Are influencers effective? Mid-market hoteliers debate

Mid-scale hoteliers agree that influencer marketing could be effective but only if deployed with a proper strategy and measured for results

The Hotelier Express Summit 2017 advisory panel at Rove Trade Centre, Dubai.
The Hotelier Express Summit 2017 advisory panel at Rove Trade Centre, Dubai.

Five leaders in the Middle East's mid-market hospitality industry convened at the Rove Trade Centre in Dubai to discuss relevant issues facing the sector, with the hoteliers' insights helping to set the 2017 Hotelier Express Summit agenda.

What’s your opinion on utililising influencers to market, promote, position your hotel: aye or nay?
Siegfried Poppe: It’s a mixed bag. It’s going to be interesting to see the impact here because the GCC has the highest ratio of social engagement and mobile penetration. So it’s huge, it brings opportunities but also risks. I think it’s important to assess it properly. There have been big brands who’ve made big mistakes, spent too much money on influencers so they’ve also learnt lessons. To a certain degree, there’s more maturity coming into is so it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Remmie De Graaf: It’s an absolutely powerful medium if you use it the right way. You need to control it, need to have a strategy behind it to make sure that you use it in the advantage of the hotel. That goes in hand in hand. It means not putting all my eggs in one basket and saying this is the whole future and this is the only thing that will happen but it can complement basically your complete online marketing and e-marketing strategy and toolkit.

Poppe: There are tools to measure that and interestingly enough, there are influencers who have many followers and who publish something but you will not have a big return. On the flip side, you talk to the experts and they tell you, you might have someone with 10,000 followers and when they post something, the outreach of that post is much bigger. Because the relationship they have with their followers is a real relationship. I think it’s important to engage with the right people and there are enough tools out there to measure how effective they are.

De Graaf: ‘The more followers, the better it is’, is not necessarily applicable. Assessing and also working with them closely is necessary to make sure that the right message comes across.  Half a million followers is nice but doesn’t mean anything if the message you want to communicate is not coming across. We’ve worked with influencers quite extensively for the opening of the hotel but as part of the overall strategy. And they were carefully selected; it wasn’t just an open house.

Paul Bridger: We tend to work with 'foodie' influencers here generally to push our messages about Dubai. From my personal experience, the message is the message now. The best thing to do is to live and breathe the message because people will post what they want to post. So my brief to my guys is just to live and breathe the brand, stay true to it. Some people will like it and some people won’t.

Hotelier Express would like to thank the members of the Summit Advisory Panel 2017:
Time Asma Hotel, Dubai general manager Ghada Mahgoub
Rove Hotels director of operations Paul Bridger
Hilton Garden Inn Ras Al Khaimah general manager Remmie de Graaf
Premier Inn Dubai International Airport Hotel & Premier Inn Al Jaddaf general manager Pawel Guminski
Smartotels Hospitality International chief operating officer Siegfried Poppe

Hotelier Express Summit 2017
Wednesday, 22nd November
Grosvenor House, Dubai, UAE

A one-of-a-kind event that brings together hospitality professionals from across the Middle East’s midlevel, budget and serviced apartment market to discuss and debate the unique challenges and opportunities this sector possesses. The Hotelier Express Middle East Summitprovides the ideal forum for hoteliers to step back and reflect on how they are going to tackle key operational challenges, meet customer expectations and boost their bottom line.

For event registration or speaking opportunities, contact Louby Maktari, conference producer:
Tel: +971 4 444 3578

For event sponsorship opportunities, contact Stephen Price, group sales director:
Tel: +971 4 444 3246


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