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See How a DMO Uses UGC to Spread Tourism Traffic Throughout the Region

Lucerne, Switzerland is a region ripped from the pages of a fairy tale. 

The lakeside city is criss-crossed by sparkling blue rivers, featuring well-preserved medieval architecture, winding bridges, and gothic church towers, surrounded on all sides by snow-covered mountains. 

Every year the city of about 400,000 sees an average of 1.3 million hotel stays—3.5 million if you include the surrounding region—in addition to 12 million day-trippers. While the majority of visitors to the premium destination hail from other parts of the country, many arrive from the United States, China, the UK, Germany and elsewhere around the world. 

Promoting the region during off-peak periods

The volume of visitors is a boon to the remote city’s local economy, but in peak seasons things have started to get a little overcrowded. Earlier this year tourism officials had to coordinate with local authorities to manage the volume of traffic flowing through the city. 

The majority of travellers arrive during peak summer travel seasons and stay within the city limits. While tourism is vital to the local economy, the recent influxes are causing somewhat of a problem, and it’s Lucerne Tourism’s mandate to strike a better balance. 

“We want to strengthen the low season,” explains Ueli Schürmann, the Social Media Manager for Lucerne Tourism. “In the future, we want to see that we push more and more lesser-known hot spots; not only the inner city.” 

Using UGC & CrowdRiff to promote seasonal events and lesser-known attractions 

In 2018, Lucerne Tourism signed up with CrowdRiff in an attempt to expose would-be travellers to off-peak season events and travel opportunities, offering more glimpses into what the surrounding villages, lakes and mountains have to offer. “To find these spots, Crowdriff seems to be the perfect solution,” explains Schürmann. 

In the last year and a half, Lucerne Tourism has used the platform to create individual visual galleries for each region and attraction, each of which are updated weekly. In total, the website features 29 individual UGC galleries that seek to promote the entirety of the Lake Lucerne Region. 

Schürmann adds that prior to CrowdRiff, the destination marketing organization spent significant time and resources searching for user-generated content. 

“Before we had CrowdRiff, it was extremely hard to get to useful UGC. We had to do all this manually via the Instagram app; we had to look for each of our hashtags individually. CrowdRiff saves us a lot of time searching for UGC."

Now, visitors to the Lucerne Tourism website, Luzern.com, are invited to explore regions outside of the main city, as well as attractions and events that extend past the peak summer season. The homepage also features a gallery of images posted to social media by locals and visitors who tagged their posts with the hashtag #MyLucerne.

They’ve also installed photo walls at their tourist information centre, that feature a selection of the best user-generated visuals the team has sourced through CrowdRiff. 

Schürmann adds that using CrowdRiff to monitor social media activity has enabled the organization to stay on top of events and popular points of interest throughout the region. 

“CrowdRiff gives a good overview of what the community is doing and what’s posted daily,” said Schürmann. “Without CrowdRiff, it would be impossible to keep track of these activities.”

The insights have also helped Schürmann and his team organize influencer meet-ups, inviting popular social media creators to the area to explore some of its lesser-known destinations in order to increase their exposure online.  

The Lilu light festival is one of the many popular off-season events Lucerne Tourism promotes with UGC.

Moving forward, Lucerne Tourism is hoping to directly connect these social media galleries and attraction pages to ticket retailers, providing a seamless journey from discovery to purchase. 

By incorporating more social media content into its marketing efforts, Schürmann says the region has found an effective means for promoting the lesser known hotspots and attractions of the region. While it remains a popular premium tourism destination for locals and international travellers alike, traffic has finally started to spill out beyond the beaten path.  

“UGC helps extremely well to promote our tourism region,” said Schürmann. “Friends are the best opinion leaders, and when somebody sees how much their friend liked our region, they hopefully want to come to us right away.”