Customers don’t always directly trust brands or marketers, but they do trust other customers, and that’s why user-generated content is the next best leap in your marketing strategy if you’re not already reaping the benefits it offers in authenticating your brand and strengthening the relationship you share with your audience.
In our first blog for February, we’ll send you in the right direction for utilising user-generated content effectively to market your hotel, motel or resort!
What is User-Generated Content?
Simply put, user-generated content is internet content produced by the wider public that promotes and advertises your products, or services, for you - either by their own volition or with a little encouragement.
UGC is cost-effective or cost-free altogether and has become more widespread now that social media has merged with everyday life, where its users, especially millennials, are keen to post about their everyday lifestyle and experiences.
As it’s promotional content coming straight from customers who have had a direct experience of the product or service, user-generated content is a powerful marketing tool for businesses in building trust and boosting brand reputation.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
As a hotelier, you can market your hotel using user-generated content available to you on your social media channels. If your hotel isn’t on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, start with Facebook, then set up the others once your Facebook page garners a small following, as each platform offers its own marketing methods and benefits.
By simply providing fantastic service, there’s a good chance your social media-using guests will casually share their experience online, be it via a Facebook status, Instagram post, Instagram Story, Tweet, blog or vlog. With their permission, this user-generated content can be yours to share across your platforms - essentially free marketing in which your guests have kindly put out a good word on your business’s behalf.
Not to mention, this level of interaction displays your online savviness as well as how you both appreciate and engage with your guests. You can even implement a section on your website dedicated to guest user-generated content, which will have major influence over customers browsing what your hotel, motel or resort has to offer.
Devise a Social Media Marketing Campaign
You don’t have to wait for your guests to post - spur them on by devising an effective social media campaign that gives your hotel some exposure. This can be engaging your followers with a question, or creating a competition or giveaway that inspires social media users to share, comment and tag a friend - all the while stirring up a buzz around your hotel.
Examples include asking followers what their favourite thing to do is around your location, or offering a one-night free stay/meal/spa session to the person who gets the most “likes” on an uploaded photo snapped at a nearby tourist attraction, such as your local beach. Think one-off posts, as well as drawn-out campaigns that keep your followers interested till the very end.
Simply get creative, then come up with a unique and catchy hashtag that followers can use, which will also group together all user-generated content using the hashtag for everyone to see.
Don’t Forget Online Guest Reviews
Your online guest reviews are also a form of user-generated content, having a powerful influence on other customers reading about your hotel - sometimes even being the deciding factor on whether they book depending on what past guests have expressed.
That being said, go the distance to provide the best service you can, then encourage online reviews each step of the guest experience. Along with actively utilising social media user-generated content, showcasing, and responding to, your best guest reviews is an invaluable way to show others your close customer relationship and the trust they have in your brand.
Does your marketing strategy involve user-generated content? Let us know in the comments below!
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