What should hotels do in a context where digital marketing is getting saturated? Our answer is to leverage the power of your community and the content they create and share, also known as UGC.
UGC stands for User Generated Content. It can be images or videos but also reviews and comments. In other words, anything representing your business from the point of view of your customers.
Over the past 10 years, UGC has become more and more important for marketing as customers have started to pay less attention to corporate looking messages.
A recent Salesforce study found that 92% of customers trust content from relatives and friends more than content created by brands, and 53% of Millennials say UGC influences decisions on their purchases.
As such, it's clear that customers believe in UGC, and hotels have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of it due to the huge number of guests staying each year.
Tim Peter, a hotel marketing expert, has created a simple formula to calculate how much UGC your hotel can utilize each year as well as its potential impact.
For example, if your hotel has 100 rooms, with an average occupancy rate of 60% and 1.4 guests per room, you will have more than 30,000 UGC per year (100 x 60% x 1.4 x 365 = 30,660) assuming each guest takes at least one picture during its stay.
Combined with the Pew Research Center research which shows that each person has an average of 200 Facebook friends, it implies your hotel could reach more than 6 million people every year, at a very low cost, by taking advantage of UGC.
Nowadays, UGC is more important than ever. Facebook and Instagram regularly change the algorithm on their News Feed to prioritize the display of user-generated content which generates a lot of engagement from users rather than traditional content of brands.
Taking advantage of UGC is, therefore, an effective way to help your hotel increase its visibility and engagement on Facebook and Instagram
In fact, this won’t be the most difficult part since according to researches, 76% of travelers already post their travel pictures on social networks spontaneously.
Some ways you can use to boost this content sharing is to organize photo contests, create hashtags about the hotel, display QR code at reception linked to your Instagram account, or invite your customers to write reviews on TripAdvisor at the check-out.
As an example, the 57 Hotel in Sydney, Australia has been very successful in encouraging guests to share selfies in their hotel rooms on Instagram. They did that by writing a greeting (personalized) on the mirror in each room with 2 hashtags # 57selfie and # 57hotel. It is the personalization of the message and the unique greeting that encourages customers to share.
When customers share their selfies on their Instagram accounts, it means sharing with their followers that the 57 Hotel is a great place to stay. . .
The 57 Hotel hotel takes advantage of the power of UGC in the hotel industry
Taking advantage of UGC is a great way to increase your social reach. However, you can improve the effectiveness of UGC even more if you integrate it on your hotel website.
UGC will help to increase the social proof and credibility of your hotel, the time spent and engagement by users on your website, and this will result in better brand recognition, more bookings, and a better SEO to rank on Google.
According to a Salesforce study, visitors to websites with UGC spend 90% more time on websites than on websites without UGC. This is very important because the longer users spend time on your website, the more likely they are to convert into customers.
Even better, what if you could integrate UGC photo galleries with not only pictures from your customers during their stay but also pictures of the experiences they had around your hotel during their trips like restaurants and activities.
This can truly boost your conversion rate since it is a crucial factor when deciding to book a room. Discover our UGC search engine that will help you to find and integrate the best UGC around the world.
Loews Hotels has done it very well with the #TravelForReal campaign. They encourage guests to share photos during their stay at the hotel with the hashtag #TravelForReal. The best photos will be shared on the hotel's website and social media accounts. Each picture will have the text “Everyone needs __________”. Blank space will be added to match each photo to encourage guests to share their experience at the hotel.
The above article describes how to leverage UGC in the hotel industry. As you can see, encouraging customers to share content is not the most difficult part. The fact that you have too much of it might actually be the problem since sorting all this content will be too time-consuming. In some cases, you must also deal with content rights and find smart ways to get permissions from users. All these challenges are the reason why we developed Hatlas Vision UGC Search Engine which will help you to solve these problems. Learn more about it here
And of course, let us not forget that the content shared by users must first of all be positive! For this, there is no other choice but to provide them with a great experience during their stay: friendly and attentive staff, clean and comfortable rooms… but also a good first impression and a quick check-in process for guests who would like to relax after a long flight!
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