Thanks to the ever-growing popularity of social media, your guests are creating and sharing visual content during their time at your resort or hotel. These photos and videos that show how much they’re enjoying their stay are referred to as user-generated content (UGC), and many travel and tourism brands are using these visuals in their marketing activities.
User-Generated Content (UGC) can do wonders for your property.
92% of consumers trust word of mouth more than any kind of advertising. UGC gives you access to authentic content to make your ads, social media, and website more impactful to potential guests.
UGC is a great tool to help you visually represent the diversity of guests and variety of activities and experiences you offer. It’s also an efficient way to populate and refresh your website visuals so it doesn’t feel stale to returning visitors.
UGC can really be a game changer for your resort. But where does it come from, and how can you increase the flow of content?
Your guests are already posting photos of their experience at your resort. Whether they’re relaxing at the pool, watching the sunset, or having fun on an excursion, this content is what fuels a great library of UGC.
So, how do you keep the good stuff coming, especially during low season?
Luckily, there are several ways to encourage guests to post more content from your resort to help with your quest for more content.
Here are 5 ways you can foster more UGC at your resort or hotel, to get your guests posting about their experience more, and arm you with an even bigger selection of UGC.
1| Promote your social media handle and hashtag
This step is a basic best practice for resorts looking to make UGC a key part of their marketing strategy. It’s the easiest way to find, track, and get rights to, all the photos that your guests are posting.
On top of encouraging guests to share photos on social, remind them to use your hashtag and tag your account in their post.
The more often your audience sees your branded hashtag in action, the more likely they are to use it for their own photos – which will expand your reach and give you access to a wider variety of UGC.
Make your social tags known to your guests to help build both your UGC library and online community. Here are a few key places to use and promote your handle and hashtag:
1| Your own social posts. Lead by example by using them in your captions, comments, and even sponsored ads.
2| Your website. Especially if you’re posting UGC pictures on your website, let guests know how to get their photos discovered and featured.
3| On all of your marketing assets. Brochures, emails, and ads are all fair game for hashtag promotion. Making your guests familiar with your online brand and community before they even show up will have them photo ready when they arrive.
Download our latest eBook for a complete guide to UGC for resorts and hotels!
2| Put up digital photo displays, anywhere and everywhere
Digital displays provide an idea of what other guests are currently experiencing. This gives new guests ideas for what to do for fun or relaxation, and inspires them to imagine themselves in those same scenarios.
More importantly, photo walls also remind your guests to take more photos of their trip, and to post their content using your hashtag on social media for a chance to be featured.
Place these digital displays at your reception and activity desks, in lobby areas, elevators, restaurants, and more! Repetition is key to get guests posting more actively.
3| Run a photo contest
Social media photo contests are a fun way to engage with your audience and build a stronger community around your brand. By encouraging guests to share more visuals with your hashtag, hosting a photo contest helps generate a huge amount of UGC that can be used in your marketing.
Throughout the contest, you’ll also extend your brand’s reach to include participants’ audience and followers. Your contest can be purely photo-based or, if you’re hoping to surface more video content of your resort or hotel, try launching a contest solely for UGC videos instead.
Read our actionable guide to running a social media contest for a step-by-step walkthrough, and tips from successful tourism brands.
4| Promote local photo hot spots by creating a photo trail
A fantastic stay at your hotel or resort plays a major role in your guests’ overall travel experience – but it’s not the only aspect. A memorable vacation is also about the sites, attractions, and activities your guests enjoy while they’re in town. This is why so many hotels and resorts choose to promote their local tourism partners and the area around their property.
By leveraging UGC to do this, your guests can see what other visitors are actually doing when they visit your destination. You can inspire them with visuals to explore the local area and uncover hidden gems.
Collect UGC photos from local attractions by creating a UGC photo trail for guests to follow.
A photo what? A photo trail is a defined path that points visitors to the most photogenic spots in and around a destination.
Highlight the most social-friendly sites and local attractions by creating a photo map for guests to follow. You can incorporate UGC content on the map itself, and encourage guests to post their own photos with your hashtag when they visit these locations. This is also a great topic to create a photo contest around.
Guests looking for the perfect spot to snap Insta photos will love that you’ve already done the work for them, and you’ll definitely want to make use of their photos after the fact!
5| Connect with influencers and host “FAM” trips at your property
Inviting influencers to stay at your property and post about their experience can be a huge endorsement for your hotel or resort. Not only does partnering with influencers allow you to expand your reach significantly, but it results in a ton of quality content creation for promoting your brand.
To make the most of your partnership with influencers, organize a “familiarization” (FAM) trip for influencers with followers you want to reach.
How to organize a FAM trip
1. Decide who you want to target. What specific audience or segment are you trying to reach?
2. Reach out to influencers who cater to your target audience, and whose social feeds mesh well with your brand and visual story. You should also consider the size of their following, so you know how big your potential reach will be.
3. Invite influencers to come and stay at your property, so they can personally capture and share the experience with their followers.
4. Create an itinerary that will allow visiting influencers to enjoy the best aspects of your hotel or resort, including dining experiences, local entertainment, or activities related specifically to the influencer’s niche.
5. Discuss what type of content they should post. For instance, do you want a certain number of photos shared to their social channels or would you prefer a takeover of your branded account? Do you want to highlight specific activities, interests, or events? Or do you want them to write a blog post about their experience?
Note: Micro-influencers are major players in UGC marketing
Don’t overlook the value of micro-influencers who cater to smaller, niche audiences! This includes travel influencers, food bloggers, photographers, or other social media influencers with an engaged community of loyal followers. It all depends on who you’re trying to target. Whether that’s families, guests from specific parts of the world, or travelers with a passion for kitesurfing, partnering with micro-influencers can be an effective way to market to specific audiences.
Foster More UGC at Your Resort or Hotel!
As you work to inspire new visitors or current guests to plan another trip back, there’s no better way than with authentic, trustworthy UGC.
However you're deciding to use UGC - on your social media, website, or ads - use these tips to collect the biggest and best variety. The more visuals you have to choose from, the better you'll be able to show off the diversity of experiences your resort offers and inspire more bookings.
For more advice and inspiration on using UGC to promote your property, download our Complete Guide to UGC for Resorts & Hotels.