For destination management organizations (DMOs) of any size, it can be a challenge to connect with and engage with travelers. So many destinations are vying for travelers’ attention, and to entice them to visit, but when you’re a small destination, it can be even tougher.
And for a relatively smaller DMO like Visit High Point, located in North Carolina, that’s definitely been the case. Although High Point is known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World!”™ (it’s home to more than 100 furniture stores and outlets), its small but mighty DMO staff of seven has its work cut out when it comes to marketing the destination. There’s no shortage of attractions and activities to show off to travelers, including The Nido and Marianna Qubein Children’s Museum, various sporting events, a vibrant food scene and most recently being designated as a Certified Autism Destination. In addition, High Point High Point University and the High Point Market together draw 250 thousand visitors to the area each year.
Feeling social? High Point is hosting another #socialsaturday this Saturday, August 5th! Park at Brown Truck and use the free trolley service to shop and sip your way around town! #drinklocalnc #highpointdiscovered #highpoint #HPNC #ncbeer #visithighpoint #visithp #peoplearethepoint #highpointevents #triadbeer #highpointnc
To point the traveler in the right direction, Visit High Point focuses on telling the narrative of their destination through a different lens. They use CrowdRiff-sourced visuals to paint an authentic view of their destination, and it’s translating. Overturf and Bowman say that since using CrowdRiff to source user-generated content for their social media and adding Galleries to their website, they’ve seen large increases in user engagement. In just 90 days, their website Galleries received 40,000 impressions and had a 51% Gallery engagement rate.
“We’re trying to be more of a storyteller, talking about why you want to come to High Point,” explains Visit High Point Vice President of Branding, Nancy Bowman.
“Photography is a huge part of that story and CrowdRiff provides those resources as user-generated content, and pairing that with our own brand photography makes a nice compelling visual for potential visitors to High Point.”
The value of these visuals, she continues, cannot be stressed enough. “It’s one thing to have branded content,” Bowman notes. “But when you have user-generated content, visitors are going to be more apt to look at that and follow it. It’s coming from somebody like them, instead of someone hired to market a destination.”
“It’s just that personal piece,” adds Visit High Point Branding Content Coordinator Haley Overturf. “It makes things way more personal. You can see yourself doing that because it’s coming from someone you might know; it’s incorporating that into your own life. When you see people that you know and love and trust doing those things, I think it’s helping our audience trust us even more.” Overturf says Visit High Point’s marketing visuals are generally 70% user-generated content and 30% branded content.
And while there are measurable success metrics for using CrowdRiff, another benefit of using it is the organization, ease, and convenience that it provides to Visit High Point.
Before using CrowdRiff, finding the right user-generated content and acquiring the rights to it was “a nightmare,” says Bowman. “It was old fashioned; we had a folder on a shared drive that had all the photos in it, and it took up so much space. Having everything through CrowdRiff makes things so much easier, because we can search photos more easily and find what we are looking for quickly.” While creating their recent destination guide, the team used CrowdRiff to source visuals throughout, something that would have been an arduous task without the platform.
“We also use CrowdRiff as a huge organizational tool,” says Overturf. “It’s a place where everything can live and it can be sorted. Other organizations, like our partners, can have access to it. It’s very much this connecting piece and we have a lot of imagery and a huge library, and CrowdRiff helps us sort all of that.”
Another benefit of using CrowdRiff? The assistance and guidance from the CrowdRiff team – supported by our 97% CSAT score. “They’re so involved,” says Bowman. “They stay connected. They’re always trying to find ways to assist us and support us, to make what we’re doing a little bit easier and more streamlined.”
Looking ahead, Overturf and Bowman are exploring other opportunities to encourage more user-generated content of High Point to be submitted via contests, and they’re hoping they can source user-generated content that promotes High Point’s designation as a Certified Autism Destination, too.
“CrowdRiff has been so instrumental in helping us pull a really diverse range of photos, and to represent a diverse population in those photos that we’ve been able to use in our marketing materials to speak to that accessibility and inclusivity,” Overturf adds.