Examining the relevance of influencer marketing in the hospitality business

With the emerging popularity of social media, a new way of marketing has been gaining popularity of late – influencer marketing. May it be FMCG or travel or healthcare, no industrial sector is aloof from the touch of this new marketing trend, and the hospitality sector is no different either.

Most hotel marketing teams are dabbling in the ‘word of mouth’ publicity by preparing a ready reckoner of social media ‘influencers’ – entities with a considerable number of followers on various platforms. While the trend is neither unique nor new to the sector, recent times have witnessed a spurt in employing influencers for advertising.

The publicity generated by social media influencers is invaluable indeed, especially to the hotel brands and their audience. While there is no denying that social media influencers have a great impact on customers’ buying and spending decisions, brands need to tread an extremely fine line between neutral and promotional content on their social media pages, since organic information tends to attract the customers more.

Word of mouth marketing is certainly quite impactful, especially when it comes to the hospitality sector. However, overuse of any marketing technique tends to foil the attempts made at attracting new business and retaining the old one. The same can be seen in the case of influencer marketing.

At a time when most people are aware of how brand endorsements work on social media, customers feel the need to get a glimpse of the real deal. Organic content, however little or more it may be, has a deep and lasting impact on the customers’ minds. Influencers are enablers, businesses must understand that.

Discussing the scope of influencer marketing in the Indian hospitality sector, while the industry was one of the very first adopters of this trend, things have greatly changed over the years. Earlier, the focus used to be on micro-influencers with a targeted and defined reach.

However, today the response is measured in terms of engagement with the content produced by the influencers, its virality, and the traction from the visibility of that content. The way the influencer approach is aiding conversion tracking is an entirely different marketing module in itself.

The hospitality giant suggested that going forward, the identification of micro-content creators will prove to be more critical than the collaborations with macro content creators. Segmentation and targeting are going to remain the primary focus. However, micro-influencers and their brand associations will aid businesses to establish unprecedented credibility through social media.