An elite band of social media influencers are leveraging their clout and numbers of followers, often in the hinders of thousands, to travel the world in luxury. They are often personally invited by hotel brands, leaving other hotels dealing with requests for all-expense-paid vacations in exchange for social media approval, especially on Instagram.
Some hotels are so overwhelmed by such requests that they no longer even read them.
Instagram has has more than 800 million monthly active users often looking for travel inspiration, so influencers are pressing the case that they are marketing destinations to new audiences in an engaging and direct way. Hotels themselves have to rely on their own instinct or spend time researching each request to see whether it is authentic and a fit with their brand. Some of the influencers, who are now more like businesspeople, work directly with hotel marketing staff to maximise their effective engagement with this audience.