With the emergence of social media, and visual-rich website experiences, visual storytelling has become a necessity for hotels to stand out online today.
Hotels don’t necessarily need to produce a sea of content in order to have plenty of fresh, interesting media. This is the 21st century, take advantage of the internet and social media by crowdsourcing content from guests.
What is Crowdsourcing?
In case you didn’t know, crowdsourcing means accomplishing a task with the help of a crowd of people on the internet. Collectively working together and putting their ideas together online with hundreds or thousands of other people allows for an optimized result. It is basically the outsourcing of a task to a crowd of people to complete cooperatively, and it works particularly well for hotels looking to become visual storytellers. You can use an online community to obtain endless amounts of unique and inspiring guest photos and videos by encouraging guests to tag your hotel in their social media posts, especially on Instagram.
Just take a look at the Freehand Miami, a hostel that truly stands out thanks to their excellent job of curating, publishing, and amplifying guest’s photos on their website. Even with a limited budget, properties can successfully crowdsource via any social media channel, especially Instagram, to create exciting and compelling visual stories.
Get Started with Crowdsourcing
With all that in mind, why shouldn’t your property take advantage of this modern and exciting marketing tool? Encouraging guests to share photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and review sites is a great way to keep content current and see your property through the eyes of consumers. Often the photos shared by guests online are telling your hotel’s story on your behalf or even identifying a story you may not be aware of. Use this to your advantage by curating and amplifying those visual stories.
Before you get started, have a look at some of the essential Do’s and Don’ts we’ve compiled.
Do keep photos fresh and up-to-date by curating crowdsourced images on a regular basis in addition to your professional content
Don’t completely let go of your professional photography, travel shoppers want to see your full story through a mix of authentic and professional photos
Don’t publish your guest’s photos on your website as your own without doing your research, and without obtaining permission first
Do use crowdsourcing to monitor how customers view your hotel, and what they find interesting enough to share online
Don’t ignore the free feedback that those guest photos are providing your hotel, use the feedback to make improvements
Do select the best and most compelling guest photos to host on your website to ensure a consistent story and message
Don’t confuse travel shoppers by using absolutely every photo that gets posted about your hotel
Do encourage guests to post the photos on social media using a predetermined hashtag to make finding and selecting photos as easy as possible, and not to mention publicly available
Don’t use photos from a guest’s personal copyrighted website
Do include as many photos as you need on your website in order to accurately tell your hotel’s story
Don’t set a limit for yourself and don’t withhold images that tell your story
Do curate your guest photos with the intention of appealing directly to your target audiences
Don’t send an irrelevant message that won’t resonate with your target audience
Do be creative with crafting visually compelling amenities, decorations, breakfasts, etc. in your hotel that lures guests to snap a photo and share it online
Don’t leave guests without a reason to take photos of your hotel during their stay
Do involve guests in this engaging and exciting experience by giving them credit and informing them online when you used one of their photos
Don’t treat social media as a one way broadcast channel, instead you should treat it as a two-way dialogue
The Standard Way
The Standard is another hotel that is using crowdsourcing right for their visual storytelling by following the essential do’s and don’ts. They don’t solely rely on guest photos to fuel their website’s gallery, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t prominently featured. Travel shoppers have the pleasure of seeing professional and crowd-sourced photos on a single page, painting a focused and authentic story. By including a balanced combination of professional and crowd-sourced photos, the Standard creates a highly impactful visual story for their brand.
Visual Storytelling+ Crowdsourced Media = Superstar Storyteller
Visual storytelling can make a world of difference to travel shoppers who are deciding to book their next vacation or business trip. With the help of crowdsourcing, hotels can easily collect and amplify their story online in a genuine way. The travel shopper’s journey doesn’t end after they step out of your front door, so make sure to monitor and curate their online activity, and allow your hotel to take full advantage of this unique opportunity.
Want to learn more about turning your website into a visual masterpiece?
Download our free eBook Anatomy of a Visual First Experience: Best Practices for Hotel Marketers to learn how to get your hotel website into shape through visual revitalization!