, before getting approval from management for a collaboration to go ahead.
If the venue decides to go ahead with a partnership, they usually offer influencers 2 nights at the hotel at a discounted rate, with the opportunity to upgrade their package if it is available.
Currently, they work with Indonesian, Australian, Korean and Chinese influencers who work within the target market for the hotel.
How important are influencers to your venue?
Social media alliances are being increasingly being viewed as a sustainable long term business model for marketing in the luxury hospitality industry. Siagian tells us that influencers, for the Trans Resort Bali, are important for brand awareness as a result of their increased reach and engagement. Moreover, it is “better for guests to hear our story from others rather than from us.” One of the key benefits of influencer marketing is the increased perception of authenticity when a product is promoted by a person who has worked to build up their demographic. Therefore, when an influencer endorses a venue, it is more likely to lead to increased ROI and an organic build up of ROI than many traditional forms of advertising.
Siagian says that, as a result of this, the Trans Resort will be consistently undertaking “more and more influencer collaborations”.
What problems do you see with influencer marketing at the minute?
The primary problem that Siagian identifies is with influencers who approach multiple hotels in the region with no research into what makes each venue unique. Finding out what a property’s values and attributes are in advance of a collaboration requests shows a genuine interest in a partnership, and helps to create a marketing strategy that aligns with the brand’s image further down the line.
She also sees issues with delivery of the content; whether that be timing issues, or, as mentioned above, content that does not align with the brand’s values. This raises questions about whether a specific partnership will prove to be mutually beneficial for both the influencer and the hotel.
Moreover, she identifies a common problem which taints conceptions of influencer marketing: fake followers. Follower numbers, Siagian argues, are not an indicator of potential ROI, because if these followers are not organic followers with a genuine interest in what the influencer has to say, there will be no engagement following a collaboration.
To measure ROI, the Trans Resort Bali currently focuses on the total number of guests from a region following advertising and marketing campaigns.
What is the key to finding the best influencers for your property?
Siagian suggests three questions that properties should be asking themselves when searching for influencers to partner with:
- 1.Who are their followers?
- 2. Is the content attractive to the property?
- 3. To what extent are they actually engaged with the comments on their content?
What is the goal for your hotel in using influencer marketing?
Ultimately, Siagian would like to see influencers successfully capturing and promoting their property with a new perspective, which they can then market to the target demographic. This, she says, could be done through testimonial videos and giveaways to their followers, on top of more traditional Instagram marketing techniques, such as picture posts and Instagram stories.
What would you like to see improved in the collaboration process with influencers?
Siagian states that the collaboration process suffers as a result of influencers not doing their research on the venue. When they make a partnership request, therefore, they are unlikely to understand the hotel brand and this slows the process and reduces the number of requests which are viable for the hotel to approve. This is an issue which was also identified in our interview with Thibaut Asso, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for the Americas at COMO Hotels and Resorts. Thus, she says, influencers need to have a clear awareness of the brand before the reach out to the property.
Additionally, Siagian says that, across the hospitality industry, brands and venues need to become proactive in their search for influencer relationships, not just reactive. She argues that this can lead to misunderstandings about what it is that a brand is looking for in a partnership, because the collaboration begins on the influencer’s terms.
What are your thoughts on what we’re doing in the industry to address these issues?
“It sounds very interesting because hotels like ours will be using influencers more and more and guests now want to hear our story being told by others rather than hearing it from us“.
To learn more from experts in the luxury hospitality industry, check out the rest of our Executive Interview Series!
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.