17 Apr How and Why Your Luxury Hotel Should Use UGC
So you think luxury hotels can’t use user-generated content (UGC) because it’s not polished enough? Take some notes from the Four Seasons, Hyatt, and W Hotels.
Luxury hotels develop marketing strategies to ensure that their property looks and is portrayed just right, exactly as they (or their hotel marketing agency) planned, so it’s understandable that the prospect of using user-generated content (UGC) – in all its unprofessional, unpolished, sometimes off-kilter glory – can be a little scary. However, according to research firm L2, hotels that integrate UGC into their Instagram feeds generate six times the engagement over those that don’t. So, not only can it be done – the hotels we profile below prove it – it should be done, as part of any well-rounded hotel marketing strategy.
From a devoted UGC microsite to a defined UGC gallery that’s an essential part of W Hotels’ photo galleries, here are three ways top luxury hotel brands are integrating UGC with marketing strategies that align with their very high-end brands.
1. W Hotels
Every luxury hotel brand spends a fortune on the meticulously set up room and architectural shots of their properties. Unfortunately, we all know that these polished marketing photos don’t always reflect reality. W Hotels has an interesting approach to this dynamic. When you’re browsing properties on their website, there are two photo galleries for each: one, full of professional photos, and another, called Guest Gallery, which comprises photos from guests – shots of rooms, window views, close-ups of (real!) food, and more. They even include the original poster’s caption, Instagram username, and the photo’s date.
Hyatt has a full microsite dedicated to UGC that’s built around their hashtag, #WorldOfHyatt. On the creation side, this allows guests to simply use the hashtag to be included on the microsite (though there’s a filtering process) or, for those without an Instagram account, upload to the microsite directly. People browsing the site, considering staying with Hyatt, can sort by different Destination Inspirations like “Family Friendly,” “Beaches,” and “Golf,” giving it an almost Pinterest-like feel for those in the dreaming phase of the traveler journey. Visitors can also narrow their searches by sorting by locations and brands.
3. Four Seasons
Even a brand as buttoned up and devoted to evoking luxury as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts sees the value – and power – of UGC as a part of their social media marketing strategy. Focus on Four Seasons (and the accompanying hashtag, #FocusFSchallenge) was a relatively straightforward UGC photo contest. And yet thousands submitted entries. Perhaps wooed by the hefty prize: Three winning photographers each were awarded a six-day vacation to two different Four Seasons properties. While other hotels do contests with a primary focus of getting guests to promote the property to their friends, Four Seasons took the smart step of defining ways to then use that content, including sharing some of the images with their more than 600,000 Instagram followers.