Hotels and restaurants have long relied on inviting people with large social media followings to work with them, but now instead of focusing solely on who has the most likes, Abell told Caterer Middle East that they are looking more towards finding real engagement with so called micro influencers.
He said: “If you have a niche audience — it could be up to 2,000 people only — but they really follow you and they trust in what you say, that can be more powerful than someone with 250,000 [followers].”
It follows on from Marriott’s success with its MoreCravings programme which saw food bloggers testing and reviewing its various restaurants around the UAE and writing articles on their experiences.
Abell said these writers and the various micro influencers that Marriott is working with are proving to be great assets.
“We find we’re getting better results because their stories are more genuine, more real, and people believe those stories. So despite the fact they haven’t got large followings, we’re getting great results with them. I love working with them.”
Abell's enthusiasm to work with influencers is in stark contrast to British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, who recently said he believes they should pay for their own meals.
And for those wishing to become an influencer in a market which may seem oversaturated at the moment, Abell reaffirmed that it’s not about follower count. He said: “In our days anyone can be an influencer. As long as they are passionate about what they write about and they are dedicated to their commitment I think it’s great.”