Should You Invite KOLs/Influencers to Your Hotel?

As a hotel, should you use KOLs/Influencers?

Over the last 2 weeks there was quite a stir over a hotel in Ireland refusing to provide free accommodation to a KOL and that KOL further publicizing the event with a video. You know what I'm talking about. If not, read the story here then continue reading. We have worked on social media marketing with hotels since 2012, our very first client being a hotel, the beautiful Casa de La Flora in Khao Lak, Thailand. Subsequently we worked with hotels such as Banyan Tree Phuket, Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Hotel Muse Bangkok, InterContinental Danang, Hua Hin and Koh Samui, Sofitel So Bangkok, Renaissance Koh Samui, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach, Conrad Bangkok, Centara Grand at Central Ladprao and many others. We have worked with a lot of hotels. Do KOLs work?

Influencer at a hotel

There are many factors to consider in working with a KOL, so the answer is that it depends. Here is a list of what you can consider in choosing to accept or reject a KOL for your hotel:

1. What market will the KOL help you reach? Is it based on interests and demographics, i.e. fashionistas, health & wellness? Is it based on location, i.e. the UK, Australia? Is it based on a niche, i.e. expats in Hong Kong?

2. Does welcoming this KOL form part of a larger strategy of reaching this specific market, i.e. you have ads in that market, you are attending a travel show there, you have a local promotion, you are welcoming a series of KOLs for this market?

3. What is the potential reach of the KOLs posts for your hotel? To help determine this, look at the number of followers on the platforms they will publish to, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WeChat, Weibo or others. Then look at the engagement on their other hotel posts. How many likes, comments and shares do they receive? What is the quality of the comments? On WeChat you won't be able to see this, so ask the KOL for this information in the form of screenshots.

4. Is there something actionable the KOL can help you promote? Can they include a link in their post for users to click on and use a specific code to enjoy certain discounts?

5. What is the real cost of the KOLs visit? Are you paying for a flight, transport? Are you providing room and board? Are you forgoing a paying customer by accepting the KOL during a high-occupancy period? Are you organizing special activities for the KOL?

6. Do the potential benefits offset the real cost?

Based on your assessment of the above questions, you can then determine whether the KOL makes sense for your hotel. Our experience has shown that a one-off with a KOL from a random market does not work. You get a momentary boost in exposure, but not much after that. We have seen many hotels take this approach over the years and almost always end up disappointed. We recommend that a KOL visit be part of a larger marketing strategy where more than one KOL is invited from the same market and there is an accompanying online/offline marketing activity that can potentially generate revenue.

Our hotel clients receive tons of private messages on Instagram and Facebook from KOLs asking for a collaboration, i.e. they stay free, the hotel gets exposure on their social media/blog. If a KOL requests free room and board, there's no reason to reply rudely, simply assess your needs and resources. If the answer is no, you can answer that they don't fit into your current marketing strategy, but thanks for the interest. If yes, then agree on what the KOL will deliver, what you will provide and whether anything is required once the KOL checks-out of the hotel, i.e. screenshots from Insights. We hope this guide helps you in making a determination whether KOLs are a good fit for your hotel.

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Should You Invite KOLs/Influencers to Your Hotel?
29 Jan 2018 05:37

As a hotel, should you use KOLs/Influencers? Over the last 2 weeks there was quite a stir over a ho [ ... ]

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