What is user-generated content?
User-generated content (UGC) refers to all content created by Internet users free of charge which is for community or exchange purposes. Represented by pictures, videos, reviews or stories, these contents are published on different platforms such as websites, blogs, online reviews websites, and most importantly social media.
Moreover, this marketing strategy allows to you to promote your property for free, to transform your social media platforms into sources of information, to generate more interactions around your brand and to strengthen the trust and sense of belonging of your most loyal guests.
A source of inspiration for travelers
It has been proven that content generated by your users helps around 59% of travelers to plan their future stay, especially during their travel research. Additionally, user-generated content can be a true source of information, inspiration and even a way to evaluate alternative options for travelers. Thus, almost 53% of Millennials claim that this type of content strongly influences their final purchase decisions. Similar to a digital word-of-mouth effect, user-generated content allows you to promote your property and its various services while encouraging travelers to confirm their booking at your hotel.
Content which generates interaction between travelers
In practical terms, user-generated content reflects your guests’ experience, whether it’s the room they stayed in, the food they ate at your restaurant, or the activities they did.
Therefore, this authentic content inspires travelers, creates interactions between them, reinforces their trust for your hotel and encourages them to book their stay in order to enjoy the experience offered by your hotel. Also, UGC generates 6 times more interactions than a simple promotional content created by the property itself and also improves your online ranking, i.e. your SEO.
For a hotel, it’s not complicated to convince users to generate content as 76% of them already publish pictures of their stay on their social media. Nonetheless, you should first obtain their consent before using their content on your own social media platforms.
In order to create a buzz around your hotel and generate more interactions, you can also organize contests on your social platforms and create hashtags that your guests can use to identify your property on their own social media.
A strategy to build trust and customer loyalty
When your guests stay at your hotel and generate content, they are showcasing the relationship they have with your property and sharing their experience with their own audience. While this helps to generate a lot of interaction around the property, it also reinforces travelers’ trust in your establishment. Indeed, it has been proven that 92% of them prefer to trust the content published by their friends, family or acquaintances rather than the promotional content of a brand.
Influential clients to pamper
If you can find guests which share a lot of content of your hotel on various social media platforms, it could be interesting for you to reward them so that they continue to produce free content for you. With the help of your PMS (property management software), identify these guests so that you recognize them on their next stay. An easy way to do so is to label them as VIP with an additional “influencer” label for example. On their next stay, these labelled guests may receive special treatment upon arrival, such as being offered a superior room by your staff or some other small kindnesses during their stay. They can share these special attentions and allow future guests take a peek into the great experience your property offers.
User-generated content (UGC) is an advantageous marketing strategy for properties wishing to promote themselves at a low cost.
This strategy allows you to highlight your guests’ experience, but keep in mind to check that their content does not have a negative impact on your hotel’s reputation. Indeed, as this content is a direct reflection of your property, it must be of high quality and appropriate.
In order to encourage your guests to generate more content, you can redesign some areas of your property. Do not hesitate to promote your social media platforms and your hashtags so that your guests can easily identify you. More importantly, try to promote the clientele who is actually promoting your property. Finally, it’s important to use UGC in a legal and ethical manner, by asking for consent and giving credit to the content’s owner.