Hoteliers can reap huge benefits from integrating user generated content into their social media strategy. Guests today are more connected to social networks than ever before, especially with the ease of use and accessibility that smartphones provide. According to an IDC Research Report, Facebook is the third most popular activity on smartphones (70%), behind email (78%) and web browsing (73%)nbsp;
To encourage guests to create content that promotes your hotel, you should have a strategy for connecting with them while they’re on property. Try some of these tips:
1. Increase on-property visibility
First, make sure that your social channels are all visible on property. Do you have your Twitter handle and Facebook URL on business cards, keycard packets, welcoming letters, lobby reader boards, or any other marketing collateral? Remind your guests to engage with you online, whether it’s tagging your hotel in a photo, checking in on Foursquare, or tweeting about the smooth sailing they experienced at check-in.
2. Enhance on-property engagement
Take social visibility a step further by creating an interactive on-property element that directly asks guests to engage on social media, usually with an incentive to do so. For example, you can set up a “selfie station” at a prominent or picturesque location on your property. Then, ask guests to upload their selfies to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with the hotel tagged to receive a free cocktail. Choose your hotel’s best assets, so that your guests’ photos ultimately influence their Facebook friends to book. Exercise your creativity and make it fun!
3. Monitor for social media mentions
Make sure that you’re actively monitoring all social mentions of your hotel and any other keywords that might be relevant. It may be helpful to use a social media monitoring tool like Sprout Social or Hootsuite to funnel in mentions across all social platforms. (If you’re a Revinate customer, our platform has this feature!) Reply to any guest who mentions or tags your property on social media. If the post is particularly heart-warming or memorable, you should definitely share the post on your own social channel. Be sure to tag the post with the guest’s name on Facebook, or their Twitter or Instagram handle to give credit where credit is due.
4. Ask your guests for content
If you’re still wary about using user generated photos without official consent, you can opt to take a more direct approach. If your social profiles have an established fan base, simply post a message to all of your Facebook fans or Twitter followers asking them to submit #FanPhotos to a specific email address, or tweet them using a hashtag that you’re actively monitoring. Many guests will be excited to share their own memories. If you want to add an incentive, you can offer to highlight a select few each week in a Facebook cover photo collage.
5. Host an interactive contest
If you have the budget, one of the best opportunities to create user generated content is to host a contest on social media where guests submit photos, videos, memories, or goals to the marketing team. The randomly selected winner receives a free two night stay at the hotel.
Of course, this comes with stipulations! The winner must serve as your “brand ambassador” in exchange for the free trip, providing live Facebook and Twitter updates throughout their stay on behalf of the hotel, which the hotel marketing team can then share and retweet.
For example, Tourism Queensland hosted a highly successful contest that went viral. (CLICK HERE to read the Fast Company recap.) This is a bit of an exaggerated example, and we don’t expect most hotels to have such accommodating budgets. But, you get the picture. Hotel guests are already actively sharing their travel experiences online with their social networks, so hotels need to amplify their own marketing strategies by taking advantage of an effective user generated content strategy that highlights positive guest feedback and experiences.