Social Media Stars and Hospitality: Swipe-Left on the Tinder of Influencer Marketing
The concept of the 'Tinder of Influencer Marketing,' which resembles the pursuit of one-time brand deals akin to casual connections on Tinder, often proves to be a significant weakness for many hotel brands.
And since influencer marketing has gained prominence in recent years for hoteliers, many who are trying to increase brand presence or bookings via influencer marketing are seeing an upside-down return on investment (ROI). This underperformance is separate from influencer marketing's efficacy in terms of building exposure and credibility, as it excels in these aspects. Instead, the challenge lies in the approach and execution of influencer marketing strategies by hoteliers. In this article, we’ll explore why the Tinder approach doesn’t quite align with the marketing and exposure goals of hotel brands, and how they can redefine their influencer marketing strategies for a 180-degree change in results.
Quick Wins are Seductive
The analogy between influencer marketing and Tinder stems from the allure of quick wins. Just as Tinder offers a platform for individuals to seek immediate connections, influencer marketing promises swift exposure through partnerships with social media influencers. Hotel brands, eager to capitalize on this trend, sometimes opt for short-term collaborations with influencers in the hope of quickly boosting their bookings and brand recognition.
However, this approach can often backfire for hotel brands. Here's why:
1. Issues with Authenticity
In the world of influencer marketing, authenticity is the bread and butter of success. Hotel brands that engage in one-time deals with influencers risk coming across as insincere or opportunistic. One-off influencer partnerships often fail to convey a genuine connection between the brand and the influencer.
Moreover, one-time brand deals are typically a form of ‘quick cash’ for influencers. And while paid partnerships are incredibly valid, a come-and-go one-time paid encounter fosters zero connection, understanding, or loyalty between brand and influencer.
In the eyes of the influencer's audience, this lack of authenticity is as discernible as a scent to a bloodhound puppy, and it can significantly tarnish the reputation of both the influencer and the hotelier.
2. Long-Term Relationships Always Win
Hotel brands should aim for lasting relationships with their audience. Building rapport with influencers over time can lead to substantially higher exposure over time.
And since it takes at least seven times of exposure, on average, for consumers to take any call to action for a product or service, repetition is imperative.
So the best approach is to have your influencer agency build long-term brand deals with closely aligned, and strong-performing influencers who can consistently talk about the perks and value propositions of your hotel.
3. Fraudulent Influencers: The Cat-Fish Effect
Influencer marketing should be a quality game. Hotel brands fixated on quick wins may prioritize influencers solely based on their follower count or perceived popularity. However, this can lead to critical errors in pre-screening efforts, such as influencer follower and engagement fraud. Just as a match on a dating app might lead to a catfish and a broken heart if you’re not careful, influencer partnerships can lead to a broken bank account or upside-down ROI if the selected influencers are not audited thoroughly.
The Road to Successful Influencer Marketing for Hotel Brands
To avoid these pitfalls,' hotel brands should adopt a more strategic and sustainable approach:
1. Prioritize Authenticity
Authenticity should be at the heart of every influencer collaboration. Hotel brands should seek influencers who genuinely resonate with their brand values and align with their target audience.
The best-performing campaigns typically have a few things in common:
Influencers whose content already deeply aligns with your brand values and content.
Hoteliers (or agencies representing Hoteliers) that give influencers creative freedom.
Having a “good picker.” In other words, knowing how to discern good quality from poor quality influencers, and choosing the right ones for your brand.
2. Invest in Long-term Brand Deals
Instead of pursuing one-time deals, hotel brands should consider investing in long-term partnerships with influencers.
The optimal approach involves initiating a dialogue with influencers, expressing your intention to cultivate a long-term relationship.
Consider nurturing a series of campaigns to assess which influencers prove to be the most effective communicators, best aligned with your brand values, and consistently deliver on agreed-upon objectives. This careful selection process ensures that the influencers you choose are not only of quality but also capable of maintaining consistency in both their performance and results over time.
3. Audit Influencers
Few experiences are as disheartening as falling victim to a catfish. In the realm of influencer marketing, the presence of fraudulent followers and engagement mirrors the deceptive nature of catfishing in the dating world.
To safeguard against this, it's crucial to employ various tools and methods to distinguish genuine followers and engagement from deceptive ones. This includes evaluating an influencer's consistency in engagement across different channels, scrutinizing the quality of comments, and examining their track record of success in past campaigns.
While the allure of 'The Tinder of Influencer Marketing' may promise quick wins at times, hotel brands should approach influencer partnerships strategically.
Authenticity, brand-influencer matchmaking, and influencer audits are an imperative part of building potent returns on credibility, reach, and bookings. By steering clear of the shortcomings associated with short-lived arrangements, hotel brands can carve out a robust presence in the digital sphere and establish profound, financially rewarding connections with their target audience.
Sarah Saffari is the founder of InfluencerNexus, a boutique influencer marketing agency that helps B2C brands disrupt market share by partnering with industry-leading influencers in their respective markets.