All for One and One for All

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But remember, this step is about making it easy for your customers to sing your praises. Asking them on the spot is a good way to plant the idea. But chances are, they’ll forget before they make it back home to a computer, and while TripAdvisor’s mobile site is good, they make you download the app if you want to write a review. Easy? I think not.

Whether or not you ask for a review at the end of your tour, make sure you remind them when they’re most likely to comply: while they’re sitting at their computer.

With booking and marketing software, you can automatically send review requests after every tour. Some systems, like Xola, will also let you customize the email and direct the review to the three big sites: TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Google+.

That’s just the half of it, though. Besides your customers, you have another group of people primed for user generated content creation: your guides.

Though they work for you, they still represent the unfiltered “peer” perspective that makes UGC such a powerful voice. As you brainstorm ways to engage your customers, keep your guides in mind as potential content providers.

Give Them a Nudge

Incentives and contests can go a long way when it comes to your UGC strategy. I love the idea of aligning your brand with a cause that speaks to your customers.

For example, Clif Bar & Co. created its #MeetTheMoment campaign and incentivized customers through a philanthropic lens. Every time someone posted on its Instagram account and used that hashtag, Clif would donate to several environmental non-profits.

You don’t have to be Clif to run a successful UGC campaign. For Cannonsburg Ski Area, a simple Instagram contest turned into an overnight success. Cannonsburg hosted a photo sharing contest with the hashtag #mycannonsburg, where the winner won a season pass. Before long, they had thousands of submissions on Instagram.

“People were asking for t-shirts with #mycannonsburg on it,” says Alycia Choroszucha, who’s in charge of marketing and media for Cannonsburg. “They really latched on to it.”

It wasn’t an act of magic, though. Choroszucha consistently reminded Twitter followers to use the hashtag and even made it the cover photo of Cannonsburg’s profile. If you plan to start a UGC campaign, decide ahead of time how you’re going to stoke the fires.

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Cannonsburg helped raise awareness of its UGC campaign by making the ski area’s Twitter cover photo a billboard for it.

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About Author

Julia Barrero is a contributing columnist for Adventure Park Insider and the head of marketing at Xola, the booking and marketing software that zip lines, adventure parks, and other tour operators. Julia is also the lead writer behind Xola University, a business and marketing blog for tour industry professionals. She claims to have a writer's heart and a scientist's brain, which makes her a natural marketer. She specializes in data analysis for tour and activity companies. Through her blog posts, she hopes to turn tour operators everywhere into Jedi Marketing Masters.

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