Why Destination Canada Built the World’s First Country-Wide UGC Partner Network

By Elizabeth Ching, Crowdriff

As a marketer, you know user-generated content (UGC) can be a fantastic resource for your destination. Sharing traveler experiences is an authentic and powerful source of inspiration – but only if you can find the best UGC to promote your destination.

With today’s travelers creating and consuming more visual content than ever, there’s tons of UGC to sift through. This makes finding the best visual content time-consuming and challenging for DMOs of all shapes and sizes.

That’s why Destination Canada has adopted a country-wide UGC Partner Network – to make sourcing UGC visuals a lot more collaborative and efficient across DMOs.

Let’s take a look at what the network looks like, how it came to be, and how it has benefitted Canadian travel brands.

The need for a collaborative approach to user-generated content

As many DMOs in the province of British Columbia were early adopters of UGC in their marketing, they were some of the first in Canada to think about a better way to come together as a province to leverage the power of authentic visuals.

In the press release announcing the launch of their Partner Network, they explained:

“Locals and visitors are having remarkable experiences across Canada, and are sharing those stories through social media to create powerful word-of-mouth marketing. Many of us in BC tourism spend time curating this content to amplify through our own online channels, often searching for similar content to share with the same potential travelers. This creates duplication of effort.”

This challenge sparked the idea of having a way to streamline UGC curation across tourism partners – which was along the same lines as what the country DMO, Destination Canada was putting in the works.

The Canada-wide UGC Partner Network and how it works

Today, provinces, cities, attractions and tour operators all over Canada are a part of this a country-wide network, which is established as Canada’s UGC Partner Network, powered by CrowdRiff.

The network brings together thousands of Canadian tourism organizations, including DMOs, museums, resorts, and train companies.

Here’s how it works: whenever a partner collects and curates UGC visuals, it then automatically becomes visible with their city-level DMO or provincial-level DMO and added to Destination Canada’s network.

The diagram below can help you visualize the size of the network and its breadth of connections.

For example, Tourism Toronto can see all the UGC the Royal Ontario Museum is using; Destination Ontario can see everything Tourism Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum are using; Destination Canada has visibility into it all. This helps organizations quickly find the gems amongst the rest of the content on social media.

The impact of the Canadian UGC Partner Network

With a Partner Network in place, here are some of the ways tourism partners have benefitted:

  1. The ability to find and display local content, without local knowledge

DMOs whose regions encompass multiple smaller regions (provincial and country-level) can now discover specific, local content. Here’s what Graeme Leathem, the Manager, Global Social Media at Destination British Columbia had to say about this:

“It’s next to impossible for our team alone to curate content showcasing all parts of the province and reflecting all of our experiences – this is where our UGC network partners come in. We now have 33 partners using their local knowledge and expertise to curate content from specific regions, showcasing different experiences, that our team can now curate from.”

2. Saving time looking for great imagery

Destination BC’s homepage features UGC from all across the province – and these images are first curated by local partners in their network.

“What’s great about this is that my team is not spending hours curating this content, but we are picking the best photos from a selection of images that our partners have already curated.”

  • Graeme Leathem, Manager Global Social Media, Destination British Columbia

The same goes for all the other ten provinces who are in the Partner Network as well as Destination Canada itself.

3. Avoiding duplication of effort

The Partner Network also reduces duplicated effort for affiliated DMOs when curating photos.

So, before the Partner Network existed, if a provincial DMO wanted to find a canoeing photo, they’d have to start their search from scratch, whereas now, they can search first through the canoe photos their partners have already chosen.

Large-scale Partner Networks allow Canadian DMOs to think big

Providing truly relevant, personalized content to potential travelers is essential to drawing more visitors to a destination. However, reflecting the cumulative experiences of an entire state, province, or country is impossible for a single DMO to accomplish on its own.

That’s why Destination Canada’s UGC Partner Network is so important. It’s now possible for DMOs from across the country to collaborate together to surface the most important visuals in Canada.

Not only is it changing the way DMOs and travel brands promote their individual destinations, but it’s created a commonwealth of content that destination marketers can use to showcase the diverse Canadian experiences.

A big thank you to Graeme Leathem from Destination British Columbia for shedding light on Destination BC’s Partner Network experience and expertise with us.

About Elizabeth Ching:

Elizabeth Ching is the Content Marketing Manager at CrowdRiff, a visual content marketing platform built for tourism and travel. From connecting with destination marketers to pick their brains, to researching and writing eBooks for the travel industry, Elizabeth is always on the lookout for creative campaigns and stories to share.