Last week we hosted a webinar on How to Build a Winning Social Media Strategy. We were joined by Greg Bodenair, Area Marketing Manager for Kimpton Hotels of Boston & Cambridge, who shared with us his wealth of knowledge on social media marketing. One of the subjects Greg touched on was leveraging user generated content (UGC) in your social strategy.
In this article, we’re taking a deeper dive into 3 specific questions – Why is UGC such a powerful tool for hotel marketers? How are hotels currently using UGC? And how can your hotel easily leverage UGC on your website?
Why is User Generated Content Important?
UGC refers to any content, whether it be pictures, social media posts, reviews, etc. created by unpaid contributors. The importance of UGC has been steadily rising over the past decade as consumers gradually pay less attention to traditional brand messages.
A recent study by Salesforce found that 92% of consumers trust online content from friends and family above all other forms of brand messages, and 53% of millennials say that UGC has influenced their purchasing decisions. It is clear that consumers trust UGC, and hotels are uniquely positioned to capitalize on it due to the number of guests that stay with them annually.
You Have an Army of Storytellers
Hotel marketing expert, Tim Peter, created a simple formula to calculate how many potential storytellers stay at your hotel each year. If you are a 100 room hotel that has a 60% occupancy rate with 1.4 guests per room, you have nearly 31,000 potential storytellers that stay with you each year.
When you combine this with Pew Research Center’s study that found the average Facebook user has 200 friends, you could reach over 6 million people annually by leveraging your guests’ experiences through UGC.
Using your guests to communicate your hotel’s story has never been more important to your social media strategy in light of last year’s Facebook news feed algorithm update. The update gives preference to posts made by users’ friends and family and limits the amount of promotional posts users see from businesses. UGC can help expand your reach at a time when Facebook is trying to reduce it.