User Generated Content (UGC) can be a powerful tool for hotels. User Generated Content includes any type of content a guest may create about your hotel including social media posts, photos, blogs, reviews, etc. Though you can have amazing content on your website and a top-notch social media strategy, nothing says how great your hotel really is like guests who have actually experienced your property first-hand. This is why it’s a great idea to encourage guests to share their experiences at your property on social media.
Here are some ways hotels can encourage User Generated Content on social media:
1. Create a hashtag for the hotel
Hashtags are widely used by social media users to categorize their various posts and search topics of interest. If your hotel has not decided on an “official” hashtag, users will inevitably come up with their own when posting their photos on social media. Direct users towards your hotel’s preferred hashtag by adding it to your descriptions on social media. By encouraging guests to post photos with your hotel’s hashtags, you will have an easy place to view the photos your guests are taking at your property, and can engage with them online. It also gives potential guests the opportunity to search through these photos for an inside look at the property.
Contests on social media are a great way to drive engagement and build up excitement about your hotel. Instead of hosting a generic contest where users simply have to ‘like’ the hotel’s page or ‘like’ the contest post, come up with something a little more creative. Ask guests to share photos or videos of their stay at your property. In the official contest rules, be sure to note that all submissions can be reused and shared by the hotel. This will give you great content to share on both social media and your website.
3. Photo opportunities at the hotel
You probably notice guests taking a number of photos during their visit to your hotel. This is something that is not going to change. Encourage guests to share these photos on social media with signs, fun stickers on mirrors, and other props. You can also suggest that they tag the hotel on different social channels and use your hotel’s “official” hashtag. These photos will act as unofficial recommendations to their family, friends, and any other users who happen to see the photos on social media.
4. Social media posts
Aside from contests, you can also create social media posts that call for users to create User Generated Content. For example, you can create a post on Facebook asking users to share their favorite thing about your property. Pin this post to the top so it is the first post that users see when visiting your Facebook page. You can also create posts asking users to share photos on comments, leave reviews, and tag the hotel in their posts.
It is a well-known fact that reviews can play a huge part in the traveler’s decision to book a particular hotel. Aside from review sites such as Tripadvisor and Yelp, social media sites are also beginning to give users the opportunity to leave reviews for hotels. In fact, when you search for hotels on Google, the star rating that can be seen next to a hotel is the Google+ review rating – not Tripadvisor or Yelp. On Facebook, reviews are shown on the left hand side of the hotel’s profile page. There is also a tab below the cover photo that users can click on to view reviews. Since potential guests have easy access to these reviews, it is a good idea to encourage current guests to leave reviews on these channels.
What past guests say about your hotel can have a huge impact on whether or not a traveler will want to book with you. Encourage User Generated Content to show potential guests the benefits of staying at your hotel. What other ways does your hotel encourage UGC?
Arielle Sanchez is the Digital Media Manager at E-Marketing Associates, where she writes personalized copy for hotel websites, assists independent hotels with social media, and blogs regularly for the E-Marketing Associates Blog. E-Marketing Associates works exclusively with independent hotels and builds innovative online marketing products that increase direct bookings and drive top-line revenue.