We have all heard of travel professionals being comped a vacation in an effort to encourage more referrals, but there is a new way in which many resorts are identifying influencers—Instagram.
As a lifestyle blogger, 28-year-old Marianne Hewitt has an impressive 396,000 followers on Instagram. Not only that, Fortune reports that her follower engagement rate is high. It is for this reason, combined with her ability to take editorial-like images, that Marianne has been comped about 12 free luxury vacations from around the world in the last year.
Marianne is not the only individual who resorts court for free vacations, but one of many in an effort to reach a larger customer base.
While most hotels and resorts will not require specific photos to be taken, they will usually request at least one image per day. Naturally, hotels sincerely want their comped guest to share their experience through their own eyes, but they will often provide additional amenities to make a flattering shot easier to achieve—such as flowers in the room, champagne, and artfully placed food.
While the FTC has created “Dot Com Disclosure” guidelines for social media personalities who receive free gifts or payments from companies—how this is to be enforced is not clearly spelled out. Some simply add a sponsored hashtag such as “#spon” to cover their bases.