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Guide: How to Use CrowdRiff to Build Your Recovery Plan

What will tourism recovery look like?
This is the burning question on the minds of destinations marketers. Not only is there no easy answer, but there’s also no one-size-fits-all approach: your destination, locals, and visitors are unique. That said, the importance of some things, like rebuilding consumer trust and engaging with partners, all while having fewer resources, can’t be overstated. 
Almost half (43.4%) of American travelers “Agree” or “Strongly agree” that they’ll probably be taking more regional trips while avoiding long-haul trips in the upcoming months, according to a recent Destination Analysts report.
As a destination marketer, how do you do your part to rebuild the economy? 
In this guide, we lay out the key phases of tourism recovery as we see them today, and outline the top three ways you can use CrowdRiff in each phase.

No travel phase

In this first phase, where many destinations are now, locals are staying home. DMOs are focused on building trust, safety, and community. 

Here’s how you can use CrowdRiff:

Remain a credible source of information 

DMOs remain a trusted source of information for future travelers and locals alike. Many of our customers use CrowdRiff to keep their website up-to-date with the latest information and details about what is open, etc.
Visit Duluth is using a gallery as their homepage header to share news updates, local contests, virtual tours, and other social distancing activities. They use a mix of user-generated content and their own visual content to drive visitors deeper into the site or to relevant information.

Support local partners

With local businesses among the hardest hit, DMOs everywhere have stepped up to provide support. 
Use Connect to pull your partner’s posts, Stories, @mentions, and tags into your library. You can then use this content in a CrowdRiff gallery, and when you get rights, on social media, and in your print materials and digital ads.
Or you can tap into the creativity of your community to showcase partners, like Cleveland. They commissioned a local artist to turn parts of the city into coloring book pages, including partners like the Children's Museum of Cleveland, the Cleveland History Center, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. 
Notice how they enrich their gallery visuals with CTAs and Google Locations. While CTAs can drive visitors to take the desired action, like downloading an image, Google Locations help them place the location on a map so they can visit when it’s safe. 

Foster local pride

With more people at home consuming content, DMOs can strengthen their role in the community by bringing people together virtually. Use CrowdRiff to source stories of positivity, resilience, and joy. 
Bruce Grey Simcoe, in Ontario, Canada, put together this gallery highlighting stories of locals doing good. They use CTAs to encourage people to donate to food banks, learn how different businesses are helping the community, and help find restaurants that they can still order from online. 
How to use CrowdRiff in this phase:
  1. Make sure you’re pulling in content from:
    a. Hashtags that locals have adopted 
    b. Your partners’ Business Accounts

Tip: The Instagram hashtag tracker page tells you which hashtags are pulling in the most content, and which ones may no longer be relevant.

  1. Upload your own content into the platform. This is useful if you have branded imagery or graphics to share in a gallery, like Cleveland. 
  2. Pull a combination of earned and owned visuals into a CrowdRiff gallery and embed it onto your website.
  3. Add CTAs and Google Locations to enrich your gallery.
  4. Keep your gallery updated by adding new content as health guidelines change or as businesses start to reopen.
  5. Promote relevant hashtags across your marketing channels so people know how to get featured.

Local travel phase

In this phase, people are starting to explore their neighborhoods and businesses, then venturing out on small day trips, perhaps to local hiking trails. 

Some destinations are entering into the early stages of this phase now or about to. Australia, New Zealand, and some European countries are well along in this stage, for example. Overall, DMOs are looking to rebuild the destination’s local capacity by marketing to locals, engaging partners, and gearing up for the next phase.  
Here’s how you can use CrowdRiff:

Activate local pride to support businesses in the community

As the economy restarts locally, it’s part of your job to let people know. One of the most efficient ways to communicate this is with user-generated content.
Leverage CrowdRiff to find the visuals about what it’s like at your destination in-the-moment, and update the content in your galleries to reflect this. Of course, it’s still important to encourage safe behavior, but also showcase how people are moving through your destination right now. 
Consider a mix of wide-open spaces, people taking day trips, and businesses starting to reopen.
For example, on its takeout page, Louisville hosts specialty menus in a gallery, which they gather through CrowdRiff’s Public Uploader. It’s an active effort to support their partners and drive locals to support businesses at this time. As the situation evolves, they can easily replace curbside delivery options with information about restaurant capacities. 

