Why Hotels Should Prioritize User-Generated Content (UGC)
Posted at Jul 10, 2018 1:24:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share
A recent ComScore study found that brand engagement increases nearly 30 percent when customers are exposed to user-generated content (UGC). In our ultra-connected world, your next customer is relying on other social media users to help them decide where to go and what to see. It's a fact you can't ignore, and given that the vast majority of people post on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms while they're traveling, ensuring guests highlight your property and offerings could mean a serious payoff for you.
You're probably already familiar with user-generated content, either in your own life or as part of your hospitality marketing strategy. UGC is any content your guests create and share about your hotel. It could be a blog post or a review. It could be the video they take of the kids in the pool. It could even be simpler than that, though, like a Facebook status update telling their friends that they've check into your hotel for the next three nights.
UGC is essentially word of mouth marketing - with a 21st century twist. It remains as critical as ever as you strive towards your business-building goals.
There are many reasons to prioritize this type of content. It's incredibly powerful. One study found 97% of millennials post while they travel. Another found that just under half of travelers use the experiences of others to book their own travel experiences.
The theory behind that is that consumers trust recommendations from peers far more than expensive hotel pictures, brochures, and other forms of advertising - at least until they build that relationship. UGC can also help them picture themselves at your hotel, right where their friends are while posting.
Beyond the fact that your customers care about peer reviews, there several benefits to this type of content. On the whole, it costs you nothing. You're probably already providing that fruit infused water in the booking area for your guests on a warm summer day, for example. The fact that someone posted about it is a bonus for you.
It's also a good way to understand what your guests are really seeing. If you get a negative review, it may seem like the damage to your brand can never be undone, but that's just not the case. Instead, offer that negative reviewer a response and a solution. It makes you look good, and you understand how to improve user experience for an upcoming stay.
UGC can accomplish one more massive goal for your hotel - improve your web traffic numbers. If people are engaging with your site, Google will notice, and they're going to boost your position in the search engine results.
Convinced? You should be. But how do you actually make it happen as part of your hospitality marketing strategy? There are several steps you can take, and it starts by encouraging your guests to share. Maybe you build in photo opportunities or have a SnapChat filter designed just for your hotel. Create a hashtag to help you track those postings. Integrate it through the customer journey by offering opportunities at every turn.
Social media contests also tend to work well. The waffle brand Eggo hosted a contest where entrants submitted their favorite recipe using the brand and others voted. Thousands engaged. Your contest doesn't have to be extensive, but including a prize users might value can be the key. Perhaps they can post photos of their recent time in your new restaurant to get a free meal the next time they're in the area.
Don't forget to encourage your guests to review your location. Whether they do it through a site like TripAdvisor or you dedicate a page to uncensored customer reviews, you want people to leave you reviews early and often. Post some of that UGC around the hotel. A digital monitor that scrolls Facebook posts about your hotel in the breakfast area is a great way to encourage others to engage.
Don't forget about the power of today's micro influencers. While you may not have heard of some social media personalities, they often have fan bases of millions, and encouraging them to stay at your property could do great things for your brand.
Finally, monitor everything. If you're looking for real impact when it comes to UGC, you want to track your progress. Integrate user generated content into your hospitality marketing strategy. You’ll reap the rewards.