User-generated content (UGC) is a term used to describe any form of content that is produced by users of a product or service, rather than the company that provides it. So that’s you, sharing images on your Instagram stories, a reel you make on holiday or influencers sharing their take on products. Why? Cause people tend to listen to users of a product or service over the “biased” descriptions from the companies themselves.
In the travel industry, UGC this is commonly seen in forms such as photos, videos, reviews, and social media posts created by travelers, influencers and everyone in between.
The significance of UGC for travel brands cannot be overstated, as it has the potential to establish trust with prospective customers, enhance engagement and brand loyalty, offer genuine and diverse perspectives, and save a huge amount of time and resources on content creation.
In this article will delve into all things UGC, the benefits, tips, best practices for incorporating UGC into your travel brand’s marketing strategy and a little about some of our favourite content creators.
So, let’s get into all things UGC.
So, what are some of the Benefits of User-Generated Content for Travel Brands
To start with, lets get into some of the benefits of UGC for hotels and travel brands.
Build trust with potential customers
When prospective customers come across user-generated content (UGC) from actual individuals who have engaged with and had encounters with your brand, they tend to place more faith in your brand and opt for it over rival.
This is because UGC serves as a form of social proof that can influence the purchasing decisions of potential customers. If someone you look up to raves about something, you naturally place more trust in that something.
By showcasing real-life experiences of satisfied customers, you can establish credibility and build trust with your target audience.
And by having people share your brand on their stories and feeds, you are basically getting a testimonial that organicaly reaches hundreds to tens of thousands of people.
User-generated content (UGC) is an essential element that can significantly enhance your marketing messaging and ads. The utilization of UGC in campaigns has been proven to result in a 29% increase in conversions, as per research conducted by EveryoneSocial. This statistic highlights the importance of incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy.
When potential customers see other individuals interacting with your product or service, it instills a sense of confidence in them. This increased consumer confidence ultimately leads to higher sales figures.
By showcasing real-life experiences and opinions from satisfied customers, you can establish trust and credibility with your target audience. This approach can help differentiate your brand from competitors who may not be utilizing UGC in their marketing efforts.
Increase engagement and brand loyalty
User-generated content (UGC) has the potential to boost engagement on various digital platforms, including social media.
Additionally, it can foster brand loyalty among customers who establish a personal connection with your brand.
By encouraging users to create and share content related to your brand, you can tap into their creativity and enthusiasm, which can lead to increased engagement and a stronger sense of community around your brand.
This, in turn, can help to build trust and credibility with your audience, as they see real people using and enjoying your products or services. Ultimately, UGC can be a powerful tool for building a loyal customer base and driving long-term growth for your business.
Provide authentic and diverse perspectives:
User-generated content (UGC) offers a genuine and varied outlook on your brand, which surpasses the content produced by your marketing team. By allowing your customers to share their experiences with your products or services, you can showcase a more realistic representation of your brand. This type of content is often perceived as more trustworthy and relatable since it comes from real people who have used your offerings rather from you yourselves.
Ontop of this, UGC can help you reach a broader audience and increase engagement. When customers share their content on social media platforms, they expose your brand to their followers, who may not have heard of your business before. This exposure can lead to increased traffic to your website and social media pages, resulting in higher engagement rates.
Maximizing Cost Efficiency in Content Production
Looking to cut down on content production expenses? User Generated Content (UGC) could be the answer you’re looking for. UGC allows you to create top-notch content at a reasonable cost and scale it up as needed.
With this approach, your customers become brand creators, eliminating the need for costly photoshoots or professional photographers. Instead, you can request permission from users to share their content, and you’re good to go. This method is an effective and budget-friendly way to produce content on a large scale.
By incorporating UGC into your content marketing strategy, you can save money while still creating engaging and authentic content that resonates with your audience. So why not give it a try and see how it can benefit your business?
Tips for Incorporating User-Generated Content into Your Marketing Strategy
Establish clear guidelines for submissions
Make sure your guidelines are clear and easy to understand so that users can easily create and submit UGC that meets your brand’s standards.
Use relevant hashtags and social media platforms
Utilize hashtags and social media platforms that are relevant to your brand and your target audience to increase visibility and engagement.
Encourage and incentivize user-generated content creation
Encourage users to create and submit UGC by offering incentives such as discounts, freebies, or recognition on your social media platforms.
Curate and share user-generated content strategically
Select UGC that aligns with your brand’s values and image and share it strategically to increase engagement and build trust with your audience.
Best Practices for Curating and Sharing User-Generated Content
Always credit the original creator:
Make sure to give credit to the original creator of the UGC and ask for their permission before sharing.
Obtain necessary permissions and legal rights:
Ensure that you have the necessary permissions and legal rights to use and share the UGC, especially if you plan to use it in advertising or other commercial activities.
Maintain a consistent brand image:
Select UGC that aligns with your brand’s values and image to maintain a consistent and cohesive brand image.
Monitor and respond to feedback from users
Monitor feedback from users on the UGC you share and respond to comments and questions to foster engagement and build trust with your audience.
Examples of Successful User-Generated Content Campaigns in the Travel Industry
Airbnb’s annual photo contest encourages users to share their best travel photos taken at an Airbnb listing. The winning photos are featured in Airbnb’s marketing materials and social media platforms, providing exposure for the original creators and increasing engagement with the brand.
VisitCalifornia’s “Dream Eater” series features videos of a “professional” traveler who explores California and shares his experiences with his audience. The campaign also encourages users to share their own experiences and travel tips using the hashtag #CaliforniaDreamEater, increasing engagement and building trust with VisitCalifornia’s audience.
Expedia’s Viewfinder campaign features travel bloggers who create content for Expedia’s blog and social media platforms. The campaign also encourages users to share their own travel photos and experiences using the hashtag #ExpediaViewfinder, increasing engagement and building trust with Expedia’s audience.
Four Seasons’ #FourSeasonsPopDown:
Four Seasons’ Pop Down event series features pop-up events in unique and unexpected locations, showcasing the brand’s commitment to luxury and innovation. The events are documented on social media using the hashtag #FourSeasonsPopDown, increasing engagement and building trust with the brand’s audience.
User-generated content is a powerful tool for travel brands looking to increase engagement, build trust, and improve their marketing strategies. By establishing clear guidelines for submissions, using relevant hashtags and social media platforms, encouraging and incentivizing user-generated content creation, and curating and sharing UGC strategically, travel brands can reap the benefits of UGC. By following best practices such as always crediting the original creator, obtaining necessary permissions and legal rights, maintaining a consistent brand image, and monitoring and responding to feedback from users, travel brands can ensure that their UGC efforts are successful.