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Authentic content from enchanted parks – why theme parks embrace UGC in their marketing

A young couple of theme park visitors producing user-generated content (UGC) while riding a water slide

Welcome to the Reeler blog and our latest exploration into the future of marketing. Today, we're focusing on theme parks, such as amusement parks, water parks, safari parks, botanical gardens, zoos, and similar places for family fun.

Many parks have recently reimagined their content strategies by embracing user-generated content (UGC) – photos and videos from their park visitors – to build vibrant communities and boost ticket sales. But how does UGC impact and engage consumers, and why is it such an effective strategy for theme park marketing? In this blog post, we explore the main benefits of using UGC in the theme park industry.

1. Build trust in the park experience

Prospective visitors seek validation and reassurance from fellow park-goers, and UGC serves as a potent tool in reassuring visitors that the visit will be worthwhile. For example, imagine a family considering a trip to Legoland but unsure of what the park is like. By seeing UGC from other families enjoying the park, hashtagged on Instagram, the potential visitors gain confidence that they'll enjoy it and proceed to book their trip.

2. Engage the visitor community

Fostering a sense of community among visitors is a powerful way to enhance engagement. Theme parks can achieve this by encouraging visitors to share their experiences and adventures. The Walt Disney Company, for instance, asked visitors to share photos donning Mickey Mouse ears using the hashtag #ShareYourEars. Disney managed to get their global community to literally transform into Mickeys, fostering a strong sense of shared love for the brand and the theme parks. For every post, Disney also donated 5 dollars to charity.

3. Source content at a lower cost

Producing captivating visual content for marketing purposes can be costly. Theme parks, however, can effectively mitigate this by involving their visitors in content creation – at a considerably lower cost. Consider Six Flags, the iconic amusement parks, and all the content their visitors create; over two million photos and videos from 27 different parks have been hashtagged #SixFlags, and that's on Instagram alone. Just imagine what it would have cost to produce all this content, from all those locations, with professional photographers.

4. Increase park attendance

UGC plays a pivotal role in influencing potential visitors' decisions to visit a theme park. When people see authentic photos and videos of other guests enjoying themselves, they get a desire to be a part of that experience. Universal Studios has embraced UGC, asking park visitors to post their content using the #UniversalMoments hashtag. Some of this content is featured on the Universal Studios website, influencing prospective visitors and leading to increased ticket sales.

Theme park visitors riding an attraction while producing user-generated content (UGC) while riding a water slide

UGC in theme park marketing – conclusion

As theme park enthusiasts seek exceptional experiences, theme parks are well-positioned to inspire potential visitors by showcasing authentic content from real park visitors. UGC helps parks cultivate trust, inspire visitors, and reach new customer segments. By embracing UGC, theme parks can multiply content output while saving on costs. Most importantly, theme parks can significantly increase park attendance, setting the stage for unforgettable visits and experiences.

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