Social Media Marketing

Why Travel Brands Need User-Generated Content in 2024

In this article, you'll discover why UGC is a must-have for any travel brand aiming for success in 2024.


Are you a travel brand owner or a marketing professional in the travel industry? If so, you’ve likely felt the sting of outdated marketing strategies that just don’t resonate with today’s travelers. Billboards, TV ads, and even some digital campaigns are falling flat. Why? Because people crave authenticityโ€”they want to hear real experiences!

This is where User-Generated Content (UGC) comes into play. UGC is not just a buzzword; it’s a powerful tool that can breathe new life into your marketing efforts. By leveraging real stories shared by travelers, you can build trust, boost engagement, and even manage crises in real time.

In this article, you’ll discover why UGC is a must-have for any travel brand aiming for success in 2024. We’ll cover everything from gaining trust with authentic reviews to using blockchain for verified content. So if you’re ready to modernize your marketing and turn travelers into your most effective promoters, keep reading.

1) Get more trust with real reviews


Trust is hard to come by these days, especially when travelers are bombarded with polished ads that often don’t match reality. Real reviews from actual travelers can bridge this trust gap. When potential customers see genuine experiences and feedback, they’re more likely to trust your brand over competitors who only offer staged marketing.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰ Leverage UGC platforms that feature verified reviews. These platforms confirm that the reviewer has actually used your service, adding an extra layer of credibility. This feature can be a game-changer in building trust and converting hesitant travelers into loyal customers.

2) Show real travel, not just ads


Travelers are tired of seeing picture-perfect ads that don’t reflect the real experience. They want to know what they’re actually signing up for. User-generated content (UGC) gives them that real look into travel experiences, from the hidden cafes to the breathtaking views, straight from people who’ve been there. Travel vloggers can also help your brands in this area.ย 

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Use UGC platforms that allow users to tag specific locations and activities in their posts. This feature helps you collect authentic experiences that you can showcase on your website and social media. When potential customers see real people enjoying the activities and places you offer, they’re more likely to book with you

3) Capture local experiences with hyper-localized marketing


Generic travel ads often miss the mark because they don’t capture the local flavor that makes a destination unique. Travelers are increasingly seeking authentic local experiences, and UGC can deliver just that. When real travelers share their local adventures, it adds a layer of authenticity that no staged ad can match.

For example, imagine promoting a local New Orleans jazz bar through UGC instead of a generic ad. The atmosphere, the music, and the crowd come to life in a way that staged marketing can’t capture.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Take advantage of geo-tagging features on UGC platforms. Collect posts that tag specific local spots or activities. Then, use this content to create targeted marketing campaigns during seasons or events when those experiences are most relevant. This way, you’re not just promoting a destination; you’re promoting an authentic local experience.

4) Handle issues quickly with real-time crisis management

When things go wrong, like flight delays or hotel issues, travelers are quick to share their frustrations online. While this might seem like a nightmare for travel brands, it’s actually an opportunity. UGC can serve as an early warning system, allowing you to address issues before they escalate and harm your reputation.ย 

For example, if multiple travelers are posting about long wait times at your resort’s check-in, that’s a red flag you can act on immediately.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Use UGC platforms that offer real-time monitoring and keyword alerts. Set up alerts for terms like “delay,” “bad service,” or “dirty rooms.” This way, you can catch negative experiences as they happen and take quick action to resolve them.

5) Show you're green with sustainable travel advocacy

Travelers are becoming more conscious about their environmental impact, and they want to choose brands that share this concern. But saying you’re eco-friendly isn’t enough; you need to show it. UGC can help you do just that. When travelers share their own experiences with your brand’s sustainable practices, it’s far more convincing than any ad.

For example, if guests post pictures of your hotel’s water-saving fixtures or recycling bins, it’s a strong endorsement of your eco-friendly claims.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Use UGC platforms to run campaigns that encourage travelers to share their sustainable travel experiences with your brand. Offer rewards or discounts for the best posts to motivate more people to participate. This not only validates your eco-friendly practices but also spreads the word about responsible travel.

6) Discover customer preferences with "Learn what travelers want"

It’s tough to keep up with ever-changing traveler preferences. What was popular last year might not be this year. UGC can be your secret weapon here. By paying attention to what real travelers are posting and talking about, you can get a clear picture of what’s in demand. For example, if you notice a lot of posts about a specific hiking trail near your resort, that’s a clue it’s a hot attraction right now.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Use the analytics feature on UGC platforms to track what places or activities are getting the most mentions or likes. This data can guide you in updating your offerings or marketing campaigns to match what travelers are currently interested in.

7) Craft unique journeys with personalized travel plans

Travelers don’t want a one-size-fits-all experience; they’re looking for something tailored just for them. UGC can help you offer that personalized touch. By analyzing posts, reviews, and tags, you can understand what specific activities or places resonate with different types of travelers.

Imagine a newly-wedded couple posts about enjoying a romantic sunset cruise you offer. That’s a sign this experience could be highlighted in itineraries for couples.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Use UGC platforms that offer AI-driven analytics. These platforms can automatically analyze user posts and reviews to suggest personalized travel itineraries. By doing so, you’re not just meeting customer expectations, you’re exceeding them.