Market the city to locals

There’s no better way to get your message across than having it come from locals themselves. 
Use CrowdRiff’s Public Uploader to collect content from locals, then leverage it to tell the right story.
Visit Indy’s Share The Love campaign is an effective example of this. They’re encouraging local fans to share the first thing they’ll do when life in Indy returns to normal, helping to “inspire a rejuvenation of our travel industry” and get hospitality workers back in action once it’s safe. 
People can upload their videos via Public Uploader, and Visit Indy curates them in a gallery to reinforce a message of hope.

Build content to prepare for the drive market

The destinations that thrive in the coming weeks will be the ones who are prepared.
Prepare for the drive market by getting rights to your top-performing UGC. If a particular image is doing well, try using it in a digital ad campaign targeting the drive market. 
Think about your drive markets, and what attractions are likely to be open, and what you think visitors' comfort levels will be. This can help you focus your efforts and ensure you're leveraging the right visuals.  
You can also use CrowdRiff’s Media Hub to curate this content and easily share it with journalists and local or regional partners. 
For example, Visit Georgia hosts a wealth of content in their Media Hub, from food and drink photos to their state parks to, most recently, Zoom backgrounds. This makes it easy for them to work with third parties on campaigns or promotions. 
For Public Uploader:
  1. Set up a Public Uploader link and start collecting high-res content OR use it to create a contest.
  2. Promote your public uploader link on your social media channels, website, and newsletter.
For Media Hub:
  1. Configure and customize your Media Hub.
  2. Create an album with the content you want to highlight.
  3. Add the album to your Media Hub. 
For Rights: 
  1. Create a hashtag rights app based on where you will use your visuals.
  2. If you plan on using the same images in more than one place, we recommend using Advanced Rights Management.
  3. Request rights to your favorite images (or the ones that generate the highest engagement). 
  4. Wait for your rights to be approved.
  5. Publish directly to social media through CrowdRiff or use them in a digital ad, in your newsletter, etc. 

Regional travel phase

In this phase, people are taking regional road trips and DMOs are welcoming travelers from other cities again.
Here’s how you can use CrowdRiff:

Market your destination to regional travelers

As travelers seek out full day or longer overnight trips, make sure your destination is one of the first stops on their minds. Tap into the content people are posting on social media about the experiences they’re having. This content is immediate, authentic, and most importantly, gives people a picture of what’s happening at your destination right now.
Take inspiration from North Alabama. They’re making affordable road trip itineraries for the upcoming drive market, using CrowdRiff galleries to showcase unique imagery at each stop. 
Identify key stops people would make along the way, source content from those destinations, and pull it into galleries to influence visitor behavior as North Alabama has done. Sometimes it can be as simple as tweaking the existing visuals on your homepage gallery to let people know you’re welcoming them.

Amplify local/ regional partners 

As more travelers visit your destination, you’ll want to let them know how they can support local businesses and your partners. The best part is, if you already have your workflows in CrowdRiff set up, it’s easy to swap out the visuals, CTAs, and Google Locations in your galleries to keep up with the pace of change.
Louisiana Northshore is already updating the content in their business operations gallery to reflect what’s happening on the ground. As more businesses open, you can include images and CTAs to local tour operators, hospitality partners, and attractions or museums. 

Prepare for interstate and international travel 

As travelers’ confidence builds, it’s essential to prepare for what’s going to be a highly competitive travel market.   
Consider regional partnerships like these Midwestern cities, who put together a virtual vacation using a CrowdRiff gallery. When it’s safe to do so, these DMOs can easily add CTAs driving people to download road trip itineraries or direct them to blog posts to learn more about the area. 
You can also tap into the best content in your region by fostering partnerships with DMOs in your state or region. 
Tips for using CrowdRiff for this phase:
  1. Make sure you have Smart Galleries turned on so people see the most engaging content first.
  2. If you’re using multiple galleries like North Alabama, use gallery templates to easily duplicate the style.
  3. Use hashtag insights to make smart decisions about which hashtags to track. For example, as you prepare for the next phase, you might want to reintroduce hashtags that are explicitly related to travel and booking trips. 
  4. Use Gallery Insights to identify top-performing content to share with partners. 
We hope you’ve found this post helpful. If you’re using CrowdRiff to support your recovery efforts, we’d love to know. Head to our Travel & Tourism Community Hub and tell us what your DMO is doing right now.
Image credit: @lukasz.kusowski

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About the author

Julia Manoukian is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at CrowdRiff. A former journalist, she has helped several Toronto startups raise their thought leadership profiles and scale their content efforts to influence revenue. She's passionate about storytelling, traveling, and tech.

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