Busabout Goes 99% UGC to Drive Website Discovery & Bookings

As a favourite tour operator for Millennials and Gen Z, Busabout allows younger travellers to create their own adventures by offering unique and flexible Hop-on Hop-off tours to 47 different destinations across Europe.

To help inspire more interaction amongst their website visitors, Busabout worked with Stackla to develop dynamic, interactive and user-generated content (UGC)-powered web experiences.

The objectives were to:

  • Increase awareness of the flexible and social aspect of the Hop-on Hop-off coach network
  • Raise brand awareness in new European markets
  • Drive interaction and engagement amongst website visitors
  • Utilise the brand #Busabout hashtag to increase social followers and inspire UGC creation.

‘Meet the European Social Network’ Maps

Whether it be island-hopping in Greece and Croatia, partying at Europe’s biggest music festivals or throwing tomatoes at the La Tomatina festival in the Valencian town of Buñol, Millennials value experiences and regularly share their personal and candid travel photos on social media during their Busabout trips.

Busabout’s marketing team needed a way to harness this goldmine of UGC their customers were creating and use it to showcase how experience-rich travelling on Hop-on Hop-off can be.

To allow travellers to not only see their pictures and favourite memories displayed in real-time, but also get inspired for their next potential stops, they used Stackla’s rights management workflows and map functionality to obtain permissions for and visualise all the best social content their customers were posting into a dynamic map of Europe – where site visitors could click into particular locations to explore over 110,000 authentic traveller images.

“We wanted to inspire potential travellers by showing just how experience-rich our trips are—from the classic European landmarks and the hidden gems to the social atmosphere that is inherent to Busabout. Stackla’s map functionality allowed us to visually represent our unique Hop-on Hop-off coach network through the eyes of our passengers.” – Duncan Robertson, Managing Director at Busabout

“One of the key features that stood out with Stackla was the ability to discover content by location. Not only can we collect content by dropping a Geo-radius pin onto a location, but their platform can get incredibly granular by drawing a geo-fence around a specific visitor attraction or tourist area. With this feature we’re able to discover, and share, more of our travellers’ content.” – Duncan Robertson, Managing Director at Busabout

Reflecting Real Experiences: Designing the New Website Almost Completely with UGC

As a result of their successful interactive UGC map, Busabout decided to place user-generated content at the heart of their digital strategy. “We’ve got a limitless supply of fresh, unique and trusted visual content that we still use today,” said Duncan Robertson.

They launched a new website in September 2017, using Stackla to prominently feature UGC images throughout their site—from large hero headers that are breathtaking real photos taken by passengers, to 4×4 grid widgets on every page. They’ve added custom call-to-action links to product pages to shorten the path to purchase.

“I’d say 99% of the website features UGC images. Stackla supports every single product on the website. The dynamic, content-rich galleries help increase user engagement and time on site. We’ve also started using product tags which has been helpful in driving discovery from the homepage to relevant product pages.” – Duncan Robertson, Managing Director at Busabout

Aligning Visual Assets Across Print

“We knew we were going to integrate Stackla quite heavily in the new website, so we needed to align our visual assets across print collateral too for branding consistency,” said Sam Hollinshead, Print Marketing Executive at Busabout.

For the Busabout 2018-2019 Europe offering, 95% of the brochure has been designed using user-generated content. “Showcasing our passengers on their trips wearing the Busabout wristband and merchandise reflects real experiences and makes the brochure more authentic, especially against branded or stock images.” said Duncan Robertson.

Interestingly, when they ran a competition for the front cover, Sam said, “The winner was beyond thrilled to win the $1,000 but I don’t think she expected a prize. They’re not snapping and tagging their pics for money or rewards but ‘doin it for the Gram’. People love to share their photos and want to be seen on holiday.”

To tap into this human desire to be recognised, Busabout credits each content creator with their Instagram handle when their image is used in all collateral.

Bros in motion. 18 days of pure is good for the soul #motionbros #busaboutselfie

A post shared by Motion Bros (@motionbrosnz) on

The Results: 65% Reduction in Content Costs and 33% Boost in Bookings

By putting real traveller photos at the heart of their website — in engaging map visualisations and across print collateral — Busabout’s multi-channel UGC strategy was a massive success, with results including:

  • 12% year-over-year increase in traffic to the main Hop-on Hop-off webpage
  • 72% rise in Hop-on Hop-off pageviews in the first 6 months
  • 39% increase in average time spent on the main Hop-on Hop-off webpage
  • 65% content creation cost savings

This campaign also proved the power of authentic user-generated content in influencing the buyer purchasing cycle. It played a key contribution to a wider awareness campaign for Hop-on Hop-off, which saw direct web bookings rise by 33% in the UK. Busabout has also dramatically improved the use of #busabout globally to 40K, which equates to over 350% growth over the 18 months.