Guestsourcing: The Art of Turning Your Guests Into Content Producers.
By Josiah Mackenzie
Saturday, 18th July 2009
I'd like to create a new word that summarizes how hotels can effectively participate in today's web:

Guestsourcing: the practice of sourcing content from customers in the hospitality industry.

Terms such as user-generated content (UGC) and crowdsourcing have been popular for the past 4 or 5 years, but I find them unsatisfactory for this concept.
  • UGC can refer to anything from product reviews to opensource software; guestsourcing should apply only to rich media in the travel & hospitality context
  • Crowdsourcing is a term better applied to project-based work; guestsourcing should be an ongoing process
    It's time we had a specific label for this concept in the travel & hospitality marketing industry.
Advantages of guestsourcing

Greater depth of information: there's a reason Wikipedia is over 25 times larger than the Encyclopedia Britannica – everyone working together can create more content than one individual organization. A wide range of information is essential for reaching the long tail of niche web searches.

Guest's perspective: Travel planners would rather hear from other guests than from marketers like us

Potential to increase brand loyalty: Active participation in content production can create a sense of ownership

Increased search visibility: Neislen Buzz Metrics reports 26% of all search results link to user-created content

Free & candid market research: Guests will be freely talking about what they like and don't like – without interruptive surveys or focus groups

What types of content?

Guestsourcing primarily focuses on five areas of searchable content:
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Wikis (for destination information)
  • Blog posts
  • Audio (to a lesser degree)
Guest-written reviews – like the ones you find on TripAdvisor – fall outside the definition of this term. While this type of guest-produced content is essential for any hotel marketing effort, much has been written on this topic and no further definition is needed.

Blog posts, however, represent a unique type of contribution to an organization's web presence, and should come under the category of guestsourcing.

Traits of highly effective guestsourcing
  • A plan and organizational culture of actively encouraging guests to produce content
  • Providing resources and access to produce the content
  • Explaining a way to organize content uploaded to the internet
  • Creating a central access point for others to access the content
  • Developing sharing mechanisms to distribute the content
Original article: www.hotelmarketingstrategies.com/guestsourcing

About the author
This blog is written by Josiah Mackenzie, who enjoys exploring the relationship between emerging technology and the hospitality industry.

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