Knowing the importance of user-generated content as Hotel Blogger and Social Media Manager one of my weekly tasks is to routinely go through various research and data to identify information that will add value to my articles. I came over one research that indicated that one in three Americans meets their spouse online. And those couples were more likely to have higher marital satisfaction and had a 23 percent lower rate of marital breakups.

This was data that I was able to relate to from personal experience. I meet my wife online in 1998 through an Instant Messaging service called ICQ.

We all have over a long period now been part of a shift in how we engage with each other. People meet online where they start to engage and build a quality relationship. This has also lead us to put higher trust in recommendations or advice from our online Communities.

Whether it’s called peer-created content, consumer content, or user-generated content (UGC), Ipsos’ research finds that millennials spend 30% of their media consumption time with content that is created by their peers (UGC).

Millennials indicate that information they receive through UGC is highly trustworthy and trusted by 40% more than information they get from traditional media sources (TV, print & radio), including newspapers and magazines.

Consider that 92% of consumers trust online content from friends and family above all other forms of brand messages, 50% of consumers find UGC more memorable than brand-produced content, and 53% of millennials say that UGC has influenced their purchasing decisions.

As evidenced by the success of UGC, there’s another key element consumers prize—authenticity. No offense but consumers trust content produced by their peers far more than what is created by marketers, and they reward brands that deliver UGC with engagement.

One study found that almost all, or 97 percent, of millennials, post on a Social Network when traveling and three-quarters of all millennial travelers post at least once a day while traveling.

Millennials are also more Social than other travelers offline. More than half, or 57 percent of millennial travelers, want to meet other people staying at their Hotel.

According to Adweek, 93% of millennials say they rely on blogs and user/consumer reviews before making a purchase. And 77% trust the reviews they read on brand websites.

Since user-generated content is important to Millennials, what should Hotels do to align their strategies with the way they prefer to research and execute purchases?

Mastering User-generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is not only popular, it’s influential. Customer Photos and videos have become the new version of ratings and reviews — offering online shoppers a tangible experience of products and services comparable to what they’d receive at the Hotel.

And user-generated campaigns are the most powerful tactics to get the most value out of consumer content.

Encouraging your customers to develop content will build trust, which in turn makes them more loyal to your brand. Remember, it costs five times as much to acquire new customers as it does to keep your current ones, so investing in these sorts of community-driven efforts will prove cost-effective as well.

I often get a question about what is the best Social Media Channel to be on. And no doubt it is important to learn where your Hotels targeted market segment hangs out. But with Social Media, it has today become more important to mastering content than the channel.

Tap into your Community to build a database of user-generated content. Whether they’re posting selfies in their Hotel room or shooting mini makeup tutorials via Facebook Live, consumers are already sharing digital content about their favorite products and service. Through UGC marketing campaigns, Hotel marketers can capture this content at scale, creating a valuable database of influential photos and videos that compel consumer purchases.

Start leverage the UGC experience and deepen the relationship with your Community. Implement proper Guidelines to avoid conflicts and preserve brand integrity and reputation.

Hotels already know that Social content is a valuable marketing tool. Consumer reviews are trusted by consumers for their authenticity. And consumer photos act as implicit consumer recommendations, lending your products and services a stamp of approval. They spark consumer imagination, allowing them to picture themselves using your products and services.

But all roads lead to your Hotels website — where you should deploy UGC strategically to convert visitors into customers. The goal is clear: transform your Hotel website into a dynamic, consumer-centric destination, where your most engaging content becomes fuel for your booking engine.

Start measuring your Hotels Social ROI, make it easy to track visits, shares, and bookings. By tracking content on an individual level, you can make decisions about what content is working and how you should use it as part of your marketing strategy.

User-generated content is dynamic and influenced by trends. Here is an infographic that illustrates this, and also show the importance of mastering Social Media.

Milllenial Travelers Infographic


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About the author

Are Morch is the founder and owner of Are Morch – Hotel Marketing Coach. Get more from Are on Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Instagram| Podcast