User generated content
The significance of the user reviews impact in the travel industry is unquestionable. In more than 95% of the online booking customers the buying decision was made based on previous guests’ reviews or testimonials. A series of positive user comments can lead a hotel or restaurant business to be fully booked for weeks or even months! This is the modern equivalent of the word-of-mouth that is equally effective as in the old pre-internet days but with the extra twist of speed. Digital information is transmitted instantly making it even more powerful.
Everything consumers publish on websites, social media chat rooms, text messages and emails in relation to their experience with a product or service is considered as User Generated Content. This content can be in the form of text, images or videos. Marketing has developed techniques like contests, photo captions and others, offering exciting benefits to generate positive user content. This content will then be used – triggering the mimic effect - to attract more customers and generate sales or similar behavior from other users.
The fact that future profit depends on subjective client critique could be frightening for the untrained business owner/manager across all industries. Mastering media management to direct User Generated Content is not easy at all. Professional marketers know that the subjective nature of this evaluation combined with the control programmers have on digital mediums, allows some space for filtering. The criteria used for that filtering could be based on specific keywords that could automatically activate alerts or even cut-off comments.
Yes it can produce substantial revenue but it can also cause damage. This is why you should “never try this at home”, always consult a professional marketer to plan effective User Generated Content activities for your business.