8) Boost your online presence with "Get found online easier"

In a crowded online space, standing out is a big challenge. You might have the best travel experiences to offer, but if people can’t find you online, it’s like you don’t exist. UGC can be a game-changer here. When travelers share their experiences and tag your brand, it creates organic content that can improve your search engine rankings.

Let’s say a traveler tags your adventure park in a post about zip-lining. This kind of content can help you rank higher for “adventure activities” in search engines.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Encourage travelers to include specific keywords in their UGC posts. Use prompts or hashtags like “#BestZipLineEver” to generate content that aligns with search terms people are likely to use. Feature these keyword-rich posts on your website and social media to improve your search engine rankings.

9) Embrace diversity with cultural sensitivity and inclusivity

Travel is all about exploring different cultures, but it’s easy for brands to unintentionally overlook or misrepresent them. UGC can be a valuable tool in understanding and respecting the diverse cultures your travelers come from or are interested in. Consider a scenario where travelers from Japan praise your hotel’s tea ceremony service. This is a cue that you’re hitting the mark on cultural authenticity.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Use UGC platforms to collect posts that highlight cultural experiences or norms. Then, create culture-specific guides or content based on this authentic feedback. It not only shows that you understand and respect different cultures but also educates other travelers looking for similar experiences.


10) Try before you go with virtual reality previews

Booking a trip is a big commitment, and travelers often wish they could experience a place before actually going. Virtual reality (VR) combined with UGC offers a solution. Real traveler experiences can be transformed into immersive VR previews, letting potential customers “visit” a place before booking.ย 

Imagine someone taking a VR tour of your beach resort, based on actual guest photos and reviews. It’s a powerful way to give them a taste of what’s to come.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Partner with tech companies that specialize in VR to create these experiences. Use high-quality UGC like 360-degree photos or videos as the basis for your VR content. This adds an extra layer of authenticity and can be a unique selling point for your brand.

11) Make smarter deals with smart pricing strategies

Pricing can be a tricky game in the travel industry. Charge too much and you scare customers away; charge too little and you leave money on the table. UGC can offer insights into when demand for certain destinations or activities peaks or dips, helping you set smarter prices.

Take a situation where you notice fewer posts about skiing trips during the spring. That’s a hint that demand is low and maybe it’s time for a special deal.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Use analytics features on UGC platforms to track the popularity of different destinations or activities. When you see interest waning, adjust your prices or offer special deals to attract more customers.

12) Connect with everyone by reaching all age groups

The beauty of travel is that it appeals to people of all ages, from college students looking for adventure to retirees seeking relaxation. But marketing to such a diverse audience can be challenging. UGC is the answer because it naturally spans multiple age groups, offering something relatable for everyone.

Suppose you see posts from families enjoying a kid-friendly beach day and seniors loving your spa services. That’s valuable info for targeting different age groups.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Use UGC platforms that allow you to sort content by the age of the contributor. This way, you can tailor your marketing campaigns to resonate with specific age groups, making your advertising more effective and inclusive.


13) Strengthen your network with better business partnerships

In the travel industry, partnerships can make or break your success. Whether it’s local restaurants, tour guides, or activity providers, choosing the right partners is crucial. UGC can offer an unbiased look into how these potential partners are perceived by real travelers.

Say you notice a local restaurant frequently tagged in positive posts. That’s a strong indicator they’d make a great partner for your travel package deals.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: When negotiating with potential business partners, present positive UGC as part of your pitch. It not only shows that the partner is well-received but also that your brand has a community of engaged travelers who could become their customers too.


14) Build rock-solid trust with blockchain-verified reviews

In an age where fake reviews can be easily bought and manipulated, trust is more fragile than ever. That’s where blockchain technology comes in. It uses a decentralized network to record transactions, making it nearly impossible to alter or fake data once it’s been added.

When a review is posted, blockchain verifies the identity and experience of the reviewer, and then securely logs this information. This means that every review you showcase has been verified and is tamper-proof. So when you tell your customers that each review has been blockchain-verified, you’re offering them a level of trust that’s hard to beat.

Tip to ace this step ๐Ÿ‘‰: Research blockchain platforms that specialize in secure, verified UGC. Implementing this technology not only assures potential customers that your reviews are genuine but also sets you apart as a forward-thinking brand in the travel industry.

Big brands like Marriott and Hyatt have effectively used UGC to cut costs and build trust. Marriott reduced content costs by relying on employee-generated content for their branding campaign, while Hyattโ€™s #InAHyattWorld campaign led to a significant influx of guest-generated content, showcasing the cost-effectiveness of UGC in the industry.

UGC benefits all industries, but travel brands can skim the sweetest cream of it

UGC is a powerful tool for any industry, but for travel brands, it’s like striking gold. The opportunities are endless, limited only by how creatively you can leverage this resource. Whether it’s building trust through real reviews or offering personalized travel plans, UGC provides a wealth of options to connect with your audience.

Platforms like Idukki are taking it a step further by offering smart suggestions to help you get the most out of your user-generated content. They analyze data and trends to give you fresh ideas, ensuring you’re always ahead of the curve.

So don’t wait. Dive into the world of UGC today and start building your market authority before it becomes a crowded space.

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