We've all heard about content marketing. It's been big news for quite some time now and content is very much the currency of the digital world. But while content may be golden, it is also time-consuming and can often be expensive. That's where user generated content comes into play, offering travel businesses an easy, affordable and engaging way to produce content.

So, what exactly is user generated content? It is content, such as images, videos, reviews and testimonials, created by visitors and added to websites. User generated content is making an impact in the travel industry as customer reviews often determine whether or not a traveller makes a booking. In today's digital world of online conversations and social platforms, people are far more inclined to trust peer to peer reviews than the information and assurances put online by businesses. They want to refer to credible, neutral sources in order to make an informed choice. Here we take a look at the pros and cons of user generated content for the travel industry:

The pros

  • It allows users to get their voice heard about their stay or overall holiday experience

  • It gives people the chance to share their thoughts and knowledge with a global audience

  • It allows businesses to listen to their customers and understand any issues that affect their experience

  • It allows businesses to provide a better experience for future customers

  • It provides travellers with more confidence when making their booking

  • Customers are already creating online content on social media platforms and enjoying it, so user generated content is merely an extension of that

The cons

  • Hotels and travel businesses have no control over what an individual says in their reviews

  • If a business attempts to delete any negative comments or reviews it can create a sense of distrust among customers

  • It is hard to control spammers on user generated content sites and customers tend not to use websites filled with spam

  • A negative review can act as a deterrent to potential customers

  • Travel businesses need to act quickly in order to use a bad review as an opportunity to improve customer service, as if not it can be detrimental to business

  • There is no way of knowing whether a reviewer is biased; it's up to the reader to gauge what information they trust – which is not a simple task