Travel is a visual experience. Travellers want to see photos of a destination before they make the decision to visit it, and that’s why destinations must dominate in visual influence. It is more important than ever to include authentic photos on your destination’s website that show visitors the experiences you want to highlight, through the lens of travellers just like them.
Authentic visual content that tells the story of your destination is being mass produced every single day on social media. The DMOs who are harnessing this content are building a stronger connection with their audience than those who aren’t.
We recently ran a webinar featuring three DMOs who are owning their visual influence; Visit Fairfax, Fort Worth CVB and Visit Eau Claire. We asked them what they are doing to make the most of user generated content (UGC) and improve their websites with it. Here are the top three takeaways.
UGC on your website gives visitors a reason to stick around
UGC is more than pretty pictures. It can make your website a more effective marketing tool. Visit Fairfax saw an 85% improvement on the time on page on their Smithsonian Museum page after incorporating UGC images.
When you feature authentic visual content created by travellers, other travellers coming to that webpage can relate. They will want to spend time browsing the images to gather inspiration for their own travels. This translates to up to 32% increased time on site as Fort Worth saw in its website stats.
“I’d rather have UGC of authentic photos taken than a homepage hero image that may or may not be photoshopped.” – Jake Sillavan, Visit Fort Worth
Lead with Authentic Visuals
It’s not enough to have authentic UGC content on your webpage. The placement of that content makes a big impact. For example, Visit Fairfax ran an experiment where they placed a CrowdRiff image gallery above the fold vs below the fold. Placing it above the fold resulted in an 85% increase in time spent on the page.
The sooner you can effectively capture your audience’s attention, the longer they will spend on the page and the closer they will be to booking a trip to create memories of their own.
Both Visitors and Locals Can Be Your Best Marketing Ambassadors
When you involve your visitors and locals in the content generation, curation and promotion stage, they become ambassadors for your destination.
Beautiful visual content is constantly being created and shared on social. Visit Eau Claire has found that once you feature someone’s photo on the destination website, they continue using the #captureEC hashtag to get featured again. This further promotes the hashtag to all of their followers and drives traffic to your website.
Visit Eau Claire does a wonderful job of leading with visual user generated content uncovered through the #captureEC hashtag that tells destination’s story right away on its homepage.
“It’s not only Visit Eau Claire that makes Eau Claire a destination worth visiting; it’s all of our businesses… and people in our community. So we wanted to stress the fact that it’s a community effort that makes Eau Claire a destination worth visiting.” – Mack John, Visit Eau Claire
Here are three examples of other destinations that are doing a killer job of leading with visual UGC gathered from their destinations’ very own ambassadors and using that on their websites.
Visit Loudoun shares bright, colorful images of the destination to capture site visitors’ attention as soon as they land on the homepage.
Visit Franklin’s Old Americana roots and culture are expressed right away through the visual stories its visitors are telling through images.
Visitors have clear visuals of the best places to play, stay, eat and discover in Kalamazoo as soon as they enter the site.
CrowdRiff allows destinations to curate, organize and share their most valuable marketing assets. If you want to make an impact on your website metrics like time on site and bounce rate, while building an authentic relationship with your audience, we can help.
Find out why over 200 DMOs are using our visual influence platform to make their website more engaging and effective.
Header Image Credit: @mariescholz