Influencer Marketing for Vacation Rentals: Is It Worth It?
Explore the impact of influencer marketing on vacation rentals. Uncover pros and cons, benefits of influencer collaborations, and how to work with influencers.
If you've been in the vacation rental industry for some time, you might have heard the buzzword "influencer marketing." As travelers turn to social media for inspiration, more and more creators pop up online to influence their decisions.
In an era where word of mouth is key, leveraging influencers for your effective vacation rental marketing strategy can drastically increase your bookings. These are everyday people who managed to build a loyal audience around their personal brand. As a result, users value their recommendations and spend money based on them.
So, imagine travel influencers vouching for your property, encouraging users to book with you. With over 31% of social media users trusting influencers to discover new products, it's no wonder why the industry is growing rapidly. But is it worth investing in them for your vacation rentals, and how can you leverage creators? Let's find out.
What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing for Vacation Rentals?
Travel influencers would stay in your property, shoot content, and promote your short-term rental in exchange for a free stay and/or compensation. Here's how their content could benefit your vacation rental:
- Boost your visibility. Travel influencers are viewed by hundreds or thousands of followers with a single post. They can reach travelers still thinking about their next escape or those actively planning their upcoming itinerary. Moreover, they can induce users with the travel bug and create a sense of urgency to book their stay. As a result, your brand appears in front of hot leads, and you get higher chances of securing bookings.
- Get reviews from an authority source. Did you know 29% of travelers check vacation rental reviews before booking? Besides promoting your vacation rental property, influencers provide organic reviews and opinions on their stay. This can be highly beneficial to your business, as potential guests will no longer need to trust faceless testimonials blindly; they'll have authority sources to refer to.
- Promote your listing to their audience. One of the perks of influencer collaborations is that you can target very specific niches through a voice that they know and trust. Users today are familiar with marketing tactics and don't fall easily for ads and promotions. However, an honest opinion from a trusted face can bend their walls and persuade them to invest.
Tips for Choosing the Right Vacation Rental Influencers
Not every travel influencer will fit your vacation rental marketing plan. The first step to a successful collaboration is determining who you will pick. Here are some tips to help you out:
1. Check if Their Brand Matches Yours
- Similar style and tone of voice: if your brand has a more professional, authoritative style, and the influencer is more funny and quirky, this will probably not end up well.
- Authentic content: if they ask you for ready-to-post photos or videos from your vacation rental properties, they lie to their audience about a stay they never had. This will likely backfire on you, so ensure both parties work toward honest reviews.
- Types of posts they're creating. If your brief focuses on Stories, and the influencer only does posts, you'll most likely have a mismatch in content preferences.
- How do they engage with their audience. Do they only talk to their audience to promote products, or are they focusing on consistent engagement and cultivating an online community?
2. Look at Their Followers
Check that they have real followers, not fake accounts and bots. This will ensure you're advertising to real-time people. The second thing you should decide is what type of social media influencer you'd like to hire. Based on your budget and their following, there are four types:
- Nano-influencers: 1K-10K followers
- Micro-influencers: 10K-100K followers
- Macro-influencers: 100K-1M followers
- Mega-influencers: 1M+ followers
Apart from following, you should also check the influencers' engagement, which results from followers' comments, likes, shares, and messages. Strive for at least 10%.
As a general rule of thumb, influencers with massive followings usually have a wide target and lose authenticity. On the other hand, smaller influencers catering to specific sub-niches might appeal better to your potential guests.
3. Evaluate Their Posts' Quality
Go through their published posts and assess their content. Then ask yourself:
- Do their posts sound organic and caring?
- Do they authentically engage with their following?
- Do they talk from a place of authority?
- Do they use hashtags, tags, and the paid collaboration feature?
Remember that influencers will represent your vacation rental business. Your goal is to stand out, not to be one of the many brands they work with on social media.
How Can Vacation Rental Owners Work With Influencers?
1. Decide on Budget
To determine a budget for this project, you should consider:
- The influencer's reputation (the higher up the influencer ladder, the higher the fee)
- The cost of their stay
- The cost of additional services you'll offer them
- Additional monetary benefits
Although it might seem that influencers have the time of their lives while staying in your property, remember they're still working. So make sure to provide all the necessary amenities you would to any other business traveler, such as a good Wi-Fi connection and a clean space to work from.
2. Determine How You'll Measure Success
Vacation rental marketers use metrics to measure influencer marketing efforts, and you should, too. If your goal is awareness, it could be measured via video views, comments, likes, and website traffic. On the other hand, if you opted for purchases, it could be measured through actual bookings on your book-direct website.
3. Figure Out Processes and Timelines
Influencers you collaborate with are probably working with other businesses simultaneously. To make sure they prioritize you in their calendar, set some clear expectations, such as:
- Duration of their stay
- Timeline for first drafts
- Approval process
- When will the payment be released
- When will the content be published
4. Sign a Contract
To make things official and ensure accountability on both sides, make sure you sign a contract. Here's what you should include:
- Types of content
- Brand Messaging
- Compensation details
- Disclosure statements
- Social media IDs
- Competitive engagement details
The Final Verdict: is an Influencer Marketing Strategy Worth It?
As a vacation rental brand that wants to secure direct bookings, you must maintain a multi-channel digital marketing plan. Influencer marketing can help you reach your target audience through personas they know and trust and ultimately promote sales.
In a competitive vacation rental market, having your own book-direct website is key to any influencer collaboration. It's your dedicated online space where travelers can reach you, learn about your properties, and book with you. Houfy helps you list your vacation rental company without the extra fees. Create your own website today and make way for a successful vacation rental business.
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