Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
- Understanding the difference between Influencers and Authentic Guest Experience in Hotel Marketing
- Hotel Lifestyle Photography and Videography
- Authentic Guest Experience Photography and Videography
- The Backstory…Hotels don’t know what Travel UGC is yet.
- Both hotel lifestyle photography and videography and authentic guest experience photography and videography have their benefits, as does influencer marketing.
- When choosing a marketing strategy, hotels should consider their target audience, marketing goals, and budget.
- While influencer marketing can be effective in reaching a large audience, it may not always resonate with the hotel’s target audience.
- Authentic guest experience photography and videography, on the other hand, feels more genuine and trustworthy, but requires ongoing collaborations to produce new content.
- Ultimately, the best approach is to create a balance between all three strategies to create a comprehensive and effective hotel marketing campaign.
Understanding the difference between Influencers and Authentic Guest Experience in Hotel Marketing
Hotels these days are besieged by wanna be influencers and aspiring content creators asking for free stays with promises of amorphous social media deliverables. But how do you know what you are getting if you agree to a hotel collaboration with a content creator?
Authentic Guest Experience vs. Influencer Marketing
Authentic guest experience photography and videography has become increasingly important in hotel marketing. These visual assets are used to showcase a hotel’s amenities, atmosphere, and overall guest experience from the viewpoint of an actual guest. In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards influencer marketing, where hotels partner with social media influencers to promote their brand. While both approaches have their benefits, there are significant differences between them that hotels should consider when choosing a marketing strategy.
The focus of Influencer Marketing is on the INFLUENCER…not the HOTEL. People who see the content on their social media feeds usually are more interested in the influencer’s status than the story of their stay.
Another difference between these approaches is the cost. Hotel lifestyle photography and videography can be expensive, but it is a one-time investment that can be used for years to come. Authentic guest experience photography and videography, while typically less expensive, requires ongoing collaborations with content creators to continually produce new content. Influencer marketing can be even more costly since influencers often charge a premium for sponsored content.
Differences between Lifestyle and Authentic Guest Experience Content
The main difference between professional hotel lifestyle photography & videography or authentic guest experience photography & videography and influencer marketing is the approach to content creation. Hotel lifestyle photography and videography focus on capturing the hotel’s amenities and atmosphere in a professional and polished manner. Authentic guest experience photography and videography, on the other hand, take a more personal and authentic approach, focusing on showcasing the guest experience.
Influencer marketing, while effective in reaching a large audience, can often feel disingenuous and staged. Many social media users are becoming increasingly skeptical of sponsored content and may not trust the recommendations of influencers. Authentic guest experience photography and videography, on the other hand, feels more genuine and trustworthy since it is created by individuals who have actually stayed at the hotel.
These types of content creators are focused on telling the story of their experience as guests at the hotel with the focus being on the HOTEL. This authentic approach provides potential guests with a more relatable review versus feeling like a Hollywood movie set or overly salesy commercial video.
One such technology is user generated content (UGC) creation. While UGC has been around for a while, it is now starting to gain traction in the travel industry as a way for travelers to share their experiences and recommendations with others.
Hotel Lifestyle Photography and Videography
Hotel lifestyle photography and videography focus on capturing the “essence” of the hotel or resort. These assets showcase the hotel’s amenities, architecture, decor, and overall atmosphere. This type of visual content is created by professional photographers and videographers who understand the hotel’s brand and target audience. The content is often used on the hotel’s website, social media channels, and in marketing materials such as brochures and ads.
This type of content is usually more highly produced and edited with a focus on marketing the essence vs. the actual experience. These sweeping shots focus on small details and aesthetics to create a scene vs. to tell a story.
Authentic Guest Experience Photography and Videography
Hotel UGC will not replace traditional hotel photography or vice versa. Instead UGC will complement the type of hotel photography that brands require and owners expect. Hotel UGC will sell the experience and the lifestyle through an organic, less polished and more approachable style. Traditional Hotel photography will show the physical space and logistics if you will.
Consumers will use one to verify the other.
- Are the traditional photos overly edited to the point of inauthenticity?
- Did the UGC focus more on the creator’s experience without showing the logistics of the space?
- Do the two sets of content consistently tell the same story and show the same place only in different ways?
In summary, the evolution of new technologies often requires education and understanding before they can be fully embraced by the public. As a business, it is our job to help educate our customers about these technologies and how they can benefit them. Whether it’s virtual tours or UGC, we have a responsibility to help our customers understand and take advantage of the tools available to them.
The Backstory…Hotels don’t know what Travel UGC is yet.
Hotel builds or renovations are VERY expensive. The property needs to market their property but by the time the doors open, there is often little budget left for marketing.
Gifted Hotel Stays in exchange for Curated Content
One way for new or newly renovated hotels to generate a ton of content is to reach out to travel UGC creators and offer gifted stays at the property. This can be a win-win situation, as the creators can use the opportunity to create new content for their followers, while the property can benefit from the exposure and authentic recommendations.
I recently reached out to a newly renovated boutique hotel to introduce them to my community of UGC creators. The property has great professional hotel photography so they didn’t need our services but UGC would have been a fantastic wait to kickstart their social media presence after the renovation. The hotel enthusiastically said that they would be excited to offer midweek stays in exchange for content.
I introduced them to an absolute Rock Star of travel UGC. Our plan was to host a Curated Content Safari where we invite a group of creators to collaboratively create content for the hotel during a group stay. Instead of getting one perspective, they would get a collaborative collaboration!
Unfortunately after we talked more, the hotel said that they couldn’t afford to offer gifted stays since they were so new. The point of gifted stays is to offer rooms that would otherwise be empty! We think the actual objection was that they didn’t understand the difference in Travel UGC and Influencer Marketing.
Travel UGC vs. Influencer Marketing
It is understandable that they may be hesitant to offer free stays due to their new status…if their rooms are full every night. However, it is important to remember that gifted UGC stays can be a cost-effective way to promote a business in the early days. By investing in building relationships with travel UGC creators and encouraging them to share their experiences at your property, you can create a steady stream of authentic, credible content that will attract potential customers.
Travel User-Generated Content (UGC) is a valuable asset for any business in the travel industry, including hotels. UGC refers to content that is created by customers or travelers, such as photos, reviews, and social media posts. This type of content is particularly valuable because it is authentic and genuine, and it can help to build trust with potential customers.
However, it seems that there is still a misunderstanding in the travel industry about the difference between UGC and influencer marketing. Influencer marketing refers to the practice of partnering with social media influencers or celebrities to promote a product or service. While influencer marketing can be effective, it can also be expensive, as influencers often charge fees for their services.
On the other hand, UGC is often free or low-cost, as it is created by customers who are already interested in and engaged with a brand. Additionally, UGC can be more credible and authentic than influencer marketing, as it comes from real customers who have had first-hand experiences with a product or service.
As a business in the travel industry, it is important to understand the value of UGC and how it can be used to promote your property. While it may be tempting to focus on influencer marketing, UGC can be just as, if not more, effective in building trust and attracting customers.
In conclusion, travel UGC is a valuable asset for new businesses in the travel industry.
It is important to understand the difference between UGC and influencer marketing and to consider the benefits of utilizing UGC to promote your property. By building relationships with travel UGC creators and encouraging them to share their experiences at your property, you can create a steady stream of authentic, credible content that will attract potential customers and help your business succeed.
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