Episode #016 - Luxperience live panel event (Spicers Retreats, Journey Beyond, theright.fit)
We’re live again in this special episode recorded at Australia’s leading luxury travel trade show Luxperience. Co-hosts Andrés and Lauren are joined by guests Sue Johnson, the marketing director at Spicers Retreats, Tori Johnson, the social media and advocacy manager at Journey Beyond and Taryn Williams, the CEO and founder of the.rightfit, in a panel discussion titled “The New Rules for Luxury Influencer Marketing”.
Lauren kicked off the discussion by noting that influencer marketing had been one of the hottest topics in the industry in recent years but as the industry matured more marketers were keen to take a more forensic approach to ensure that they delivered value for their brands. “Smart influencer marketing is more than just offering a celebrity a free room in exchange for a few Instagram posts,” she says.
One of the most common questions marketers have to grapple with is whether to choose influencers based on the size of their social media following or whether “mirco” or “niche ”influencers can be equally or even more effective.
Taryn Williams from influencer platform theright.fit said it was critical to have clear objectives from the outset to help answer that question and not to fall into the trap of using influencers because it is a type of marketing that is “trending”.
While Sue Johnson from Spicers Retreats said that more often than not her objective was reach so an influencer needed to have scale, Journey Beyond’s Tori Johnson urged the audience not to disregard influencers with a smaller following. These can be easier to work with and are “eager to please” which could be particularly useful if you are looking for that influencer to create content for you.
Taryn cautioned that, on the flip side, micro influencers were less sophisticated. “The important thing to remember is it's generally not their profession … You're going to have to spend a lot more time handholding, explaining how to get reporting back from them, things like trackable links.”
How much creative freedom should you give an influencer? Taryn Williams said in her experience the best performing travel campaigns were where a brand had given an influencer an amazing engaging experience and then allowed them to tell a story “in a way that feels real and right for that audience”.
Journey Beyond’s Tori Johnson said it was important to negotiate clear deliverables but that brands should not force influencers to do things that did not feel natural for the audience. “Let them do what works best for their fans and for their channel. If they're into blogging and Instagram Stories, let them do that. Don't tell them they have to do feed posts if stories work better for them.”
Sue Johnson agreed that clear parameters were critical and shared an experience of spending “a considerable sum” on one influencer who did not deliver. “It was five posts, but two of them weren't usable and one of the images was blurry and one was of a pair of shoes that she was wearing.”
Taryn Williams said a good brief was the key to success. “Realistically a good influencer is a creative director, photographer, retoucher and model all in one. So if you can empower them with all of that information about your brand, and then what success looks like [that’s the best approach].”
When asked what her top tip for brands wanting to succeed with influencer marketing would be Tori Johnson from Journey Beyond advised the audience to choose influencers based on their behaviour - not just their demography.
“Our train guests are often of an older clientele, but they're also adventurous and they love creature comforts. And they love the great outdoors. They're into photography. There's this range of behaviours so I try to choose influencers that mirror the behaviours of our audience, rather than the demography.”