Have you ever read reviews about a product before you bought it or looked through photos on Instagram of that bar down the street you were planning on visiting?
If so, then congratulations: you’ve engaged with user-generated content(opens in a new tab)!
Across all ages, 55 percent of consumers trust user-generated content, or UGC, over other forms of marketing — and it’s something Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and tour operators can use to their advantage.
Whether it’s through the reviews they leave online, the photos they share on social media, or the stories they tell their friends, the experiences of your past customers are powerfully influential.
With that in mind, read on to discover how these three tour operators are harnessing the power of UGC in their marketing and how you can adopt their tactics too.
Contiki Tours publishes guest stories on blog
Taking a tour can often give visitors some of the best memories of their life. When you’re in a foreign country trying new food and new experiences, anything can happen.
That’s why through their blog The Travel Project(opens in a new tab), Contiki asks real travelers to talk about how travel transformed their lives. By getting their visitors to tell the real, unfiltered stories about their experiences, Contiki lets the passion and true wonder that participants on their tours experience shine through. With stories from meeting the love of their life while on a Contiki tour(opens in a new tab) to the reasons why Spain is a great place for LGBTQ+ travelers(opens in a new tab), they provide a wide variety of perspectives and stories to appeal to all kinds of visitors.
How you can use this strategy
Sometimes it’s as simple as inviting past customers to share their stories with you and contribute to your blog! If they had a great time, chances are they’ll be more than happy to recap their adventures with you.
People want to know what embarking on your tour is like. By digging a little deeper and getting past customers to tell the experiences they’ve been able to have by going on your tour, you hit two birds with one stone: you add a different, authentic perspective to your brand’s storytelling, and you don’t have to write all that content!
Hornblower Cruises uses rights-approved UGC for imagery all over their website
If you want to add some more flair to your website imagery, try source and use UGC instead?
That’s what Hornblower Niagara Cruises(opens in a new tab) does. By using user-generated content for imagery all over their website, they’re sharing a glimpse into the all the fun that visitors have on their cruises. They also feature a gallery of social photos and videos on their site. What’s unique about this gallery, beyond being interactive, is that each photo is overlaid with a CTA prompting the web visitor to buy tickets.
Plus, they’ve already grown their library of rights-approved UGC images to over ten thousand, meaning that they’ll always have the perfect image for any situation.
Getting rights to your visitors’ UGC to use throughout your marketing campaigns so that you can use them just like you would a stock or professional photo is also a great way to see increased click-through rates. It’s been shown that placing user-generated content directly on product pages(opens in a new tab) can improve conversions by up to 64%.
How you can use this strategy
When you get rights to UGC, you can use these visuals in the same way you might use a professional or stock photo. So use UGC hero photos on your webpages and as the visuals in your blog posts. You can take it a step further and consider adding galleries of social photos on your website and blog pages too.
For Hornblower Niagara Cruises, they used CrowdRiff for getting rights to UGC as well as hosting galleries on their site.
G Adventures curates their visitors’ posts on social media
Sometimes using UGC is as simple as incorporating it into your social media. Your guests are already out there sharing all their amazing experiences online — and this is the content your audience wants to see.
That’s exactly what G Adventures(opens in a new tab), a small-group sustainable tour operator, does.
Their Instagram feed is composed solely of photos that participants in their tours have taken, meaning that they don’t have to worry about taking any of the photos themselves. Instead, they are curators of the UGC around their brand. Most people (especially millennials) are going on social media regardless to explore your tours through see what other people have posted — make it easy by curating the best shots in one place!
How you can use this strategy
If you haven’t already, create a dedicated hashtag for your customers to use when they share pictures of their time on your tour. This will make it easier to track the photos people are sharing. Then, start asking for permission to reshare their photos on your channel! You may be surprised how willing happy customers are to let you feature their content.
Take your marketing to the next level with user-generated content
User-generated content gives your potential visitors the chance to see just what the real experience of your tours would be like, and to imagine themselves there as well. By using their visitors’ UGC to share a glimpse into what their tours are like, these three tour operators gave visitors to their site and social media the perspective of people who have actually taken them — which adds a whole new level to the authenticity of their marketing. Hopefully we’ve inspired you to take up UGC marketing(opens in a new tab) as well!
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