Startup pitch: Swayy wants to help hotels manage influencers

Swayy wants to take the pain out of running influencer marketing campaigns, especially for independent hotels.

The startup says influencers are now part of the marketing mix, or should be, but that for many hotels it’s hard to know where to start and who to work with.

Here’s a clip:

What problem does your business solve?

Swayy removes all the hassle involved with running scalable influencer marketing campaigns within the hospitality industry.

The closed loop process solves the following problems:

  • Finding relevant, pre-vetted, professional influencers
  • Evaluating influencers efficiently from one dashboard which include unique leisure specific metrics relevant to hospitality businesses
  • Booking influencers in at times when rooms are available, without needing to liaise with multiple stakeholders (reception, GM, revenue management etc.)
  • Controlling what influencers focus on, who they come with, and what aspects of the property are promoted by the influencer
  • Ensuring they deliver what they said they would deliver, with our Airbnb/Uber style evaluation system

It takes approximately seven minutes to complete the advert. It takes less than a minute to evaluate an influencer. It takes less than 30 seconds to approve an influencer’s work, and rate them, just like Uber or Airbnb.

Names of founders, their management roles, and number of full-time staff?

Founder & CEO– David Gabriele

Team size: 14

Funding arrangements?

SEIS funding from the head of media investing at one of the world’s largest institutional investors.

Revenue model?

Swayy is a monthly subscription service to access our pre-vetted influencers and use the campaign management tool.

Commission is taken from all paid collaborations. No commission is charged on unpaid collaborations.

Advertising revenue from suppliers looking to sell to the users of our system (hotels, restaurants, marketing and PR agencies and influencers).

Why do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?

The travel industry cannot ignore influencers.

Marriott recently said:

“Influencer Marketing is here to stay, and it should play a central role in your strategy to win the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers”.

However, running influencer campaigns manually is a big headache. Hotels will be inundated with “wanna collab” emails, and will then have to invest valuable time and resources trying to evaluate all these so-called “influencers”.

They have no tangible metrics, no quality assurance, and will have to dig around the internet going to multiple sources. There is no guarantee that they will turn up and deliver what they promised, and there is no control over what content they post or when they post it.

If they have the budget, hotels will then farm this out to their PR/marketing agency, but then they have the same issue. However independent hotels do not have those budgets.

Swayy takes away all this hassle and frustration saving resource and costs, no matter if it is a small independent hotel or a large chain.

Swayy’s platform and process is simple and transparent, which enables those properties with smaller budgets, and teams to run influencer campaigns effortlessly with large numbers of influencers.

By the same token, larger hotel chains or agencies with multiple clients can run multiple influencer campaigns for multiple properties, simultaneously.

Many hotels, resorts and even agencies, will shy away from this essential marketing avenue, purely because of the time and energy needed to execute just one collaboration, let alone several.

Swayy has given back control to the hotels and agencies, and have dramatically reduced the time and effort needed to take advantage of digital word of mouth.

External validation?

Before building Swayy, the team had initial interest in the concept from more than 400 hotels and restaurants around the world that started following us on social media.

We also met with, and had advice and support from both independent and chain hotels, including the largest hotel group in the world.

Interest and investment from industry experts, including an experienced media technology investor, and mentoring from a hotel owner also helped lay the foundations for a scalable business tailored to the needs of venues and their marketing/PR agencies.

In only a matter of months since launching dozens of hotels and agencies in the UK, US and Europe signed up.

Swayy’s founder, David Gabriele is regularly invited to talk at industry conferences including The Annual Hotel Conference, the largest hotel conference in the UK.

tnooz view:

While there’s nothing wrong with this as an idea, the bigger question is whether it’s actually a business.

There are indeed a growing number of so-called influencers out there but if you listen to many of them, at trade shows etc, they tell you a lot of figuring out who to work with is common sense.

For example, target audience, sudden spikes in traffic, consistency of articles etc…

But, perhaps Swayy takes all the guesswork (and legwork) out by providing that already vetted approach.

Many established influencers admit there are scams out there – the Mediakix experiment of creating fake Instagram accounts and buying followers has been told and retold.

It will be interesting to see how this startup evolves and whether it becomes a platform for hotels to run campaigns from or a handy resource to check out the influencer space.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda Fox is managing editor for Tnooz. For the past decade years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.

In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.

Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.

 

Comments

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  1. Chris

    I’m sorry but Swayy has no clue about influencer marketing when it talks about “Controlling what influencers focus on, who they come with, and what aspects of the property are promoted by the influencer” This is not authentic influencer marketing that allows influencers to speak to their fans in the method they know. This is ham fisted approach that alienates their fans and doesn’t equal real ROI.

     
    • Steve Cox

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your message, however I think you’ve misunderstood what we’re doing here. We are taking all the hassle away for both Influencers and hotels who are looking to work with each other.

      All influencers want to work with brands they are aligned with, and to do so in an simple, easy manner where they know they will be paid. Removing all the backwards and forwards and having our Airbnb style review process helps maintain transparency for both sides.

      Influencers can speak to their “fans” in whatever way they wish to, this is not “ham fisted” at all.
      This is a partnership, both sides have the ability to choose whether or not they want to work with each other, what the terms of collaboration are, and the Influencer will ultimately “speak to their fans in the method they know” (as you rightly mention), to ensure it is authentic (including with the appropriate disclosures).

      Perhaps you’d like to send me a message, and I’ll be happy to show you it is win-win “authentic influencer marketing” for both sides.

      All the best,

      Steve

       
 
 

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