This ultra-luxury resort in Thailand is a magnet for Instagram influencers
IN today’s ultra-competitive travel industry, influencer marketing is almost a given – that is, the marketing of a brand’s product or service that rides on an influencer’s following and reach. In many cases, influencers use online channels such as Instagram, YouTube, or blogs to showcase their content.
In the hotels game, more and more hospitality giants and independent hotels are going down the influencer route to market their properties. And in return, the personalities get to post “Insta-worthy” content on their timelines and feeds. Targeted marketing too can be thrown into the deal.
While many hotels are experimenting with this, few master targeted influencer marketing as well as Kata Rocks does. The luxury superyacht resort in Phuket pulls in Instagram’s rich and famous, and has welcomed a slew of glamorous bloggers, celebrities, and models in its nearly two years of operation.
The six-star resort, which reportedly cost US$100 million to build, offers guests the sensation of life on a luxury yacht with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, 270-degree ocean vistas, private infinity pools, and a bed and sunken bath overlooking the Andaman Sea.
The resort has 43 villas, all equipped with fully-fitted kitchens, living rooms and interactive iPad technology. The spa villas come with its own spa treatment room, dual massage beds, and personalized service from spa therapists.
Celebrity DJs and private chefs are an everyday affair at the resort, which also boasts a private jetty for guests arriving on their private yachts.
Unsurprisingly, a night here doesn’t come cheap. A stay in a one-bedroom property can scale up to US$1,000 per night, with four-bedroom villas clocking the US$2,500 mark.
While the resort’s ultra-luxury offerings and “Instagrammable” setting are bait for the social media’s young and affluent, its marketing team is fussy when curating the influencers they collaborate with.
“Kata Rocks receives over 100 inquiries a month from influencers and luxury lifestyle media but we are very selective about who we collaborate with. It must be the right individuals targeting a highly curated demographic in line with the Kata Rocks brand image,” Infinite Luxury director of marketing Michael Nurbatlian told Travel Wire Asia.
“The range of topics can cover anything from spa and wellness, fine dining, craft cocktails, fitness, design or luxury travel. So, we know the right kind of influencers is a very important factor in our marketing.”
One of the personalities who has been invited to the resort is Sonya Davison Sanchez, a leading Singapore-based influencer with a niche in family- and wellness-based luxury travel.
Sisters Vern and Verniece Enciso – who have a high following in travel and fashion – also made the cut as did German influencer Daisy aka The Mandarin Girl. Collectively, they have tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and regularly post lifestyle-driven snapshots set against stunning sunsets and infinity pools.
But with the rapidly shifting social media scene and the risk of hyper-saturation, is there a chance that the scene could implode?
Kata Rocks marketing and events manager Tim Sargeant told Travel Wire Asia influencer marketing is not going anywhere in the near future and added that “this is only the beginning”.
At the moment, nearly 90 percent of “Gen Z” travelers are most influenced by social media when making travel decisions, according to data from Expedia Media Solutions. Instagram and Facebook were found to be the most popular platforms for the group.
A separate survey by UK home insurance company Schofields Insurance said 40.1 percent of millennials see a location’s “Instagrammability” as the most important factor to consider when choosing a holiday destination.
“[The Gen Z group] also has the longest customer lifetime value – it doesn’t look like its slowing down,” Sargeant said.
“We are finding that guests of all age groups research and plan their vacations by following user-generated content with hashtags and geotagging, so it is more important than ever to backlink to your product.”
With today’s baby boomers taking more trips than any other demographic, it’s become increasingly important that hotels understand the role of influencer marketing to carve a target market for what will certainly be an enviable achievement for any brand.