Hotel brands are increasingly turning to the appeal of user generated content (UGC) as a means of strengthening their online reputations, and it’s not hard to see why. Social media in particular requires a constant stream of new content in order to maintain engagement levels and tapping into the power of UGC can be a powerful and easy means of not only keeping social media accounts updated and filled with fresh content, it can also be a strategic addition to reputation management strategies.
So, how do you unlock the benefits of UGC and ensure you make the most of user generated content for your own hotel?
Know How to Define UGC
When we speak of UGC, it’s important to recognise exactly what we’re talking about so you will have a better understanding of how to incorporate this into your own strategy. In the context of the hotel industry, UGC could include any combination of images, video, blogs, reviews or comments drawn from your audience. It could be a comment that someone posts on a blog or a picture and post that a guest makes on your Facebook page. UGC doesn’t always take place on your own channel – a guest posting a picture of your property on their own Instagram along with a comment also classifies as user generated content.
There is strong evidence to suggest this kind of content is very important to customers, as it raises trust in your hotel far more than the messaging coming from within your brand itself. Once you know how UGC is defined, you need to know how to use it to unlock its benefits:
Encourage (Good) Reviews
Hotel reviews are still one of the most important factors taken into consideration by consumers., They can quite literally make or break a prospect’s choice of whether or not to stay with you or try a rival down the street. It isn’t just Trip Advisor which hoteliers need to be aware of as a source of reviews; social media sites themselves increasingly encourage reviews on business pages. Constantly be seeking to generate positive reviews by reaching out to those customers whom you know have had a good experience as a key aspect of reputation management for hotels
Create a Hashtag
Devising a hashtag for your hotel’s social media will help users to find content related to your property quickly and easily, as well as encouraging more activity and user generated content to be shared with your brand. You can help spread the word about your hashtag by adding it to the by-line of your social media pages.
Curate and Credit
The best content should absolutely be curated for use by your brand, but tread carefully and use common sense; copyright law still pertains to social media, so it’s important to give credit where it’s due when it comes to tagging the original photographer or author of a piece you’re interested in sharing. This will also help your customers feel their content is valued by your brand, leading to greater encouragement to share it with you!