Any successful travel, tourism, and hospitality business knows that the power of marketing is key and in 2018, the digital dream weavers boosting business are online influencers; social media personalities with a loyal and engaged following. Connecting with an online influencer can capture the attention of your target market so that they want what you have to offer; targeted, relevant engagement through a form of peer-to-peer marketing that comes from a trusted source.

If you think about it, designers and jewelers do not request, and in some cases pay, Hollywood stars to wear their brands on the red carpet for no reason. They do it because A-listers can add traction to their promotional campaigns; creating a specific branding image and sending out a strong marketing message.

The good news within the travel, tourism, and hospitality business in particular, is that expensive, high-profile influencers are not only not necessary but can be way less effective than micr0-influencers.

Rise of the Micro-Influencers

Micro-influencers have a niche social media following of between 1,000-10,000 and what they advocate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube can have a greater impact than say a celebrity with millions of online fans. Micro-influencers boast 60% higher engagement and are over six times more cost-efficient per engagement according to a HelloSociety study. Influencers may have more followers, although evidence suggests that engagement begins to plateau beyond 100,000.

Influencers Personalize Marketing

The relationship between social influencers and their followers is one of trust, meaning that an influencer recommending a spectacular villa in Thailand or Bali, or travel experience, can have greater impact than a simple advert. Influencers become personally invested in what they promote, understanding their followers’ interests. Blogs, photos, and dialogue online help create a personalized marketing campaign with engagement, shares, and comments. Followers relate to these micro-influencers more than they do to inaccessible celebrities whose lives seem unobtainable.

Influencers Add Narrative Appeal & Sell a Lifestyle

Consumers may feel inspired by photos of a luxury villa in a tropical seaside paradise, but a social influencer brings these images to life with a story. They put themselves in the picture, often quite literally, talking about their experiences or adding their own thoughts. They often sell an enviable lifestyle that followers want, along with destinations, stays, and experiences. They push the concepts of living life to the full, creating unforgettable moments, and bucket-list adventures. 

Influencers Choose What They Promote

For your marketing to be relevant you want onlince influencers who genuinely love what you have to offer. If you are lucky, you may engage with an influencer who promotes your business for free. However, paying for influencer action is an everyday part of modern-day marketing and the good news is that micr0-influencers can be dedicated to a few small campaigns, adding real value to your income.

Promotions Can Be Attractively Affordable

Photos and videos of a travel experience and setting can boost any luxury tourism business. The good news is that there are many social media influencers who travel the world taking incredible photos and making films whilst enjoying the good life; either for no charge to a business or perhaps for a small fee. Compared to glossy advertising, the cost of this organic, authentic approach is startlingly different, not to mention potentially a lot more effective.

How to Choose Your Online Influencer

More businesses, particularly in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, are seeing the value of engaging a small group of individuals whose online recommendations have a great impact on their followers. The vital part of this is not the number of views, but the number of real engagements. It makes sense that the less followers the higher the engagement can be, so the first step is to start small.

To boost your business via online influencers, follow our few guidelines:

Look for a natural fit. If you want to appeal to HNW Chinese millennials, then look at a social media influencer who really ‘speaks’ to this market, is likely to love what you do, and perhaps travels to where you are at.

Start with someone who knows you. A great way to get the ball rolling is by approaching bloggers or fans who have engaged with you in the past. It could be a writer who loves travel, knows all about luxury hospitality, and can talk about you with confidence. Often the best micro-influencers are those who have mentioned your company already.

Engage macro-influencers and micr0-influencers: A mention on an influencer’s Facebook page does not equate to a social media campaign and trying to initiate lots of marketing strategies across many micro-influencers can be a challenge. Consider, directing a couple of macro-influencers and simply engaging a selection of micro-influencers by updating them regularly and encouraging them to mention who you are in any way that they choose.