Rewardstyle and its cadre of fashionable bloggers are getting into the hospitality game.
Four-year-old influencer marketing firm launched its Like to Know It service in January of 2014 to help influencers monetize Instagram posts. Like to Know It sends users e-mails with direct links to purchase product featured in an Instagram photo that they “liked” and to date has driven $100 million in retail sales from 1.7 million users.
Now Starwood Hotels & Resorts wants to get in on the action. The hospitality group’s Tribute Portfolio — which operates nine boutique hotels globally and has eight more on the way — is using social media to market its two newest properties. Surrounding the opening of the two latest Tribute hotels in Paris, Le Metropolitan and Le Dokhan’s, five Paris-based digital influencers will use Like to Know It when documenting their respective stays, including Alex’s Closet, La Revue De Kenza, Elles en Parlent, Marie Luv Pink and J’aime tout Chez toi.
When users “like” a post, they will be delivered an e-mail that links them directly to the hotel booking site if they like an image featuring a Tribute Portfolio property.
Sarah Engel, vice president of client relations at RewardStyle, said Like to Know It was intended to help social media followers know where they can buy the products they saw in posts.
“But as content evolved, it went from ‘Where do I get this specific product?’ to ‘Where are you wearing this specific product to how do I go to this destination?’” said Engel, noting that the influencer has become the new travel agent.
“Influencers can create a lifestyle and something you can be a part of versus a static image of a palm tree, beach and ocean,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for brands that can showcase new locations.”
Dave Marr, global brand leader for Tribute Portfolio, said the group has used social media and influencers to document the opening of every new property thus far, creating the #independentmoments hashtag to drive user-generated content.
While Marr acknowledged that he’s hopeful the partnership will increase bookings from a top of the funnel perspective — this is not the main priority.
“It’s primarily an awareness-driving initiative,” Marr said. “Nowadays with social you can do a lot of retargeting to the kind of customers you think will be more apt to stay at your hotels.”
In May of last year, Like to Know It saw its first significant addition in categories, expanding from a limited community of 5,000 bloggers and influencers to retailers and brands from Neiman Marcus to ASOS. The service currently sends more than 10 million “My Likes” emails per month and sees 1,000 images posted on Instagram per day.