How Best Western Created a Creator Program to Hire Travel Influencers

  • Best Western is committed to building long-term business relationships with reputable travel agencies.
  • Its creator program currently has over 200 active clients.
  • Marissa Daniela, one of the two employees running it, explains how she tries out influencers and finds the right ones.

Tourism influencers have become a key way in which some hotels can market themselves around the world in a cost-effective way.

And some chains, like Best Western, have even started creating official creator programs to help foster those relationships.

Marissa Daniela is a brand manager at Best Western, one of two employees hired in 2021 specifically to help formalize the company’s influencer engagement process. Daniela told Insider that hotels like Best Western are no longer interested in doing deals with anyone with influence but thinking more strategically about the types of travel creators that are in good alignment with them.

“Before, it was important who was influential, we gave you free hotels for content,” said Daniela. “Now it’s more thoughtful of what kind of influencers we need who can cover the 18 Best Western brands. We need influencers who can tell stories.”

Daniela said she sees Marriott and InterContinental Hotels Group as her company’s biggest competitors in terms of influence. But while many networks do some deals with influencers through their marketing teams or third-party agencies, the push to build a dedicated in-house

influencer marketing

team – as Best Western does – is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Daniela was hired specifically to establish a more direct relationship between the hotel and the person.

“When I was brought in, I wanted the brand to be much more down-to-earth with content and become a creator itself to engage with potential customers,” she said.

Daniela told Insider how the Best Western Creator Program works and how the team chooses who she wants to work with.

Instagram screenshot from @part.time.tourists

@part.time.tourists / Instagram

How Best Western Finds and Hires Travel Influencers

While the company still receives a large number of offers from travel influencers, about half of the time Daniela uses a third-party customer relationship management system to conduct research and reach out to different personalities.

Specifically, Best Western is looking for travel creators…

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