For travelers contemplating summer plans, an unfolding road trip on social media can inspire excursions. Also, the captive audience of many social influencers can drive new guests to brand properties.
“Most brands have come to accept the importance of content in increasing their online visibility and developing a relationship with their online community,” said Taylor Rains, Charleston-based luxury brand consultant.
“Where they tend to struggle, however, is with the nature of that content,” he said. “Promotional and highly-branded content oftentimes fails to reach the desired audience and, even if it does, rarely garners the desired level of engagement.
“By recruiting highly-visible brand ambassadors to take part in a unique road trip experience and using that to develop content, The Luxury Collection and Fairmont are supplementing their branded content with something interesting that is more likely to resonate with their respective online communities,” he said.
“People have strong affiliations with the social media influencers they follow and are more likely to listen to what they have to say than what comes directly from a branded page.”
Enticing packages come out in droves during the summer. Hotels set up all sorts of on-property activities, bring in expert guests for specialized experiences and promote curated off-site excursions.
However, many promotions appear stripped of context, which can make it hard for consumers to imagine themselves in the suggested scenarios.
Road trips broadcasted on social media are an effective way to situate promotions in a plausible context. Guests that follow these trips will have a better sense of how a promotion fits into the larger narrative of a vacation.
Furthermore, an independent social influencer can lend a note of authenticity to the endeavor.
The Luxury Collection is currently making its way up the East coast with One Kings Lane and various travel bloggers to portray a “perfect” days. Bloggers Apartment 34 and Wit & Delight joined the brand for the The Fairfax at Embassy Row, Washington, installment of the tour.
The team explored the local area and identified places for guests to visit including the Bohemian Caves and the Woodrow Wilson House.
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is tapping the social media reach of travel bloggers for road trips showcasing brand properties.
Travel blogger Liisa Sullivan embarked on the first trip from Washington to Boston, stopping at multiple hotels and wandering into the surrounding areas. Summer is the season for exploration and publicizing a road trip is an effective way to display what can be done at certain properties (see story).
Luxury travelers are becoming more discerning when planning trips, expecting more original experiences and more options.
In response, hotel brands are tapping top travel and lifestyle bloggers with increasing regularity to kickstart social campaigns, illuminate what can be found at certain properties and to build connections with highly concentrated audiences.
Although hotel brands are fully capable of explaining the assets of a property to consumers, travelers are often wary of taking advice directly from the company that stands to benefit from giving that advice. Consequently, leveraging bloggers can help brands achieve a tone of authenticity that may resonate with consumers, while reaching larger pockets of consumers (see story).
Hotel brands are not the only luxury players heading on road trips. Luxury brands overall recognize that they help sustain interest in campaigns and build connections by showing a realistic experience.
Mercedes-Benz USA is inviting fans to show off their personalities by packing their GLA models, or an equivalent space, with essential items and then snapping stylish photographs through Aug. 20.
The automaker first invited photographers, graphic designers, explorers and other social influencers to pack a GLA reflecting their interests. Although packing for a road trip is often a lesson in discovering what matters, Mercedes seems to be flaunting the car’s expansive storage area, indicating that there are no limits here (see story).
“While the strategy may not result in an immediate spike in traffic on property it will likely increase and strengthen the brands’ online communities, giving them a more engaged pool of prospects to reach out to with their promotional content,” Mr. Rains said.
By Joe McCarthy