4.4 Gathering Stories in the Community with the UGC

Consumer behaviour is changing quickly and so are content preferences.

The destination landscape has seen a huge shift in the importance that user-generated content now plays when inspiring and informing consumers about a destination. User-generated content has quickly become a core aspect of working on social media for any destination. This was brought about by the new desire for experiences when on holiday rather than thinking to select a place to visit based on the destination. Consumers no longer want to feel like a tourist but consider themselves as travellers wanting to explore destinations in an authentic way.

Consumer behaviour is changing quickly and so are content preferences. The destination landscape has seen a huge shift in the importance that user-generated content now plays when inspiring and informing consumers about a destination. User-generated content has quickly become a core aspect of working on social media for any destination. This was brought about by the new desire for experiences when on holiday rather than thinking to select a place to visit based on the destination. Consumers no longer want to feel like a tourist but consider themselves as travellers wanting to explore destinations in an authentic way.

While destinations were long considered the absolute authority on all things relating to the destination, it is now content and information that is shared by peers that are most trusted. In addition to that, consumers are increasingly sharing their experiences in the destination on social media, aggregating a large amount of user content across social channels. This also impacts on the way in which information or content is consumed by consumers and how travel decisions are made. Visual decision making is becoming the new reality for visitors in a decision, being inspired and decisions driven by visual stimuli and content from other visitors or locals.

Getting your user-generated content strategy in order is, therefore, a big priority for any destination wanting to succeed in digital. While user-generated content is already a big driver in tourism and for decision-making, it is important that destinations adopt a long-term strategy to incorporate, leverage and promote user-generated content throughout its channels and platforms. This also includes the destination website that is often still a stronghold of destination content rather than user-generated content which is preferred and drives more engagement.

Out latest template aims to help in making key decisions on how to leverage user-generated content as a destination.

Your User-generated Content Strategy

We have divided the user-generated content strategy into three areas to cover, discuss and focus on, which are purpose, integration and testing. For each of those areas, it is important to think about the actual purpose and underlying strategy to work with user-generated content. In addition to that, consider what type and how user content could be integrated into your website and social media channels. To ensure user-generated content is performing as it should, it is important to test these and analyse their performance.

Use each of the dedicated spaces to outline your approach and decide on a strategic direction for working with user-generated content. It is important to consider the use of user-generated content to provide real-time information on what is happening in the destination. At the same time, it is also a great opportunity to cover niche interests in your marketing and communications and drive action.

Starting from the top left, think about you could use UGC to help your audience take decisions visually based on the experiences of your actual visitors shared on social media. Think about using immersive rather than static content and most of all which emotions should emerge from the content.

Which experiences should UGC portray? Which local or insider content might better inspire your audience?

Think about the visuals and style you want to give to your channels and website with UGC. Nowadays many DMOs incorporate galleries of UGC. Would it fit your website as well?

The next step is to try and measure the performance of user-generated content. On social media, you could use the advertisement to make an A/B test and see what type of content performs best. Analyse the performance and keep it into consideration when selecting the UGC you want to use.

The destination landscape has seen a huge shift in the importance that user-generated content now plays when inspiring and informing consumers about a destination. User-generated content has quickly become a core aspect of working on social media for any destination. This was brought about by the new desire for experiences when on holiday rather than thinking to select a place to visit based on the destination. Consumers no longer want to feel like a tourist but consider themselves as travellers wanting to explore destinations in an authentic way.