Between keeping visitors engaged, promoting experiences to locals, and relaying the latest safety information, Visit Monmouthshire has been juggling a lot.
The Wales-based DMO uses CrowdRiff to find relevant images for their web and social channels and organize their visual content. Since the pandemic, CrowdRiff has been integral in helping them react to a changing, dynamic, and often restrictive environment.
Showcasing filming locations for ‘Sex Education’ with CrowdRiff
One of the ways Visit Monmouthshire is keeping their content relevant is by creating content around popular topics people are talking about. For example, many of the scenes for the popular British comedy-drama Sex Education were shot in the Wye Valley, Monmouthshire, and nearby. They created a blog post using a mix of CrowdRiff Galleries and single embeds to show off each filming location.
“Before CrowdRiff, it would have been very difficult for us to create a blog around Sex Education,” says Nicola Edwards, Destination Manager, Monmouthshire County Council.
“Although we know the locations, we wouldn't necessarily have access to any great images about those locations because some of them aren't even in the county. We would have never commissioned them ourselves. And even if we did, it wouldn't have been in time to meet the deadline of when people were talking about it.”
Nicola says the post has performed exceptionally well, especially since Netflix began filming series three.
“We know that people are searching for Sex Education on Google at the moment and those people are coming to our website. Compared to the same period last year, our website traffic is down about 25 percent. I would expect it to be down more significantly considering nobody's able to come to the destination.”
They’re also using CrowdRiff to source images for images on social media so that "people can enjoy Monmouthshire from wherever they are in the world". The visuals and pop culture blogs have been some of the most engaging content of the past year.
The Sex Education post has also enabled them to reach a younger audience. Nicola says they typically attract visitors between the ages of 45 and 55. On the blog, 28 percent of visitors in the past year were between the ages of 25 to 34.
Using CrowdRiff to keep up with content demands
Nicola says CrowdRiff also plays a vital role in keeping their website and social channels up to date. “I don’t think we could create such an engaging website or the number of social media posts without the platform—especially in terms of quantity."
"All of these channels are so hungry for good content. CrowdRiff has enabled us to access a really wide range of engaging content on a variety of different topics. However creative we are in terms of the themes and topics, we can always find relevant, engaging imagery that tells that human story.”
She says it’s not just the picture, but the story that user-generated content tells that is truly engaging for locals and visitors.
Using CrowdRiff to react quickly and stay agile
Throughout the pandemic, Nicola says CrowdRiff also has enabled Visit Monmouthshire to quickly access a variety of local content and be more flexible in their day-to-day marketing.
“That's what’s really great about CrowdRiff—you can react very quickly to things that you become aware of without necessarily having to plan and commission photography months in advance. Even then, you wouldn't necessarily guarantee yourself getting the exact photo that would be most engaging to your audience."
“Plus, we wouldn’t have access to such a wide image library if we were commissioning because our budget wouldn't go as far as it does with CrowdRiff. With CrowdRiff, we have access to many more images in different styles."
Planning and searching for content is easier with CrowdRiff
Before CrowdRiff, they were commissioning photography or using the occasional photo people would send in. It was difficult to identify the types of photography they would need in the next year.
“We didn't have a Crystal ball. We didn't know who, what topics, or themes we're going to be of interest to our audience.”
“Our marketing was more separate to what visitors were interested in. Now, we're able to be more reactive and respond quickly. If a particular topic comes up, people start talking about it online, we realize there's a link to our destination, and we can try and capitalize on that link very quickly.”
Kevin Ford, Digital Tourism Marketing Office, Monmouthshire County Council, says it’s also far easier to search on CrowdRiff for an image or video than it is to hunt through their files. He also says it’s easy to find new photos or different photos using features like Similar Photo Finder.
“In CrowdRiff, there will be hundreds of one thing, whereas, in our files, there will only be one specific photo that works.”
Building a more human destination for locals and visitors
Prior to the pandemic, Visit Monmouthshire’s main focus was driving people to local tourism businesses’ websites, which they linked to on the site. But now, they are more focused on engagement, entertainment, and presenting a more human and authentic destination.
Nicola says CrowdRiff has enabled them to connect with their community, be more productive, and get more value from their marketing budget since they can generate more posts with the content they have.
“CrowdRiff has allowed us to be more efficient, and it is definitely giving us better value than we had before.”
Header image credit: @mikejerskine