February 26, 2023
As digital marketing continues to evolve, the power dynamics of content creation have shifted significantly. While professionally crafted content still holds value, there's a new contender that's capturing the attention of marketers worldwide: user-generated content (UGC). This is especially true in the hospitality industry, where authenticity and trust are paramount.
User-generated content — be it a review, a social media post, or a shared video — carries a degree of authenticity that can't be matched by traditional marketing materials. It's the voice of the customer, the narration of real experiences, and the reflection of genuine sentiments. In an era where consumers value transparency and peer reviews, UGC can be the key to capturing attention amidst the noise of digital content.
For hoteliers, this presents a powerful opportunity. UGC not only enhances the credibility of your brand but also fosters engagement, driving a strong connection between your property and potential guests. As these guests see the experiences of others reflected through UGC, it can stimulate their desire to create similar memories, prompting more bookings.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to harness the power of user-generated content effectively, elevating your hotel marketing strategy to new heights.
User-generated content (UGC) refers to any form of content, such as images, videos, text, and reviews, created by consumers or end-users of a service or product, which is publicly available to others. In the hotel industry, this could range from a guest posting a picture of their stay on Instagram, to a well-crafted review on a travel platform like TripAdvisor.
UGC can bring an array of benefits to your hotel marketing strategy. Here are just a few:
Authenticity: UGC provides a real, unfiltered view of your hotel from the perspective of the guest. This authenticity can build trust and influence the decision-making process of potential guests.
Boosts Social Proof: UGC acts as social proof, showing potential guests that others have enjoyed their stays. This can be particularly influential, as people often trust reviews from peers more than traditional advertising.
Enhances SEO: UGC, particularly online reviews, can help improve your hotel's SEO rankings. Search engines regard this type of content as fresh and relevant, improving your visibility online.
Increases Engagement: Featuring UGC on your own digital platforms can increase engagement, creating a sense of community and encouraging others to share their experiences as well.
Now that we've established why UGC is beneficial, let's discuss some strategies for leveraging it effectively:
Encourage Reviews: Actively encourage guests to leave reviews after their stay. This could be in the form of a gentle reminder during checkout, a follow-up email, or incentives for future stays.
Feature UGC on Your Platforms: Whether it's your website, social media channels, or email newsletters, make sure to showcase user-generated content. Just remember to always ask for permission before using a guest's content.
Create a Branded Hashtag: Encourage guests to use a specific branded hashtag when posting about their stay at your hotel. This makes it easier for you and others to find and share these posts.
Run Contests or Campaigns: Encourage user content creation by hosting social media contests or campaigns where guests can share their experiences for a chance to win prizes.
While UGC can be a goldmine for hotel marketing, there are some best practices to consider:
Always Give Credit: When sharing UGC, always give credit to the original creator. Not only is it legally necessary, but it also acknowledges your guests' contribution and can encourage more sharing in the future.
Monitor Content: Keep an eye on what's being said about your hotel on different platforms. This can help you address any negative reviews promptly and capitalize on the positive ones.
Quality Over Quantity: While it's great to have a lot of UGC, always prioritize quality. A handful of high-quality, positive guest reviews or beautiful user-generated photos can be more impactful than a large amount of low-quality content.
Stay Relevant: Ensure the UGC you share is relevant to your brand and your audience. If you're a luxury hotel, for instance, share UGC that highlights your property's luxurious aspects and the exceptional experiences guests have had.
Engage with the Content: Don't just share UGC, engage with it. Respond to reviews, comment on guests' social media posts, and show your appreciation for their shared content. This engagement demonstrates that you value your guests and their experiences, fostering a sense of community and encouraging further UGC.
User-generated content is an untapped resource brimming with potential for hotel marketers. It provides an authentic, relatable, and engaging way to showcase your hotel from the guests' perspective. By encouraging, curating, and effectively leveraging UGC, you can significantly enhance your hotel's online presence, engage with your audience on a deeper level, and ultimately drive more bookings. With these strategies and best practices in hand, you're well-equipped to start incorporating UGC into your hotel marketing strategy.
Get the Newsletter
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest travel and hotel marketing trends.