User-generated content (UGC) has quickly grown to critical importance for travel & hospitality marketers. A recent PhocusWright study commissioned by TripAdvisor revealed that 49% of travelers consider reviews to be the most useful source of information when researching or planning a trip, and 53% won’t commit to booking until after they’ve read them.
The study, based on the survey results of 12,225 global respondents, presented a new twist on traditional conversations around UGC, revealing some interesting regional differences in how it is used – and how it influences booking decisions. Here are the key takeaways and calls to action for today’s travel brands:
Non-English-speaking travelers rely on reviews just as much as their English-speaking counterparts. In fact, Italian and Spanish travelers read restaurant reviews more religiously than British and American ones. The findings were similar when it came to posting reviews, with Italian travelers posting the most reviews and British ones posting the fewest.
How can travel & hospitality marketers tap this trend and maximize the impact?
- Monitor and Respond to UGC
Travel & hospitality marketers need to be tuned into social media and travel community sites where customers are posting reviews. For non-English UGC, travel & hospitality marketers must first be able to understand tweets, comments, and reviews. Theoretically they could do this by hiring native speakers to cover all strategic languages, though this might well be cost-prohibitive. Or a more cost effective solution would be to use translation technology and translation services to quickly translate. The emphasis here is on speed – linguistic precision is secondary as long as the sentiment is accurately discerned.
And then they need to respond quickly, with empathy and clarity, in the language of the commenter. This is where linguistic accuracy is most important, for authenticity. A timely, thoughtful response can turn around a negative perception, while no response – or an impersonal one – can further tarnish your brand image. Talk to your Language Services Provider about the right combination of technology and human translation to solve this challenge, and put in place a service level agreement to ensure you are able to respond to customers quickly.
- Amplify Positive UGC
The PhocusWright research makes it clear that this is a powerful trend that spans all languages – travelers across the globe are basing buying and booking decisions upon UGC. TripAdvisor (who commissioned the research) has taken this to heart. That’s why they automatically translate customer reviews into 13 languages, to the tune of 2 billion words per month using SDL machine translation technology. This amplifies the power of UGC, extending it to readers who speak a different language than the customer who entered the review. By doing this they have found bounce rates have dropped from 70% to 25%, and dwell times and page views and bookings have increased. Machine translation is perfect for this purpose: linguistic precision is good enough for readers to understand the sentiment, and it is a cost-effective way to handle high volume.
Here are some resources we’ve compiled to help travel & hospitality marketers learn more about solutions to their multilingual communication challenges:
Making the Most out of Multilingual User Generated Content
Your travelers are active and highly engaged on a number of social channels pre-, during and post-trip. Translation of what your customers are saying should be standard practice in a highly competitive global economy.
5 Travel Trends Shaping the Future of Digital Experience
The amount of user-generated content being created today is growing exponentially. Learn about the opportunities it affords today’s travel brands, and how machine translation technology can help you realize them. Learn 3 questions to ask and 4 things you need to do right now to get the most out of social.
Multilingual User Generated Content
TripAdvisor wanted to expand the reach of its English user generated reviews to its European market. Learn how they accomplished this business objective with an efficient and cost effective translation solution that could scale to handle the millions of user generated articles created each year.
Image credits: wersm.com