Hotels are forced into working with a new class of marketers - Instagram travel influencers.
If you have an Instagram account, I’m sure you follow quite a few Instagram travel influencers. How else are you going to get your daily dose of wanderlust? These aren’t just your average vacationers. No, they plan their lives to a "t". Everything is beautifully curated - from their wardrobe, food, locale, and even the people they choose to photograph with.
That’s what Instagram is all about, right? It only shows people the highlights of your life. While we all like to put our best foot forward for our digital audience, these people are paid (handsomely) to do it.
How Are These Instagram Travel Influencers So Successful?
You’re probably wondering how these people came to fame. Instagram travel stars like Gypsea Lust, Do You Travel, Captain Potter, Charly Jordan, and Sam Kolder rose to the top through several ways. First, they were lucky enough to ride the Instagram wave at a good time. Since the two algorithm changes, it has been ridiculously hard for people and businesses to gain organic views and engagement.
Second, they post high quality content at good times. They’re constantly creating, innovating, and traveling to new locations for photos, videos, and live streaming. They network with other creatives to help grow their social following. Third, they work hard and they’re good at what they do.
How Instagram Travel Influencers Are Driving Luxury Hotel Managers Crazy:
While the influencers above aren’t guilty and actually receive hotel invites, many people trying to break into the Instagram game exploit their growing fame. Instead of developing a reputable business, they try and seek handouts. Kate Jones, the Marketing and Communications Manager for Dusit Thani, a luxury resort in the Maldives, said she receives at least six requests from self-described influencers per day.
She said: "Everyone with a Facebook these days is an influencer. People say, I want to come to the Maldives for 10 days and will do two posts on Instagram to like 2,000 followers. It's people with 600 Facebook friends saying, ‘Hi, I'm an influencer, I want to stay in your hotel for 7 days.” These people are expecting free accommodations; Maldives isn’t a cheap destination and neither are rates for luxury hotels.
What’s the Problem?
The internet is so vast and the concept of “Instagram travel influencers” is so loose. While it’s generally easy to sort the amateurs from the pros, some people have taken to purchasing fake accounts with fake followers and fake engagement. A profile with 80,000 followers and a seemingly great interaction rate will contact a business and try to set up a deal. Hotels must become much more shrewd when they analyze social profiles and these users’ requests.
What do you think about social media and the future of influencer marketing? Should hotels be pressured into paying social influencers for millennial marketing? Comment below and let us know what you think.