Are influencers really helping luxury hotels?
With the rise of Instagram from 200 million users in 2014 to one billion users in 2018, influencers are carving out an increasingly important role for themselves in hotel marke ng. The ques on remains, however, as to how far Instagram really influences the choice of a hotel and resort. The main factor, it would seem, which determines the effec veness of a communica ons campaign which involves socalled influencers depends, to a great extent, on the demographic targets of the hotel itself. Recent studies, in fact, show that millennials especially book their stays based on social platforms. There is no doubt, then, that Instagram and other social media channels have a specific value for hotels which want to approach this target, knowing fully well that millennials are not yet (and who knows if they will be as they get older) the reference market for luxury, upscale and upperupscale hotels. The vast majority of them are, in fact, s ll far from having the spending power required to get anywhere near the comfort of a 5star hotel. On the hand, however, it is the luxury and exclusive hotels and se ngs that influencers most frequently seek out. This misalignment of elements (virtual promoters and target price of travellers) is promp ng many hotels to carefully assess the value and contribu on of influencers. A recent ar cle published in the pres gious magazine, “The Atlan c”, shows that, out of a sample of hotels monitored, up to twenty requests per day arrive from influencers which offer to share the luxury hotel experience. Due to the large number of requests and me required to check and coordinate these stays, many hotels are simply elimina ng social media completely from their communica on and promo onal channels. The case of a denial by a renowned luxury hotel in Dublin is now famous when it rejected an influencer trying to scrounge a room for Valen ne’s Day in exchange for photos and videos which would have adver sed the hotel. In short, the value of these partnerships s ll needs to find true redemp on. Above and beyond a rise in views and engagements on Instagram, noone has yet seen an increase in room reserva ons or traffic directed to the hotel’s own website. For luxury hotels who approach Instagram as an exhibi on pla orm, the goal must be to increase the
“desirability of the brand” among aspira onal travellers... a growing segment among the young as well. Focusing on the present, however, luxury hotels need repeaters, but also to reap the effects of influencers, without falling for collabora ons which have no effect. The value of these partnerships requires hotel managers to be selec ve and to remember that they cannot expect an immediate return on investment from influencers, no ma er how popular they are.