The power of user-generated content

How your customers find and book tours and activities has changed dramatically over the years.

Although older media still has its place, magazine ads, leaflet drops, and brochures target your audience much less effectively than digital channels. But things have changed again in 2019: even how you promote your products digitally has changed.

Today’s online customers want more than to simply see ads about your products; they need social proof to help them make an informed decision.

They need this proof to trust your business before they even think about buying from you and the most effective way to do this is through user-generated content.

The stats don’t lie. A recent study by Stackla,, found that around 86 percent of consumers will be attracted to a destination after looking at user-generated content. And if your target audience is ‘Gen Z’ (those born between 1981-1996), this number rises to 92 percent!

Take these figures into context by comparing them to professional brand images, where 19 percent of consumers will be attracted to a destination if they see high-quality professional branding. With celebrity and influencer content, the figure is where 12%! Your customers’ content wins hands down every time.

This is why my team at Tourism Marketing Agency always recommend building up a library of images and videos from your own customers. It’s a vital part of many marketing strategies (there are exceptions) and it’s something that can run itself pretty smoothly once you set up some processes. 

Why does user-generated content appeal to people?

When someone interested in your product sees a real customer enjoying the experience with your business, it makes it easier for them to picture themselves in that situation.

It’s a psychological affirmation for them, instilling trust and excitement in your product. But there is so much more to user-generated content….

When used in conjunction with good, story-telling content, you will build your brand as an authority within your particular niche market.

If done correctly, this content can have long-lasting, positive effects on your business as it will act as a driver to your brand, website and products more effectively than paid advertising. This is an important tip to highlight.

User-generated content + paid advertising

Running ads to promote your product to people you have not ‘warmed up’ through your content first, will result in you spending more money for less return. Ads are best placed to drive your target customers to high-value content.

For example, say you run a bike tour company and you have been running Facebook ads promoting a bike tour of San Francisco. Yes, you may receive some bookings but it would be more effective to run ads targeting people interested in bike tours to a guide about ‘The Top 5 Photo Spots in San Francisco’.

This drives people who are genuinely interested in this subject to your guide, raising awareness of your brand, building that authority and trust. You will receive more click-throughs to an article than a product!

The guide would/should contain photos, and possibly video, from your customers with only 1-2 links to specific products, without making it salesy. From here, create a second ad that targets those who visited that page. Through time, I bet you will receive more bookings using this method.

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