Over the last several years, many brands, especially those in the travel space, have realized the importance of UGC being integrated into their web platforms. Destinations, hotels, airlines, cruises and many more have sought to take advantage of the one intangible, yet highly powerful advantage that UGC provides – inspiration. The reason why 56% of travelers say UGC is the content that they want the most is because they want to feel inspired by what peers and people who share the same interest are doing and experiencing.
For airline and hotel brands, especially, UGC is effectively used to drive more direct bookings, engaging consumers with inspirational content early in the buying process to help keep them on the website and avoid the risk of sales going to third parties. UGC is also used heavily in advertising, replacing standard and noticeable stock imagery with new and unique visuals. This significantly drives up conversion rates in almost all cases. Destinations use UGC galleries on their websites to provide authenticity and to help call out the uniqueness and advantages over competing markets.
However, the Omnichannel is changing this as mobile increases and people are engaged with interactive and digital signage options, marketers need to be aware that the connection points they use on web can drive a whole different level of purchasing and experience for travelers and guests. Today’s consumers want to engage and experience when they want and, on the device, they have with them. 52% of travelers say that their primary device for researching while on vacation is their mobile phone. By exposing UGC galleries, you help engage, and educate on the many great things other travelers have done or want to do while traveling.
For hotels and resorts, exposing UGC galleries to guests while on-property can lead directly to more amenity spend. If your hotel has an app, or PWA (progressive web app), there is almost certainly always a section that lets the guest navigate through the hotel amenity information which includes real imagery, usually, an image pulled from the hotel’s website. To provide more inspiration and drive more revenue, hotels need to implement UGC within these sections to provide unique, fresh, and up to date.
Digital Signage, Kiosk and Mobile, well placed helps increase engagement reduce perceptions of wait times, show rich imagery of travelers enjoying restaurants, hot spots and attractions or relaxing and rejuvenating at your spa. These images provide inspiration to guests, and a lot of times result in new guests engaging in the same behaviors as the peers who influenced them.
For destinations, now that they’ve already succeeded in getting the visitor to their destination, their focus needs to shift to driving more business to their constituents and stakeholders. Chances are that most visitors will already have their accommodations booked, but numerous studies show that most visitors don’t start to make their plans and build their itineraries until arriving at the destination. This creates a perfect opportunity for destinations to leverage UGC in order to drive visitors to local restaurants and attractions. Digital signage within visitor centers and high traffic areas, whether it be a single display or a number of them. Touchscreens and free-standing kiosks are always great devices to expose UGC on for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious we’ve already covered, to influence and inspire other visitors to engage in the same behaviors that they are visually seeing on a screen. But second, this gives the destination a better chance of collecting data from visitors that they can use for marketing purposes. Visitors standing within a visitor center may be drawn over to a kiosk because of UGC being used as a “screen saver”. By influencing that visitor to interact, destinations have now significantly increased their chances of having them fill out a digital guest book with email/city/state/zip code information, answering a few survey questions, or building an itinerary for their 3-day trip. All of this data can be funneled directly back into the destination’s CRM, giving the marketing team valuable information that they can use for both retargeting and personalization to drive future visitors into the market.
To summarize, UGC is a powerful tool for web, but sometimes overlooked is the potential to integrate UGC on direct in destination and on property engagements. The power of inspiration and connection can shape perception, get them more involved in amenity and destination experiences that drive better reviews, increase travel spend and keeps them coming back year after year. If you have or are looking for a way to build and share User Generated Content, reach out we integrate with many of the top tools and have UGC options built directly into the OmniPlatform. Info@omniexperience.com or call 833-300-6664