5 New Places to Use Social Photos and Videos in Your Destination Marketing

Most destinations are now using user-generated content in their marketing.

While UGC works amazingly well on Instagram and your website, there are tons of other creative places destination organizations can feature social photos and videos – including some you probably haven’t considered before.

Not quite sure where to start? Here are six places you never thought to – and most definitely should – use UGC.

Digital ads

People are bombarded with ads all day long. We’re less receptive to traditional ads, which has created a new challenge for brands that want to make a lasting impression.

Here’s where visual UGC comes into the picture. It offers a fresh, relatable perspective that resonates with your customers. Maybe that’s why 70% of customers trust UGC more than traditional marketing content and Facebook ads with UGC visuals have a 300% higher click-through rate.

Visual UGC can help bridge the gap and allow brands to establish a strong connection with their audience. The goal here isn’t for promotional content to stand out – it’s to blend in with content shared by other travelers.

Visit Indy created a series of ads that were made completely of UGC, in an effort to make their ads feel more authentic.

“Visitors want to see other visitors interacting in the space, so 2018 is the first year that in our social ad buy, we decided and pledged that we’re only going to use UGC images within the ad buy.” says Christine Zetzl, the Digital Marketing Manager at Visit Indy.

Their use of UGC in their ads helped increase their click-through rate by 3x on Facebook ads.

Digital Displays

Another clever way for travel organizations to capitalize on visual UGC is by including it in digital displays, from the ones in your visitor center to even your own office.

Not only do customers respond better to authentic content than purely promotional content, it helps them picture themselves in different scenarios. So using UGC to suggest activities or local restaurants is a resourceful way to feed your audience’s imagination.

Digital displays with UGC also provide in-the-moment reminders that customers should capture and share their experiences on social media.

Visitor Guides

When people flip through visitor guides, they want to see experiences that they can identify with. You can capture those authentic experience with visual UGC. And as a sweet bonus, that also means you can stretch your photography budget. 

Here are a few fun ways to include more social photos in your visitor guides:

  • Add a section called “Where Locals Hang Out” that offers an insider perspective and photos of local hotspots.
  • Create a page called “The Social Media Bucket List for [Your Destination]” to highlight the most popular sites, attractions, and activities that visitors post about on Instagram.
  • Go all in with a “fully social” visitor guide. This is exactly what West Virginia did and the result is incredible

Need some guidance? Read this step by step guide on how to create a visitor’s guide with user-generated content!

Media outreach

It’s a great feeling when journalists and bloggers reach out for information so they can write about your destination. What’s not so great is when they need very specific photos for their articles and you don’t have any that match.

Or do you?

Once you add visual UGC to the mix, your pool of high-quality photos grows significantly. The more variety in your visual content, the higher your chances of finding an exact match for the journalist’s request.

Submitting UGC to media outlets also gives your visitors more widespread recognition for their awesome visuals. Plus, customers are more likely to share articles and blog posts starring their photos.


You already give your customers a voice on your website and social media through crowd-sourced images, so why not video?

Video is already dominating the web and continuing to gain traction. In fact, video is expected to make up 80% of internet traffic by 2021.

Showcasing travel videos is a dynamic way to let your customers share trip experiences. You can even compile multiple clips and pictures together for a more powerful impact than photos alone.

Check out Destination Canada’s amazing video, Canada Shared By Canadians, to see how visual UGC can come together to bring a destination to life.

This video went viral to get 1.28 million views (and counting) on YouTube!

Use visual UGC to breathe new life into every corner of your marketing

Travelers love relatable visual content that helps them imagine their own dream vacation. Whether an image inspires someone to learn more about a destination or book the next flight out of town, UGC provides a realness that destination organizations need if they want to connect with their next visitors.

About the Author

Amrita Gurney headshot
Amrita Gurney
Vice President of Marketing
Amrita leads a team responsible for brand, content, product marketing and demand generation. CrowdRiff is the leading AI-powered visual marketing platform used by 500+ tourism brands to discover, organize, acquire rights and publish the most engaging visual content across every channel, at scale. Amrita loves digital marketing, contemporary art, drinking tea and travelling. You can find Amrita on Twitter at @amritagurney.