Tourism Marketing: Promote Your Destination With User-Generated Content

Improve Your Tourism Marketing Strategy by Displaying User-Generated Content on Your Website

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Inspired by the phrase “Pics or it didn’t happen,” Walls.io offers you the best solution to boost your tourism marketing strategy. All you have to do is get a social wall, collect user-generated content from your destination’s visitors, and display them on your website.

User-generated content is the eWOM that attracts visitors

People love seeing other regular people review places they are thinking of visiting. If they find reviews and social proof from people they can identify with on your website, you have almost guaranteed a new visitor for your destination.

UGC is a form of eWOM (electronic word-of-mouth). According to this paper, “Consumers can use the Internet to mimic sources of information that they would have traditionally received from ‘real world’ sources.” One example of these sources of information is website content such as travel reviews, pictures and video. 

By letting website visitors see UGC created by your guests, you are providing them with valuable eWOM that will encourage them to book a vacation at your destination. 

Now, let’s talk about how easy it is to collect UGC for your website.

Sharpen your tourism marketing strategy with a hashtag campaign

A hashtag campaign is the most effective way to: 

  1. promote your destination and 
  2. collect content from visitors. 

But fear not, as there is no need to jump straight into a full-on hashtag campaign from the beginning. 

Start slow with an event hashtag campaign

Many tourist destinations using Walls.io started with a social media hashtag campaign for a specific event before expanding and setting up permanent social walls. 

The region Saalbach Hinterglemm in Salzburg ran their first hashtag campaign for the Ski World Cup in 2015, which we covered on our blog. Today, Saalbach runs 6 social walls, both general and event-focused ones.

Starting with a specific event allows you to figure out and test how you can use hashtags and social walls to interact with your visitors and target audience. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll know better how to set up the permanent wall for your destination.

Once ready, set up a permanent hashtag campaign 

Most of the time, running a hashtag campaign means coming up with a unique and memorable hashtag. But when you’re setting up a wall for an existing tourist destination, you have to consider which hashtags are already in use.

Likely, visitors are already posting great content featuring your region to social media, but they might be using a variety of hashtags that seem natural to them.

“The most-used hashtags are those that are intuitive, like town names, and we don’t even have to promote those hashtags, apart from consistently using them on our own channels, of course.”

– Paul Kubalek, Tourism Association Saalbach

When you’re setting up a social media wall for a destination, do your research about hashtags that your visitors are naturally using. Use hashtag analytics tools like RiteTag, Ingrammer and Hashtagify to research related hashtags. Having a look at Google Trends can’t hurt either.

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And even if you don’t actively promote your town’s name as a hashtag, make sure you include all variations, including common misspellings, in your Walls.io keyword settings.

Successful tourism marketing examples featuring social walls 

To give you a taste of the wonders you can achieve by adding a social wall with UGC to your website, we collected the following examples. 

Wellness resorts using a social wall

The category is Wellness Resorts Realness 🧖. First off, we have Thermen & Badewelt Sinsheim. This destination displays its unique social media content on its landing page. As soon as you enter the website and scroll through, you find fantastic pictures of the resort. 

Screenshot of Thermen & Badewelt Sinsheim’s social media wall. The image shows different photos of the hotel’s facilities, food and sunsets.
Thermen & Badewelt Sinsheim’s social media wall displaying photos of the hotel’s facilities, food and sunsets.  

Therme Euskirchen displays relaxing imagery with wellness tips on their website using a social wall. They show website visitors beautiful pictures of the lounge areas and people relaxing. The captions of these images provide advice on how guests can learn to relax.

Screenshot of Therme Euskirchen’s social media wall. The image shows different photos of the hotel’s facilities and people meditating and relaxing.
Therme Euskirchen’s social media wall displaying photos of the hotel’s facilities and wellness tip (in German).  

Eurotherme has more of a UGC focus and exhibits a mix of pictures by visitors and from the hotel’s social profiles. Guests can post pictures with the hashtag #Eurotherme, which are then automatically collected by the social wall. 

Screenshot of Eurotherme’s social media wall. The image shows different photos from guests enjoying the facilities.
Eurotherme’s social media wall displaying photos from guests enjoying the facilities.

ReiterALM also collects and displays social media content published by their guests. From snow hearts to skiing, the social wall gives website visitors an idea of what they can expect to find and do at and around the hotel. 

Screenshot of ReiterALM’s social media wall. The image shows photos from guests skiing, doing outdoor and indoor activities.
ReiterALM’s social media wall displaying photos from guests skiing, doing outdoor and indoor activities.

bike’n soul hotel in the Saalbach region also features a social wall on their website. They collect content from their social media profiles to give website visitors an idea of the biking activities that await them here. 

Screenshot of bike‘n soul’s social media wall. The image shows photos from guests biking in the Saalbach area.
bike‘n soul’s social media wall displaying photos from guests biking in the Saalbach area.

To close the round of resorts/hotels, we have Pradas Resort. This hotel, located in Switzerland, set up a social wall that collects content from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube with the hashtag #PradasResort. They are also adding their own content to the wall and use it to communicate information about fun activities or upcoming events.

Screenshot of Pradas Resort’s social media wall. The image shows a photo of a person skiing, along with the caption “Soo ready for this, ❄️, #ski #pow #powder #brigels #graubunden.
Pradas Resort’s social media wall displaying a guest’s Instagram post.

Travel agency using a social wall 

YOLO Reisen, now Chamäleon Reisen, used a social media wall to complement their tourism marketing strategy. Since their main goal is to plan trips for customers, their wall displayed photos from customer’s adventurous trips.  

Screenshot of Yolo Reisen social media wall. The image shows eight photos of people having various adventures around the world.
Yolo Reisen social media wall displaying Instagram posts from their customers’ travels.

Cities using social walls as newsrooms

Matterhorn, one of Switzerland’s best-known mountains, used a social media feed to promote tourism in the area. Their website encouraged tourists to follow the Matterhorn Instagram account while displaying photos of people skiing and enjoying food and drinks. 

Screenshot of Matterhorn’s social media wall. The image shows eight photos of people skiing in the area.
Matterhorn’s social media wall displaying Instagram posts from people skiing and enjoying the area.

Ingolstadt, a city in Bavaria, Germany, uses several social newsrooms on their websites. They display a newsroom on the city’s official website, just like one for the Ingolstadt fire department and one specifically for COVID-19 information. They also display the social wall on a screen at city hall. 

The Vienna Tourist Board uses a social content aggregator to display their beautiful Instagram feed on the website. The images they post on their social media accounts serve as travel inspiration for people who like to discover travel destinations using social platforms. 

Screenshot of Vienna Tourist Board’s social media wall. The image shows different Viennese sceneries.
Vienna Tourist Board’s social media wall displaying beautiful Viennese sceneries. 

The Austrian National Tourist Board, “Österreich Werbung”, is Austria’s tourism marketing organisation. They have multiple social walls in different languages to attract tourists from all over the world. 

Here, you see two examples for the Austrian National Tourist Office’s market-specific websites with the relevant social walls embedded. On the left, is the website for the Arabic region. On the right, the Hungarian website.

UGC is the eWOM your guests are looking for

The takeaway from these examples is that user-generated content is a powerful tool for promoting tourist destinations. Your guests want to look at people enjoying a destination before booking their own vacation there. Embedding a social wall on your website functions as electronic word-of-mouth, and it’s often the last push people need to hit that “book now” button. 

Travel agencies, wellness resorts, and even cities are already trusting social walls to attract tourists.

Now it’s your turn to give social walls a try.

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