How do we educate the travel industry about User Generated Content (UGC)?
The hospitality industry can be a slow moving giant when it comes to new marketing technology. We must first educate them on how UGC can help their message resonate with potential guests. Only then will Travel UGC become mainstream.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
- How do we educate the travel industry about User Generated Content (UGC)?
- Introducing Travel UGC to Hotel Owners
- Travelers will drive demand for Hotel UGC.
- Hotel UGC will complement traditional Hotel Photography.
- The Backstory…Hotels don’t know what Travel UGC is yet.
Virtual Tour Technology in the Travel Industry
Virtual tour technology has come a long way since we started our hotel photography business 13 years ago, and it’s exciting to see how it has evolved and become more mainstream. When we first started our virtual tour business, we faced the challenge of educating OUR consumers about what a virtual tour was and how it could benefit them and THEIR customers.
At that time, virtual tours were still a relatively new concept, and many people were not familiar with the technology. This meant that we had to put in extra effort to explain to potential customers how our virtual tours could help them visualize a space or location before they visited in person.
Fast forward to today, and virtual tours are now a common sight on many websites, with businesses in a variety of industries using them to showcase their spaces and products. While virtual tours have become more mainstream, there is a new need for education when it comes to new technologies.
Introducing Travel UGC to Hotel Owners
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.
However, like virtual tours were 13 years ago, UGC is still a relatively new concept for many people, and it can be challenging for businesses to explain the value of UGC to their customers.
Travelers will drive demand for Hotel UGC.
Our job, as a hotel photography business and as members of the UGC Community, is to educate hotel owners about the benefits of UGC and how it can help their future customers plan their travels. By providing information and resources about UGC, we can teach them how UGC can complement traditional hotel photography to allow prospective guests to make informed decisions about their travel plans and get the most out of their experiences.
Hotel UGC will complement traditional Hotel Photography.
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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