Testimonials about the BVI’s tourism product are reportedly pouring in from vacationers from across the globe who have visited the territory post-hurricanes.
These testimonials are being shared to the rest of the world via a marketing strategy from the BVI Tourist Board called user-generated content, otherwise known as UGC.
Effectively, UGC is any content (in this case, images) that has been created and publicised on social media or other forums by unpaid contributors.
In explaining the concept, Deputy Director of Tourism Rhodni Skelton said: “What we’ve done is we’ve gone and surfed the whole web and found images of folks who’ve actually been to the BVI, reached out to them and said ‘listen, your image is awesome. We would like to use that as a part of our campaign. We want you to help us tell our story from a more authentic point of view’.”
“These images were not captured by the BVI Tourist Board, or our film team or anything like that. These are actual pictures of folks who’ve vacationed in the BVI. If we have to pay for one of these pictures to be taken professionally, [it would cost] thousands of dollars and we are getting this all for free,” Skelton added.
Based on where each image was captured, the tourist board would then ask for the vacationers to briefly report on what their experience was at that particular location, Skelton explained.
“That’s what we’re using out there in the marketplace now to tell that authentic story … post-Irma.”
Skelton said the entire idea of using UGC came about while contemplating how to convince persons that the BVI had truly reopened for business after the two category-five hurricanes last September.
The board began advertising the BVI after restoring certain tourist attractions and facilitating the return of sectors in the industry such as the charter sector.
“After all that we’ve been doing out there; going all over the world and letting the folks know the BVI is back, folks weren’t believing us. [They say:] ‘you guys are only saying that the BVI is back because you want folks to come back here.’ So, we sat with our marketing team and contemplated on how we could let the world know that the BVI is truly back. Then we thought ‘who better to tell the story than guests who actually have been to the BVI post-hurricane’,” Skelton said.
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