As the marketing manager for a 209-room, fully independent and self-managed hotel in the heart of Los Angeles, promoting and marketing our property is both a challenge and a prime opportunity. Our hotel has a healthy mix of business and leisure guests, families and corporate clients.
For me, it’s paramount that as an independent hotel, we not only increase our direct bookings, but also build guest loyalty and recognition of our property. With all of our marketing, whether it’s digital or print or through other channels, we aim to use different tools and tactics that all communicate the experience you can have here at the Hotel Angeleno and throughout Los Angeles. We want guests to feel excited to stay here, and hopefully return to us.
That’s why, a few months ago in April, we decided to enlist CrowdRiff to help us use UGC, or user generated content, more efficiently and effectively than we were before.
Requesting Rights, Managing Approvals and Storing Visuals: How CrowdRiff Helps
Prior to working with CrowdRiff, we had to do everything manually and it was very time consuming. It was hard to find content and tiring to search for specific hashtags or locations.
Now, with CrowdRiff, it’s so much simpler and easier; we log in and there is great, relevant content ready and waiting to be used. Using CrowdRiff has made it easier for us to request permission to use this content, and we can better manage approvals and how we store images. It’s a great add-on.
How Hotel Angeleno Uses CrowdRiff
Primarily, we use UGC to promote the L.A. lifestyle in and around the area of our hotel. We try to use UGC in lieu of stock images because our guests can tell when it’s not a genuine photo. If it’s something more genuine, our guests trust the brand more.
For now, we’re using UGC in two primary ways:
- Displaying UGC images of the area and things to do around here on the TV that’s in our lobby, and;
- Using those UGC images on the hotel channel for in-room TVs. We’re lucky to be located close to UCLA and the Getty Center, as well as other attractions like Universal Studios and Santa Monica Beach.
With both of these channels, we want to encourage guests to check out local events and activities. We don’t need to show them images of the property; they already know what the hotel looks like and what kinds of amenities we have. But we do want them to know that we can help them with whatever they want to do during their stay, and we want to inspire them to be a part of the local culture.
Converting Lookers Into Bookers
Eventually, we will also be adding another photo gallery to our homepage that will feature UGC and calls-to-action that will directly link visitors to our booking engine. We want to encourage guests to stay on our website and experience these things by staying with us, and ultimately convert those lookers into bookers. That’s one metric I’m particularly looking forward to tracking as time goes on: how many conversions we can get and how long guests are spending on our site, looking at those UGC photo galleries.
So far, feedback from guests who have seen images on our site and on our lobby TV have told us they enjoy it and that it makes their experiences more personal. We’re seen as being more involved with the community and with our partners.
Hopefully, over time, we will also see an increase in the number of direct bookings that we have. The ultimate goal of everything we do in terms of marketing strategies, our content, the offers we do, our social media, and our website — really, everything that we do — is to attract the potential guests to stay with us and book direct.
Right now, when you go on Expedia or another third-party booking site, you just see the property and it’s impersonal. We hope when guests go on our site, they’ll see more, especially in terms of the UGC, and be able to imagine themselves being here and see us as their home away from home.