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How travel brands can use UGC to improve their visual marketing strategy

Social Media and User Generated Content Marketing
Jan. 14, 2022

UGC (User Generated Content) refers to all content produced by users. A source of media so useful for brands as UGC is becoming one of the best ways to generate engagement

The exposure and engagement that a brand gets for free thanks to the content posted by users (especially on social networks such as Instagram) are not exploited enough.

Let's take the example of tourism. It's an industry that makes us all travel to places outside of our daily lives. But to choose "the destination", we call a travel agency that shows us a catalog with beautiful pictures, or we surf on the internet, on various sites showing beautiful destinations.

Today, with UGC, we have access to real content posted by users about their last vacation pictures with landscapes, the hotel where they spent their nights, the excursions they did, etc. Thus producing diversified and real content, all of it already available on social networks.

Following various studies on brands using UGC, the results are clear:

  • 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations more than all forms of advertising (Nielsen).
  • 81% of consumers consider a product endorsed by an ordinary user more trustworthy than a product endorsed by a celebrity (Adobe).
  • Brands have seen a 28% increase in engagement when users are exposed to UGC (comScore)
  • 55% of decisions made by travelers between the ages of 18 and 65 are influenced by Instagram posts when booking a stay.

What is UGC ?

UGC (User Generated Content) refers to all media whose content is produced by users. Internet users have become real actors of the web! Thus, the tourism sector has taken advantage of this Web 2.0 trend to generate user-generated content for its services.

How travel brands and agencies use UGC ?

Tourism, an industry that attracts a lot of attention during and outside the vacation periods, allows the creation of content that is often shared on social networks through photographs. The social network that lends itself the most to the game is obviously Instagram since it allows sharing photos with different Hashtags (= keywords). Hashtags, used by millions of Internet users, are also created by brands so that users adopt them and reuse them on their own photos.

An excellent way to use the UGC of Internet users is to create a social wall on the website of your brand/city to collect the content posted by users/tourists and thus convert them into real brand ambassadors! A good example is the launch of the hashtag #NiceMoments among Internet users to make people talk about the city of Nice! All the content posted by Internet users was retrieved on a dedicated social wall and directly displayed on the Nice tourist office website. The main interest: importing external content on the site but especially beautiful photos highlighting the city and the region!

How the city of Nice uses travel UGC

Thus, thanks to social networks and Internet users, the content of the site has been extremely enriched, leaving a primordial place to tourists in the communication strategy of the city.

UGC and Tourism for public destinations

Today, the reflex of the tourist 2.0 is to photograph his activities, his meals, and of course the landscapes he crosses. As everyone can see in his daily life, our smartphones do not leave us anymore, they have become our travel companions. This is a godsend for the tourism industry since we are constantly creating content to be published on social networks! So, to highlight countries, regions or cities, tourist offices, departmental and regional tourism committees have also started to create their Instagram accounts or hashtags allowing users to specify them on their own photos. The content is thus created by locals and tourists! So this offers a kind of guided tour of places, restaurants, activities and landscapes of each city, region or country. And the images you will find will not be staged but the reality!

Easy to use, the content published by Instagram users will be an excellent showcase to promote a place or an activity. All you need now is a good way to retrieve and filter out all this content to keep the most performing one. Get in touch with us explore different solutions here

Here is an example :

Example of travel ugc

How Private Travel companies use UGC

The UGC not only benefits public sector tourism, but also the private sector uses it to its advantage. Hotels, travel clubs, restaurants and all hotel groups make good use of it. At the same time, today, who doesn't like to look at beautiful photos of paradisiacal places or small dishes that make your mouth water! Thus, Instagram becomes a showcase for them, a kind of business card in images. These private companies aim to create a close link with their customers. They share attractive content to make users want to visit. And in exchange, when users, who are also their customers, come to spend a stay, they often have their smartphones in their hands to photograph their daily life (which they share as a reflex, on their social networks, but especially on Instagram). Read more here about how hotels and resorts are leveraging the power of UGC

Promote your products and services with UGC

To highlight the capabilities of their products or services, brands use consumer experiences to create content on their own Instagram accounts. They engage their customers through the keywords created, which gather all the photos using the same hashtag into a sort of box. For example, the GoPro brand gathers a good number of images with the hashtag #GoPro. The brand just needs to sort through the images posted by users and pick some of them to use on their own account.

how gopro uses travel ugc

Tourism UGC benefits brands such as GoPro especially on Instagram, since this brand offers products dedicated to images. So, it can't dream better to promote its mini cameras!

At a time when more and more Internet users say they are hostile to advertising, UGC has a real interest, whether for commercial and advertising purposes or for recommendations. Benefiting from free and quality content will always be beneficial for brands. The question is of course how to get them to create content and how to get it on your site. So don't neglect the users, who are nowadays creators of quality content and therefore your first ambassadors. And if you don't use this strategy yet, don't hesitate to find the best way to make your users create content!

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