Marketers in the travel space are wasting time and effort. They’re constantly throwing good money at “the sales funnel.” But a funnel can resemble a bottomless pit — money goes in the top and out the bottom before you know it.

As travel marketers, you think a lot about the customer’s journey from discovery to purchase. You work hard to show them an amazing time when they arrive in your care — but you’re making poor use of all of the delighted customers you created along the way. With acquisition costs seven-times higher than retention costs, why aren’t travel marketers doing more to magnify the impact of the exceptional experiences customers are sharing all over social media?

It’s no secret that social proof sells. Travel brands push hard to get reviews, sitting perched by the keyboard ready to respond to even the slightest bit of attention on TripAdvisor. But while their eyes are glued to the review sites, customers are posting album after album to social media. In fact, 52 percent of people say their friend’s photos inspired travel plans, and 76 percent post their vacation photos to social networks, according to a recent study by Ad Week/Internet Marketing Inc. The problem? Without amplifying those visual ‘reviews’ through their owned channels, brands are letting much of that impact go to waste.

How can travel brands monetize pictures and videos taken by real people? Our free guide explains it all.

There’s more inspirational travel content being created than ever before. Facebook recently published research showing that one-third of their audience wants to be inspired by a travel brand. Meanwhile, Instagram has become the de facto destination for the travel humblebrag. It’s time for travel brands to harness the passion and experiences of their existing customers to paint an emotional picture, fuel the imagination and breed trust from prospective new customers.

How can Curalate help? By powering an experience that can:

  • Easily help customers find compelling travel imagery on social.
  • Quickly request publishing rights.
  • Connect that imagery to booking pages, maps, blog posts or other calls-to-action.
  • Republish that imagery in a gallery of shoppable lifestyle content housed on a travel brand’s website.

Below we highlight two Curalate-powered experiences:

EF College Break

The gallery of lifestyle content from EF College Break links to booking pages and information about trips. This particular photo points users to Oktoberfest trips in Germany.

When travelers post vacation photos and videos, they’re generating digital word-of-mouth. The question is, how can we use it to fuel acquisition at scale?

EF College Break is one brand doing this really well. Partnering with Curalate, the brand transformed their reviews page into a shoppable gallery of lifestyle and social content. That pic of the John Lennon wall in Prague? It connects to booking pages for eight different options for European trips.

When you looked at that reviews page, was your reaction more emotional than the traditional “four stars, we’ll come back” review? Did it inspire your wanderlust? By taking real guest experiences and using them on site to drive inspiration close to their booking environment, EF College Break is positioned to see ‘earned’ content deliver lift across key e-commerce metrics such as time on site, page views and most importantly — bookings.

1Hotels

Pictured is the 1Hotels gallery of shoppable lifestyle content. Clicking on this particular photo shows off the brand’s dog-friendly Brooklyn hotel and connects to a booking page.

1 Hotels boasts three stunning boutique locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and South Beach Miami with global expansion slated for California, China and Mexico by 2018. The brand launched a shoppable gallery of lifestyle and social content connecting imagery from customers with booking pages, dining information, activities in each neighborhood and event bookings. When guests create content to celebrate their favorite vacation moments, 1 Hotels is ready to capitalize by magnifying those moments through their own channels — increasing conversion rates and average order value. Currently, the brand is seeing a 39X ROI on their Curalate partnership — evidence that social proof really does sell.

So what’s next?

Travel and hospitality brands should keep doing what they do best — creating ‘Kodak moments’ across the globe. But they need to start capturing all that great imagery and connect them to booking, commerce or information. Their customers are sharing the pics anyway, so why not capitalize on them?

Want to learn how travel brands can monetize pictures and videos across nine digital touchpoints — from Instagram to Snapchat to email? Check out our free travel guide The Rise of Image Sharing & How Brands Can Capitalize.

Curalate connects moments of discovery to commerce. Our clients see a 79% increase in time on site, a 16% lift in average order value and a 31% increase in conversion rates. How can Curalate take you brand to the next level? Request a free demo to learn more.