How to take advantage of user-generated content (UGC) for travel marketing

by Stratton Craig

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A new holiday era has been sweeping the globe. The dark days of holiday brochures and guidebooks are long gone, with the physical travel agent almost deemed redundant. This is the age of the ‘always-connected-traveller’. A time where consumers have the power. And out of this is emerging a fresh type of content marketing.
Sharing is caring
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Whatsapp and many other platforms are bursting with holiday photos, videos and updates. Social media feeds are constantly being updated with resort recommendations, adventure videos, sightseeing selfies and ten second holiday snapchats. And the stats show that people nowadays are almost as likely to post photos during their holiday (72% of travellers) as they are when they return (76%).
It’s the youngsters who are leading the charge, with an incredible 97% of the ‘Millennial Generation’ posting on social networks while they travel. This kind of feedback can be invaluable, with most people being more willing to accept the word of a friend or fellow traveller rather than advertising.
Stoke the content fire
User-generated content (UGC) creates a fantastic opportunity for companies to cash in on this plethora of content. If travel brands are agile enough, UGC could allow them to grow their market share through very little effort and cost.
Simple hashtag competitions can be all it takes to encourage holiday makers to share their positive experiences. One particularly good example is the #holidayspam campaign from 3G, which has been especially productive following the TV adverts.
Collate the content
Creating a social hub for the UGC means it is easy for visitors to your website or social media pages to find the feedback. From here you can easily shift them to the purchase process. Etihad Airways recently ran a fantastic campaign through its Facebook page, with #FanPhoto showcasing customer experiences of what it was like to fly with them.
Retweet, retweet!
It all boils down to boosting engagement levels. If you can take advantage of the shift in power to the consumer you’ll give yourself an advantage when it comes to increasing socially-referred commerce. So, retweet holiday snaps from your target audience, comment on their posts, and show that you’re genuinely interested in their holiday and chosen destination. They’ll love you for it.
Have you seen a good example of user-generated content being used by a travel company? Share it with us on Twitter @strattoncraig or in the comment box below. 

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