When a traveler is in a new place, on vacation, or taking in sights that we all dream about, the best way to hold onto these hold onto these memories can be a photograph. Once a traveler has these, they’re going to show their friends. What’s the easiest (and most popular way) to do so? Social media. By posting these pictures to their social media accounts, travelers have just created user-generated content that can promote your property in more ways than one.
As social media channels continue to grow, more and more users are interacting and viewing what others have to post. After a traveler takes a photo, it’s likely to end up on Instagram, where 80 million photos get published every day. From there, travelers have the option to share the photo via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and so on. In theory, every time a traveler snaps a picture at your property, it could be all over the web before you know it.
But what if a traveler isn’t one of the 400 million people on Instagram; will the photos still be shared? Most likely, yes. Studies show that 72% of consumers post photos on a social network while they’re on vacation, and 76% will post them when they return home. (Because who doesn’t love a #TBT to remember a great vacation.) Although Instagram is the prefered photo sharing app, it doesn’t have to be the only one.
The Traveler’s Impact
User-generated content is one of the most affordable forms of content curation. You can set up your business’ social media accounts for free, create a hashtag for free, and have someone interact with your guests on social media for next to nothing. The benefit definitely outweighs the cost here.
Besides being essentially free, user-generated content provides a sense of authenticity for potential travelers. Sure, your website can showcase your great pool, amazing food that comes from your on-site restaurant, and creatively decorated rooms, but travelers also want to see the experiences others are having, and user-generated content gives them plenty to work with.
How to Benefit
As social media continues to grow into a prominent marketing tool, your business should be taking advantage of the free user-generated content that goes along with it. By having a well-known hashtag at your property, it’ll be easy for guests to see and use it when contributing to social sites. Place the hashtag in places that guests will see multiple times, including: social media accounts, property website, in-room information, etc. The more guests see this, the more likely they are to use it.
While a hashtag is extremely beneficial, it’s also important that the property’s location is tagged on all social media sites. When a potential guest is browsing #travel pictures on Instagram, and clicks on an image a previous guest has taken, it is critical they see where the previous guest was so they know where to book their trip.
With all of the user-generated content hitting the web, many properties have found it beneficial to add a user-generated content gallery to their website. Stock and professional imagery may provide great views and aesthetically pleasing photos, but when you add user-generated content images to the mix, potential travelers feel a sense of authenticity and get a 360° perspective of what your property has to offer. Not to mention, brand engagement rises by 28% when users are exposed to both professional and user-generated content.
The Winner is…
With user-generated content, your business can benefit from the amount of free content that is coming in, while providing a sense of authenticity to travelers. If you would like to increase the amount of user-generated content you’re seeing for your business, don’t be afraid to hold contests on social platforms. It can be as simple as guests uploading a picture, using a hashtag, and tagging your business. This will not only increase engagement, but also increase reach.
With a great sense of authenticity and a far reach to travelers looking for a specific experience, you’re more easily able to drive travelers down the sales funnel, turning them into direct bookings. All for little to no cost.