Capitalize On User-Generated Content and Influencer Marketing Opportunities

by | March 29, 2024

You have heard and will hear it again: content is king. Our current social media landscape has put immense pressure on showcasing real-life, “relatable” photography instead of staged, “stock” photos. And while most hoteliers know that real experiences sell better than posed, the problem arises in executing content creation. So, how do they attain content without having to do it themselves?

User-generated content (UGC) and influencer marketing have ushered in a new digital marketing standard that strives to capture and post content that everyday customers can relate to. What does this mean for hoteliers? Seeking, engaging with, and managing UGC and influencer opportunities should be a priority in their digital marketing strategies.

Difference Between UGC and Influencers

Although content created by guests and influencers may look and feel similar to outsider consumers, there are key differences. UGC comes from standard guests who stay at your hotel and post their content on social media or review their stay online. Influencers are more likely than not paid by the hotel to stay at their property, create content, and post about their experiences in a review-like sense.

User-Generated Content

We have all shared photos or updated our Facebook statuses during a trip to show others where we are and what we are doing. In the hotel industry, UGC is any brand-specific content that guests create and publish online. These can include photos, videos, status updates, and reviews. Like most other industries, consumers tend to trust reviews and content from real-life guests over branded content posted by the hotel. According to Stackla, 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, and 84% say they trust peer recommendations above all other advertising sources.

Influencer Marketing

Through television commercials and billboard advertising, celebrities have influenced consumers on how to live and what products to buy for years. Whether it be vitamins, appliances, or form-fitting jeans, consumers are more inclined to purchase products recommended by people they admire. But, there is a difference between celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing. Celebrities often appear in commercials or on billboards backed and branded by the company. Influencers are paid to post their content to their personal social media profiles and tag the company. 

Since the dawn of social media, being an influencer has become a growing and desirable career. An influencer is any user with a sizable following who has the power to influence their follower’s monetary behaviors. For companies, it is one of the most effective advertising strategies. While you can’t measure ROI with celebrity endorsements, you can do so with influencer content through likes, comments, shares, saves, link clicks, and revenue.

Leveraging UGC

Finding and keeping up with UGC can be challenging with the number of existing social media platforms and profiles. With these steps, you can provide excellent service to your current guests and help future guests make a booking decision.

1. View and Manage UGC

Hoteliers can set alerts and notifications if their property is tagged or mentioned on review websites, OTAs, and social media platforms. UGC management platforms such as TMG OneView® have grown within the last few years, allowing hoteliers to view and manage their feeds in one place.

2. Interact and Utilize

Interacting with and utilizing UGC in your social media strategy can boost you ahead of your competitors who don’t. Below are easy and immediate ways to execute it:

  • Status Mentioning Property: Like, comment, and repost (if applicable).
  • Photo Tagging Property: Like, comment, and ask permission to repost it. 
  • Review Online: Respond to all and repost positive ones on social media.
  • Direct Messages/Mentions: Answer promptly and with detail.
3. Use Insights to Improve and Adapt

UGC can offer insight into what guests think and feel about your property. A sentiment analysis tool can show you what improvements must be made internally and externally. Ignoring UGC will damage your curb appeal and result in fewer bookings. Fully integrate UGC into your hotel marketing strategy by:

  • Requesting reviews in post-stay emails
  • Ask guests to follow and tag your hotel on social media
  • Encourage guests to share photos from their stay
  • Track and respond to all UGC online

Let Influencers Speak for You

Influencer marketing is expected to be worth $24 billion by the end of 2024. The primary purpose of running these campaigns is to gain reusable UGC (56%), with generating sales as the second reason (23%) (Influencer Marketing Hub). Influencers can reach new audiences apart from your organic reach and offer their own real-life experience at your property. 

Properties don’t need to invest in macro-influencers to be successful. Nano and micro-influencers are more accessible and affordable and still produce quality content. Their followers will be inclined to stay with your property simply because their favorite influencer they follow recommended it. Below are a few things to consider when selecting influencers to work with:

  • Choose Within Your Niche (travel, hotels, beach, mountains, sports, etc.)
  • Audience Demographic (will their audience fit in with your hotel’s audience?)
  • Location of influencer (most require the company to pay for their travel if needed)
  • Price (nano, micro, mid-tier, macro, mega)
  • Platforms They Utilize (choose influencers who use platforms that will align with your goals)

Capitalize on Opportunity

Taking advantage of UGC and influencers on social media serves your property in ways that internal marketing efforts can’t. Hoteliers should always strive to create the best and most accurate representation of their property online. There is no better way to do this than with real experiences shared by real guests. With Travel Media Group’s comprehensive social media, review response, and reputation management solutions, your hotel will be on the right path to embracing UGC and running successful influencer campaigns.