Travel and tourism marketers everywhere are adjusting to a new normal as countries and cities around the world prepare for and begin reopening.
But, as Rafat Ali from Skift pointed out in a Tweet last week, “Let’s not confuse reopening with recovery, particularly in travel.”
While restarting the economy is a vital first step, to Rafat’s point, the recovery will continue to play out in the months and years to come.
A post-COVID world will require new visuals and messaging that builds trust with travelers. Especially with fewer resources, travel marketers need ways to scale quickly through digital while engaging their partners and stakeholders. These elements are essential to a successful long-term recovery strategy.
Here’s why CrowdRiff is a key part of your recovery strategy and beyond.
1 | CrowdRiff supplies timely creative to keep your website up-to-date
Now, more than ever, your website needs to stay relevant, up-to-date, and engaging for locals and future travelers.
In an environment where things are changing quickly, your website needs to reflect that in order to stay trustworthy as a DMO.
Duluth, MN, uses CrowdRiff to find and quickly acquire rights to real-time photos and videos that locals and travelers are posting to social media. This gives their audience an accurate and up-to-date picture of what is happening on the ground today.
Their homepage features a CrowdRiff gallery at the top of the page to serve as a visual launchpad to relevant and important information for their audience.
They also upload their own content to CrowdRiff so they can host it on the homepage gallery. They add calls-to-action on visuals to quickly bring visitors to the content they’re looking for, and optimize what’s working and what’s not to maximize engagement.
Without CrowdRiff, the team would have to source this content and update the website manually. With CrowdRiff, in a few clicks, they can easily swap out the visuals and keep the gallery timely without a developer.
2 | CrowdRiff keeps your social media channels current & trustworthy
Social media has never played a more critical role for DMOs.
Your social media channels are the front row to consumer sentiment. With people spending more time than ever before on social media, your channels provide a lens into what your fans and followers are thinking and questions and conversations they’re having.
Social media is also real-time, allowing you to easily and quickly adapt to changing conditions while providing a rich, engaging experience through sound and visuals.
Finally, your social media channels are a highly trusted and inexpensive way to communicate with your audience. UGC is an effective way to show real-time visual proof of what’s happening at your destination right now while restoring consumer trust.
With CrowdRiff, you can gain the rights to the images and videos people are posting and use it on your social media channels to:
- Build trust with locals and future visitors
- Support your partners
- Inspire and entertain your fans and followers, safely
For example, Highway 1 Discovery Route created an Instagram Story Highlight about wide open spaces using local UGC, helping give both locals and future visitors certainty that they have the capacity to welcome them safely.
3 | CrowdRiff gives you an unlimited supply of engaging visuals for your marketing channels
At a time when you may not have the budget to shoot videos or license new photos, CrowdRiff allows you to source authentic, trustworthy images for free—immediately when you need them.
It would cost thousands of dollars (and a lot of your time) to plan photo shoots for every stage of the recovery, as well as create visual content to support your partners.
CrowdRiff provides you with the resonant and timely visuals you need to power every stage of the recovery, at a fraction of the cost of commissioning custom marketing creative.
Visit Costa Mesa, CA, pulls UGC directly from their local partners to use on their website and social media feeds. When they start marketing to regional and international travelers again, they will have an arsenal of highly engaging UGC for their digital ads they could use for, say, a food and drink campaign.
People are creating visuals about your destination every day on social media. Why not tap into this content as an affordable and effective way to fuel your marketing channels?
4 | CrowdRiff gives you the tools to amplify and support your partners
Rebuilding traveler trust will take a coordinated effort between DMOs, their stakeholders, and their partners.
As guests start returning to your destination, you will want to showcase your partners that are open for business in whatever their new capacity may be. You’ll need timely, relevant visuals to do that.
Do your partners have the capacity to supply you with these visuals? On the flip side, do you have the bandwidth to coordinate with all of your partners?
Many of our customers use CrowdRiff to improve the way they work with partners:
- Connect makes it easy to ensure your partners’ content is always accessible to you
- Public Uploader creates another source for acquiring trustworthy, authentic content
- Galleries, calls-to-action (CTAs), and Google Locations give you to the tools you need to drive traffic to the partners who rely on you
Louisville, KY, uses Public Uploader to collect specialty menu items from local restaurants that they feature in a gallery. They leverage Google Locations to ensure visitors can easily see the restaurants’ location, current hours, and contact info. This gives locals an easy way to access up-to-date information on their favorite spots.
5 | CrowdRiff extends your reduced marketing budget
When asked about the top challenges during this difficult time, 53% of travel marketing executives stressed resource restraint due to budget cuts as the top challenge, according to a Skift report.
It’s no secret that many teams have been significantly reduced, leaving less people to do more work.
CrowdRiff helps you scale your digital marketing efforts, while also keeping costs down.
1 | CrowdRiff supplies you with UGC to replace gaps from budget cuts
As I’ve talked about, you don’t need additional budget or time to find fresh creative or license new photos or videos.
2 | CrowdRiff gives you the ability to build a robust content library directly from locals
Visit Mesa recently used CrowdRiff’s Public Uploader tool to collect 500 user-generated photos from their community in two weeks. This is content the team plans on not only using for their photo contest, but also for future marketing, says Kate Eckstein, the Digital Strategist at Visit Mesa.
3 | CrowdRiff saves you money by consolidating multiple solutions
With our social publisher, you can complete your entire social posting workflow from start to finish in one place. CrowdRiff’s Media Hub allows you to easily share UGC and branded visuals with journalists, bloggers, and your partners. And CrowdRiff’s digital asset manager (DAM) makes it easy to find and repurpose existing purchased photography, video b-roll and, of course, UGC.
The Wyoming Office of Tourism needed a way to support the content needs of visitor and convention bureaus from 23 counties around the state, as well as news media, tourism operators and its own marketing content. They used CrowdRiff’s Media Hub to improve collaboration between stakeholders, and craft the image they wanted people to have about their destination. As a result, they saw a 300% increase in content downloads.
Charles Lammers, the Creative Assets Manager at the Wyoming Office of Tourism says CrowdRiff saved the department five or six thousand dollars by using a single platform instead of separate UGC and media library services.
“The search functionality is phenomenal,” he says. ”CrowdRiff's AI capability is very robust; if we click on that picture of a bison and click 'find similar images,' we're going to find other images of bison. Through our hashtag tracking on all of our assets we can find images easier, because the AI does such a great job.”
Using CrowdRiff for tourism recovery and beyond
In this new normal, how should travel brands be looking at what’s deemed essential?
On a webinar recently, Dan Rosenbaum of San Francisco Travel said brands should evaluate their tools based on three criteria:
- What keeps the lights on, especially on your own organic channels
- How you can use tech with the reduced workforce to work harder for you
- What will help you when recovery comes
I hope I’ve shown you just how critical CrowdRiff is in this new normal, and, more importantly, how you can use CrowdRiff to help your destination or travel brand thrive and grow long past the recovery.
Image credit: @shmatenkoartur