ugc travel marketing

Focusing on guest happiness and experience isn’t just something that Norwegian Cruise Line does on their cruise ships – it’s also a driving force for the digital media strategies. We recently got to discuss these efforts along with future trends with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Social Media Manager, Evelyn Macki. A big focus for Macki and her team? User-generated content.

Content shared by guests is collected, rights-cleared, organized, and published through the Chute platform. The Norwegian Cruise Line team also enables their crew to create and share by providing them with the Chute Capture App, where they can take photos, easily get model release signatures from any guests featured, and then share back with the social team.

Why so much focus on user-generated content? Put simply, it’s effective.

“Most of the content we publish is user-generated content, and our community responds much more to UGC than stock from an engagement perspective,” Macki said. “The integration of UGC into our content strategy has definitely been an effective one.”

Cruise Line UGC

And true engagement is a vital metric for Macki. Her team wants to really know what content is driving brand love, so while using authentic content is important, they also make sure their copy encourages real interaction over empty likes.

“Some brands continue to ask fans “to like or to heart,” we don’t see this type of engagement as valid or a true depiction of fan affinity,” she said. “We like our posts to inspire engagement due to quality and creativity of content, not because we are directly requesting it.”

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Being a source of great content for consumers means always being aware of upcoming trends and thinking about how to best implement them. What does she see as a big future focus for all travel marketers? Macki said that video, particularly 360 and virtual reality, should be on the radar of travel marketers. However, the challenge she’s seeing already is keeping consumers engaged and excited about the format – which takes good storytelling.

“While 360 is growing in popularity, it is really still not fully adopted,” she said. “Some people are into it, others get bored after a few seconds. I think the challenge for marketers is leveraging the technology but not relying on the 360 format to be the main driver of engagement. Marketers will still need to tell a good story via 360, it cannot just be 360 for the sake of 360.”

As consumers also adapt to viewing and creating their own 360 video, this could be yet another way to bring authentic visuals into a travel brand’s arsenal.

About The Author

Monica is a book hoarder and gets overexcited about community-driven marketing. She lives in New York City and dreams of a day when a landlord will let her have a cat.

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