User-generated content (UGC) has become an essential component of modern marketing, especially in the hospitality and tourism industry. With the rise of social media platforms and review sites, travelers have become more empowered than ever to share their experiences, opinions, and recommendations with the world. This user-generated content can be incredibly valuable for hotels and attractions, as it provides authentic, first-hand accounts of what guests can expect, which can influence potential customers and drive bookings. In this article, we will explore the role of user-generated content in hotel and attraction marketing and examine some relevant case studies.
What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?
User-generated content is content created by customers or users of a product or service, rather than the company or brand itself. This can include reviews, photos, videos, blog posts, and social media posts. UGC is typically created and shared on social media platforms, review sites, and blogs, where it can be easily discovered by potential customers.
The Role of User-Generated Content in Hotel and Attraction Marketing
UGC can play a significant role in hotel and attraction marketing in several ways. Here are some of the most important:
Builds Trust and Credibility
In today’s digital age, people are increasingly skeptical of traditional marketing messages. Instead, they rely on the opinions and recommendations of others, especially people they know or trust. UGC provides potential customers with authentic, unbiased information about hotels and attractions, which can help build trust and credibility. When travelers see positive reviews, photos, and videos from other guests, they are more likely to trust the hotel or attraction and consider booking.
Increases Engagement and Awareness
UGC is inherently more engaging than traditional marketing messages because it comes from real people and reflects their experiences. When hotels and attractions share UGC on their social media channels or website, it can help increase awareness and engagement. People are more likely to share and engage with content that feels authentic and relevant to their interests and needs.
Improves SEO and Search Rankings
UGC can also improve search engine optimization (SEO) and search rankings. Google and other search engines prioritize content that is fresh, relevant, and user-friendly. UGC meets all these criteria and can help improve a hotel or attraction’s online presence and visibility.
Provides Valuable Feedback and Insights
Finally, UGC can provide hotels and attractions with valuable feedback and insights into the guest experience. By monitoring and analyzing UGC, hotels and attractions can identify trends, areas for improvement, and opportunities to enhance the guest experience. This information can help hotels and attractions make data-driven decisions and improve their operations.
Let’s take a closer look at some case studies that illustrate the role of UGC in hotel and attraction marketing.
Marriott Hotels’ #TravelBrilliantly Campaign
The Hotel launched the #TravelBrilliantly campaign in 2013 to encourage guests to share their travel experiences and ideas for improving the guest experience. They used UGC to create a series of ads, social media posts, and blog content that showcased the creativity and innovation of its guests.
The campaign generated over 100,000 social media mentions and helped Marriott Hotels increase its social media engagement and brand awareness. By incorporating UGC into its marketing strategy, Marriott Hotels was able to build trust and credibility with potential customers and demonstrate its commitment to improving the guest experience.
The Broadmoor’s Instagram Strategy
The Broadmoor is a luxury hotel and resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that has embraced UGC as part of its marketing strategy. The Broadmoor encourages guests to share their photos and experiences on Instagram using the hashtag #MyBroadmoor. The hotel then features some of the best UGC on its website, social media channels, and in-room TVs.
By using UGC in this way, The Broadmoor has been able to showcase its property from the perspective of real guests, giving potential visitors an authentic view of what they can expect during their stay. The hotel has seen a significant increase in engagement on social media and website traffic, with UGC being a key driver of this growth.
Disneyland’s “Let the Memories Begin” Campaign
Disneyland’s “Let the Memories Begin” campaign was launched in 2011, and it encouraged guests to share their Disneyland experiences through photos and videos. Disneyland then used this UGC in its advertising and marketing campaigns, showcasing the magical experiences that guests could have at the park.
The campaign was a huge success, generating millions of social media mentions and increasing park attendance by 3%. Disneyland was able to tap into the emotional connection that guests have with the park and use UGC to create a powerful marketing message that resonated with potential visitors.
The Shangri-La Hotel’s #MyShangriLa Contest
The Shangri-La Hotel Group launched a UGC contest called #MyShangriLa in 2016, which encouraged guests to share their Shangri-La experiences through photos and videos. The hotel group used UGC to create a series of ads, social media posts, and website content that showcased the unique experiences that guests could have at their properties.
The contest was a huge success, generating over 10,000 entries and increasing engagement on social media. By incorporating UGC into its marketing strategy, the Shangri-La Hotel Group was able to build trust and credibility with potential customers and demonstrate the quality of its properties and services.
In conclusion, the role of UGC in hotel and attraction marketing cannot be overstated. Whether it’s through guest photos and reviews, social media campaigns, or contests, UGC offers a powerful way for hotels and attractions to connect with potential customers, build trust and credibility, and ultimately drive bookings and revenue. As the industry continues to evolve, it’s essential for hotels and attractions to embrace UGC as part of their marketing strategy and leverage the power of authentic, user-generated content to stand out in a crowded market.