Who is Nick Slavin?
Nick Slavin is Cofounder and President of Curacity, a data analytics and monetization platform designed to drive direct bookings to hotels using creators. Prior to Curacity, he worked at Starwood Capital’s portfolio management team and Wells Fargo Securities. Nick has a bachelor of arts degree in history from Princeton University. He lives in New York City, NY.
Before Curacity, Nick Slavin first worked at Wells Fargo Securities before moving to Starwood Capital Group, an investment firm focused on real estate and the hospitality industry. It was at Starwood Capital that his interest in hotels grew. In 2015, Nick co-founded Curacity with Mike Keriakos after noting hotels couldn’t scale creator marketing efforts without clarity on the return on investment (ROI).
“The right data sources and the right technology to use those data sources is key. My co-founder is a digital media and data expert. So with my hotel experience and his data experience, we founded Curacity with the insight that there really needed to be a more efficient dynamic for hotels to connect with creators and the amazing content produced today.”
How Curacity Works
Curacity is an end-to-end data analytics and monetization platform designed to drive direct bookings to hotels.
“Creators have always worked with hotels. We just used to call them something else. We understand the intense effort it can take to provide any sort of quantitative results that prove the success of marketing initiatives. So we created a data-backed solution to meet this challenge. We’ve soft launched with 10,000 creators and nearly a hundred hotels.”
Nick worked with the Instagram and Facebook engineering and data science teams when building Curacity.
“We know definitively whether one piece of content generates any more or less revenue than another piece of content. No more saying, ‘I think the pool photo is going to perform really well’. No more saying, ‘I think the photo that has the glass of champagne in it won’t perform well’. We can tell you definitively which one is best for your revenue.”
The platform works with different types of creators.
“We work with aggregator creator publishers like Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure. And then we also work with social media influencers; people that create content on platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok. The product we built enables hotels to leverage the creative content produced across the Condé Nast Travelers of the world and the social media influencers of the world to drive direct bookings for their properties.”
Curacity can link bookings back to an engagement with a specific piece of content.
“Let’s say you follow me on Instagram and I am an influencer on the Curacity platform. I stay at one of our hotels, create content about my stay and post that to my Instagram account. If you then viewed that content, engaged with it and at some point decided to book a room at the hotel I wrote about, Curacity’s data and technology would be able to track the booking you made back to your engagement with my content.”
Connecting Hotels and Creators
Nick believes there aren’t any analytic tools out there that enable hotel brands to work effectively with creator content marketing, something that Curacity is built to do.
“If hotels can prove ROI from a specific piece of content, they can invest properly in various content channels. So that’s exactly what we provide. We provide the data analytics necessary to provide the ROI from content. We’ve built a marketplace that enables creators to find hotels and for hotels to find creators.”
Creators on Curacity exchange content for hotel stays.
“Hotels operate around 80% occupancy on average which means that 20% of rooms go unsold on a nightly basis. That’s massive inventory that they can use for really excellent marketing. And they can only use those rooms for excellent marketing channels if they can prove any sort of return. So that’s what our platform does. It enables hotels to use their unsold inventory for the purposes of influencer marketing to create great content and drive revenue.”
The platform makes it easier for influencers to find hotels they can stay in and promote.
“A typical creator story we hear is ‘Thank God you guys came onto the scene because previously, if I were to make travel plans, I would have to email 20 hotels, hope for five responses, and then negotiate content for a stay across those five responses. It would take me hours to do that. Your platform enables me to do this so much more efficiently’. It’s an efficiency play for the influencer. We get them immediate access to the world’s best hotels.”
Influencers are vetted before they are accepted on the platform.
“We will source and vet our creators before they come onto the platform. There are certain attributes our creators have to have like minimum follower counts and engagement metrics. When they’re invited onto the platform, they’re further vetted to only stay in certain hotels we have available based upon some underlying audience demographics. They then book their dates, stay on premise and post a piece of content. Our data secret sauce happens after the fact in the background.”
Case Study: Malibu Beach Inn
Curacity leverages data and technology to move away from the traditional agency model where hotels picked just one, two or three creators to stay with them each month.
“So instead of putting one or two influencers into your hotels in any given month, we want to put 20, 30, 40 or 50 through all of the empty rooms that you have available.”
Nick highlights Malibu Beach Inn as an example of the benefits hotels can extract from the platform.
“We’ve been working with Malibu Beach Inn since we started this platform a couple of years ago. We’ve placed over 50 influencers through their rooms and proven we can generate a 10 to one return on what we call a cost per occupied room. And we’ve been able to build enough content for them for these efforts that they now have a really robust library to choose from for their own social media feeds. They provide creators with unused rooms and we provide them with authentic creator content and quantifiable revenue. It’s really a perfect win-win.”
Advice for Travel Brands
Nick sees the lack of quantifiable performance metrics as one of the main mistakes hotel brands make when working with travel and lifestyle influencers.
“They get content created but then they don’t know how to gauge success. There’s no quantifiable metric that they look at to determine whether that was a successful use of their capital and time. That’s kind of the problem that we’re looking to solve here. We’re continuing to provide our hotels with the 10 to one return on that cost per occupied room. So when looking at specific metrics, we really look to maintain that 10 to one across all of our hotels. And ultimately, I’d like our platform to become the one-stop shop for creators, not just hotels.“
He has some advice for travel brands.
“Make sure you know what works, make sure you have analytical tools that enable you to choose the right folks to work with.”
Thoughts on the Future
Nick expects all verticals to begin to use creator marketing and with that, a rapid increase on the number of people that want to become creators
“We’re starting to see the rise of the solopreneur. And this trend is only going to accelerate as companies like Patreon. So with the rising creators and with the rise in usage of creator marketing, I think it’s going to become ever more important for companies to focus on what actually works. Being able to separate signal from noise. Being able to provide proper attribution becomes critical.”
He plans to invest in Curacity’s growth in 2022.
“We’re adding roles in engineering, design and sales. And we’re eyeing products that will expand a creator’s ability to exchange all sorts of content and not just a static post for hotel rooms. What we’re kind of calling our content marketplace. And a lot of that stuff is going to be built on Web3 technologies, which we’re really excited about.” You can find Curacity on Facebook and Instagram.