eJourney Tourism

Put your fans in the driver’s seat… DMOs must leverage User-Generated Content

April 14th, 2015

You’d be hard pressed not to find a destination marketing expert out there who would not gladly expound on the virtues of using user-generated content to promote a tourism destination or product. So we decided to add our voice to the chorus…

We couldn’t sum it up any better than destination marketing expert and former chief executive of Cape Town Tourism, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, who says: “Nobody is interested in what a DMO says about a destination; [but] when a DMO creates a platform for stories by local people, top bloggers and travellers, magic happens..Visitors are [then] enticed to experience the destination for themselves.

Research shows that consumers are more likely to trust the opinion of other consumers, people they know or travel bloggers over traditional brand advertising. And as Hospitality Marketing suggests: “Rather than creating content, efficient, time-crunched DMOs save time by curating and leveraging existing content” on social media platforms.

Some DMOs have realised their job is not to promote the DMO. Rather, their efforts should be directed at facilitating and leveraging the content posted by fans of the destination, both local and visitors.

Who’s getting it right?

One DMO that cottoned on to this quickly is Tourism Australia, whose much-publicised social media initiative saw that DMO hand over its Facebook page to its fans encouraging them to take and post photos on both Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #seeaustralia. Tourism Australia then simply tracked the hashtag and highlighted those photos, effectively recruiting a team of millions of Australia fans to create and share content about the destination. The Tourism Australia team in fact only numbered three.

maxresdefaultCloser to home, South African Tourism’s #MeetSouthAfrica campaign showcases the destination through the eyes of its people and fans who upload content across social media platforms using the hashtag: #MeetSouthAfrica.

The campaign cleverly draws on the influence and content of trusted and established travel bloggers, both local and international, to share their story about Destination South Africa with their hundreds of thousands of followers, giving the destination authenticity and leveraging the power of organic word of mouth. That’s right, once again, the traveller doesn’t care about what the DMO has to say. They care about what their peers or heroes are saying.

And that doesn’t mean you have to hire a roomful of content writers to churn out blogposts. In SA Tourism’s case, the #MeetSouthAfrica YouTube video, one of the components of the content strategy, has been viewed a whopping two million times since it was published in May 2014.

So take a leap of faith and think how you could get your fans and ambassadors to start posting and sharing content about you…






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