Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 110 – The Real Value of Hotel Micro Influencers (with Flip.to and Navis)

by Stuart Butler

Still trying to figure out this whole “influencer” phenomena that’s getting more than its fair share of coverage in hospitality blogs? In this episode of the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast, we solicit the help of our friends at Navis and Flip.to to discuss the difference between macro and micro influencers, and we look at a case study that illustrates the potential that exists from tapping into the influence of your existing guest.
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SHOW NOTES
STATS OF THE WEEK

    • Authenticity is crucial when it comes to influencer marketing
    • 90% of micro-influencer use Instagram to post their original content
    • 97% of micro-influencers say they charge less than $500 for Instagram posts
    • Influencers on Instagram with fewer than 1k followers will see about 8% of their audience like their posts

 
MICRO-INFLUENCER DATA & DEFINITIONS

  • Definition samples – very wide ranging with little consensus on the high and low ends
  • Typically connected with a specific niche, unlike larger influencers who may chase trends because relevancy is their currency
  • The tides are turning a bit. The concept of influencer marketing was really only coined 2 years ago or so. And many of the macro influencers are having to find a niche to bring in sponsorship money. The broader influencers are losing their sponsors because it’s not driving return. Regardless of micro or macro, the most important part of influencer selection begins with the brand. You certainly want an outside in approach, but you can’t know where to begin looking and what content to request until you know your personas.

 
MACRO vs. MICRO
Macro defined

  • Focus on follower count to demonstrate value
  • Reaches a broad, typically diverse audience (may vary)
  • Usually multi-platform (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram as primaries)
  • Often their job
  • Incentive driven – they make money by doing this, a lot of money in some cases
  • Moderate sized consumer brands (around the same annual revenue of many hotels) pay $30-50k on average for athletes. Major consumer brands like Pepsi, etc. pay much more. But they also find many up and coming influencers for cheaper, or trade. Must be alignment with passion.
  • This concept in ads isn’t going away. Word of mouth is the most trusted form of marketing, period. And always will be – it’s human nature. How it’s executed on, invested in and presented in market will evolve… but it’s definitely worth exploring

 
Micro defined

  • Often no clue they’re an influencer
  • Has a small, highly engaged, niche audience
  • Strong on a single platform (usually Facebook)
  • Experience has deep meaning
  • The types of micro-influencers we’ll be discussing aren’t monetizing their status, so value has a different definition to them
      • Yes! It’s taking the guest relationship a step further with the ones that have a high social impact… and showcasing that with their peers. It’s leveraging their talent and perspective.
      • Consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – social status is there, you can impact that for micro influencers and the viral connection will want to join the party

 
MYRTLE BEACH MICRO INFLUENCER CASE STUDY

    • Overview
      • Myrtle Beach market (DMO, approx. 30 accommodation providers)
      • 1.5 years worth of data
      • Approx. 59,000 advocates in this data set
      • Define “micro” in this case as 100 – 1,000 followers (we can do this because we have access to other data to validate their relative influence)
    • Notable findings & data
      • 24 people from this sample had 10k+ followers across platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn only)
        • Only 2 had > 100k
        • Most were between 10 – 50k (88%) – likely a sweet spot worth exploring a bit more deeply
      • 29k had 100 – 1,000 followers; where we’ll be focusing
      • 1,800+ converted at least 5% of their audience into a lead for a hotel or for the market (DMO)
        • Half of these converted at 10% or more

 

  • Lead defined as:  name, email address, opt-in, captured intent (i.e. you know who these people are, how to reach them, and what interests them)

 

      • Resulted in just over 90,000 warm leads for the destination (potential future travelers)

 
SINGLE PROPERTY COMPARISON

  • Daytona example
    • 1 year of advocacy
    • Same “micro” definition
    • Notable findings & data
      • No advocates with 10k+ followers
      • ~ 240 potential micro-influencers
        • 8 converted 5% or more of their audience
          • Average follower count of these was 475
        • Half converted at 10% or more
        • These guests only stayed 1.5 nights on average (helpful to know if approaching for a future stay to encourage further engagement)
        • 532 warm leads from only 8 people
  • Memphis example
    • 1 year of advocacy
    • Notable findings & data
      • 1 advocate with 10k+ followers
      • ~ 200 potential micro-influencers
        • 10 converted 5% or more of their audience
          • Average follower count of these was 433
        • Half converted at 10% or more
        • These guests only stayed 2.1 nights on average
        • 433 warm leads from only 10 people
  • Finger Lakes, NY
    • 1 year of advocacy
    • Notable findings & data
      • Zero advocates with 10k+ followers
      • 100 potential micro-influencers
        • 6 converted 5% or more of their audience
          • Average follower count of these was 404
        • Half converted at 10% or more
        • These guests stayed 5.2 nights on average (VR property – so this is normal)
        • 273 leads from only 6 people

 
TANGIBLE ADVICE AND TAKEAWAYS

  • Balance your influencer squad – both macro and micro
  • Start with personas
  • Either way, put agreements in place when you’re asking for or using assets. Seen this go wrong at a hotel… royalties, eugh.
  • Set measurable goals of your program. Why the heck are you doing this? What do you want to achieve?
    • 3 good areas to focus (average a score across these 3 to get an index of your squad. It levels the playing field on investment vs impact for your macro and micro investment):
      • Compliance
      • Brand Fit
      • Impact
    • Always start with micro – more authentic, less risk
    • Don’t put money or trade on the line until you know it works. Prove it to leadership.
  • Leverage the program for user content generation – there’s a cost savings here for your own time and money spent on photographers. Next step is to show simple media metrics like CPM Impressions. How does that compare to your media buys and digital ads?
  • Start with a single platform. It’s easier to track.

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