We know these are challenging and unprecedented times for the travel and tourism industry. The last few weeks have been tough for marketers, with tons of hard-to-answer questions like where do we go from here?
Some of you may not have time to think about anything to do with marketing right now, and that’s okay. Everyone’s situation and recovery plan are unique to their region, which is what makes this time so difficult for us all to navigate.
However, the thing we’ve heard most frequently from our customers is that they’re looking for a few ways to make the most of CrowdRiff at this time—to both help with their current situation, and to prepare for what’s next.
If you’re also looking for ways to use CrowdRiff now, here are some ideas of things you can do right now to support your COVID-19 action plans. We've also made it into a downloadable checklist you can save for later.
Let’s start by looking at some of the things you can do now to keep your brand visible to your locals and future visitors.
Keeping your brand visible
1. Source more user-generated content
Now more than ever, user-generated content can be helpful to:
- Keep your destination, attraction, or experience top of mind to those who are still browsing and continuing to dream up their future travel plans
- Continue to share positive, inspirational UGC photos on social
- Provide you with content that adheres to social distancing guidelines (ie. solo outdoor and in-home activities)
Many travel brands, including YesMilano, are continuing to share beautiful photos with positive captions on Instagram. This is the best way to maintain your social presence without promoting travel to your destination at this time.
Tip: Once you’ve found a photo you love that adheres to your new brand standards, CrowdRiff’s Similar Photo Finder will help you quickly find more just like it. Click the ‘View similar’ button after you find your first image.
2. Create and promote unique hashtags to encourage people to share positive travel memories.
A popular response to the new travel restrictions amongst travel brands is to create new hashtags; more posts tagged with hashtags like #StayHomeTogether or #DreamNowVisitLater are appearing every day.
To get your audience involved, why not encourage them to post with the hashtags as well?
Take some inspiration from ShoreTrips, a tour operator. They’re encouraging people to share their travel photos with the hashtag #WhyWeLoveTravel, and have added a gallery with those photos to their homepage. They’re preserving the positive sentiment of travel, engaging with their community, and generating UGC at the same time.
Tip: Set these new hashtags up in your tracker so you can monitor and interact with the content as it comes into your CrowdRiff library.
3. Support partners by showcasing their experiences
If you’re a DMO, your local partners will be looking to you for support throughout the crisis and its recovery. You can do this by featuring them on social media, or updating your partner pages with galleries that feature photos from each partner. To do so, make sure you’re tracking partner content and business accounts in CrowdRiff.
Visit Stockton, CA, added a Linktree link in their Instagram bio, which takes people to a page showcasing restaurants that are offering take-out and delivery. There is also an accompanying dining guide on their website to further showcase local restaurant delivery and pick-up options.
Tip: You can also use CrowdRiff’s Connect feature, which when authorized by your partners, brings any photos or videos they were @mentioned into your own library. This includes their Instagram Stories as well! Just send partners your Connect link, and explain that you want to share their content on your own channels.
4. Run photo contests
Contests and challenges are great ways to engage your community and generate more content. This would be a good time to ask people to share wellness-focused photos, in-home activities, or outdoor content.
As a bonus, you could give away gift cards to local businesses as a prize in an effort to help support those in your community.
We love this example from The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. They’re doing a “Stay Home Challenge,” where they’ve asked people to recreate their favorite painting with items they have around the house.
We love this Stay At Home Challenge! Our friends @tussenkunstenquarantaine ('between art and quarantine') came up with a great idea:⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🥇 Choose your favourite painting.⠀⠀ 🥈 Find three things lying around your house. ⠀⠀ 🥉 Recreate the painting with those attributes.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ We cannot wait to see what you come up with! 🤩 Looking for inspiration? Our collection is available on our website! ✨⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ #Rijksviews #Rijksmuseum #Amsterdam #StayHomeChallenge
Collect entries through a hashtag: either a dedicated one specific to the contest or with your official hashtag, and make sure you’re tracking it in CrowdRiff.
Tip: Use CrowdRiff’s Public Uploader to help make your photo contests even easier to run. Public Uploader lets your community upload photos and videos directly to your CrowdRiff library using a shared link.
No matter how you choose to run your contest, make sure you promote it on your website, newsletter, and social channels to increase participation.
5. Supplement COVID-19 content with visuals
If you have a dedicated page on your website for COVID-19, include some visuals to support your message. This could be UGC of activities locals can do while social distancing, or visuals that your partners are posting.
However, make sure your visual content complies with your region's latest health advisory guidelines.
For Example, Visit Augusta’s blog on social distancing includes ideas like dog-friendly parks and take-out restaurants that are accompanied by UGC photos.
Now, here are ways that CrowdRiff can help as you plan for the future, and the inevitable recovery of tourism.
1. Prepare your future campaigns
While it’s hard to say when the resurgence in travel will happen, we know that it is inevitable, and that now is a good time to prepare.
As you’re thinking about what campaigns you will run, consider the following:
- What kinds of questions will people have about your destination? What resources can you make available for these FAQs?
- Should you re-evaluate the campaigns you already had planned for the spring, summer, and beyond? Will the topics and content be appropriate? Campaign topics around local tourism like domestic tourism, road trips, or local experiences would be a good place to start, for example.
- How can you make sure your campaigns will feel like a natural transition from this state? Perhaps you could create and promote hashtags for the various stages of recovery, when it is safe to do so.
For example, Christchurch, NZ’s #exploreyourplace campaign is a call to action campaign urging locals to foster local pride and explore their own backyard experiences. Once you’re ready to start encouraging exploration in your region, this would be a great initiative to run.
Once you’ve established the campaigns and themes you will be using, you can start to proactively source content now, and UGC is a great place to start.
Tip: Search CrowdRiff for visuals you already have, and send out rights requests so your visuals are ready to go when you need them.
2. Plan future website improvements
If you have some extra time on your hands, now is a good time to consider what website updates you could make, or visuals you could add.
Start with a visual audit of your website. What high-traffic pages could you add photo galleries to? Are there any visuals that are stale and need to be refreshed? Now is a good time to start creating collections and galleries in your CrowdRiff library that you can use when the time is right.
Tip: While you’re thinking about website updates, you can start to create and add CTAs to your galleries. Through CrowdRiff, you can add CTAs to every photo or video in the galleries on your website. They can be custom branded to match your website, and link to whatever page you want.
Think about where you want to send people — to another page on your website, or maybe to a partner’s site. If you’re looking for ways to use CTAs, here are a couple of ideas:
- Add CTAs on your homepage gallery to redirect visitors to your COVID-19 landing page
- Redirect visitors to a dining or restaurant page where they can see up-to-date operating hours for those businesses
- Add a CTA that links to your blog or social media pages so visitors can subscribe or follow you for more frequent updates
We’re working towards the future together
We hope this was helpful in giving you ideas of how CrowdRiff can help with your efforts both now, and as you plan for recovery.
Of course, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if there’s anything we can do or help you with.
We’re with you every step of the way, whether you’re a CrowdRiff customer or a member of the travel community at large. We’re all in this together.