Customer advocacy through user-generated content doesn’t just push a few more people down the sales funnel – it can change people’s perceptions of an entire brand. One company is in the middle of using customer advocacy to do just so.

We talked to our client Eurocamp, the camping and mobile holiday company, about using reviews as part of its strategy.

Stephanie Watson is Multi-channel Acquisition Manager for Eurocamp. Her role encompasses a broad mix of on and offline responsibilities to attract new customers to Eurocamp and help them understand what Eurocamp holidays can offer in comparison to other options in the market. As she says, it’s all about ‘ultimately driving traffic to our website and calls into our contact centre’.

We spoke to Stephanie about Eurocamp’s customer feedback strategy and how advocacy is key to her efforts – both online and off.

Eurocamp has been creative in the way it uses customer feedback in  campaigns. Can you tell us a bit about this?

We’ve tried to let the voice of our customers reach out to new audiences and challenge the perceptions people may have about our brand. Our core message throughout our 2016 peak campaign was the Reevoo-sourced statistic that over 90% of our customers say they’d come back to Eurocamp.

We used this across all channels including TV, direct mail, email, display, social media and PPC. We reinforced this statistic with reasons why customers would come back to Eurocamp. We also ran a series of social tiles using quotes, left by real customers in their post-holiday Reevoo questionnaires. Often those reasons would dispel the myths about a Eurocamp holiday, showing that we’ve got some stunning locations across Europe and top-of-the-range, modern accommodation.

In an environment where people increasingly seek out information online from their peers, advocacy seemed to be the best method of communicating the Eurocamp experience. - Stephanie Watson, Multi-channel Acquisition Manager, Eurocamp -

The advocacy campaign was an incredible success with branded search up 62% YOY and bookings up 10%, with the majority of our growth coming from new customers (+26% YOY).

What is behind Eurocamp’s decision to focus on customer advocacy?

We have to challenge misconceptions about the brand. Eurocamp is not the camping experience people have in mind at all – it’s so much better. A Eurocamp holiday has so many advantages over camping holidays, hotel-based package holidays, resorts or cottage/villa holidays. And the people who’ve been – kids and parents alike – rave about their experiences. So in an environment where people increasingly seek out information online from their peers, advocacy seemed to be the best method of communicating the Eurocamp experience.

In making the decision to focus on customer advocacy, have you faced any challenges? If so, how were these challenges overcome?

To be honest, because we had such a strong starting point in the statistic ‘over 90% say they’d come back’ and easy access to customer feedback thanks to Reevoo reviews, using advocacy wasn’t an issue for us. The biggest challenge was trying to squeeze the whole Eurocamp experience into a 30-second TV ad!

Can you tell us about the ways Eurocamp has used customer feedback to support offline as well as online marketing?

As the Reevoo score formed the main part of our new year launch campaign this included our offline channels: brochures, direct mail and some activity we ran through play centres, using the theme ‘Why do over 90% of families comes back to Eurocamp?’

Throughout our brochure and in some other campaign comms, we use real customer comments to provide additional insight into our regions by sharing their holiday memories.

Do you have any ideas for how you would like to use user-generated content in the future?

We’re currently investigating a number of options on how best to show more UGC throughout our website. We don’t want the visitor to have to seek it out, we’re thinking about what’s best from a user experience point of view. We want visitors to see additional information from our customers at relevant points in their purchase journey, be that reviews, top tips about our destinations or images that people have posted on social media.

People relate better to those they consider to be their peers and have more trust in what they see and read from neutral sources. - Stephanie Watson, Multi-channel Acquisition Manager, Eurocamp -

What has Eurocamp been able to learn from the feedback received? How has Eurocamp used this insight?

It’s a really powerful tool, and the feedback has been very useful for steering the business operationally, allowing us to review performance at a parc level on a weekly basis. The verbatim from the reviews helps us to direct our overseas team on specific topics to drive scores up.

As an example, this information was used to increase the size of the BBQs we have with our accommodation after we discovered that customers thought they were too small. On the flip side, we were ready to invest a significant amount into new outdoor furniture, but found that customers weren’t finding any issue with furniture we already had – allowing us to invest elsewhere.

What role do you believe user-generated content can play in helping Eurocamp reach new audiences?

People relate better to those they consider to be their peers and have more trust in what they see and read from neutral sources. For example, a new mum might be totally adverse to the idea of ‘camping’, but then read a review from other mums taking Eurocamp holidays with a toddler and have a better understanding of what a toddler-friendly holiday with Eurocamp actually means.

Social media’s also proved an effective tool for reaching new audiences, particularly with our #BacktoEurocamp competition that encouraged customers to share amazing imagery of their Eurocamp holiday. This has helped to educate followers about the brand and showcase the breadth of experiences we have to offer with some really inspirational shots.

Our takeaways:

Used creatively, reviews can:

1. Challenge preconceptions about brands.

2. Be used across all channels: TV, direct mail, email, display, social media and PPC.

3. Help inform operational decisions.

4. Drive traffic and increase bookings.

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How customer advocacy can challenge preconceptions