How RCI Deploys User Content Generated Marketing to Improve Communications, Build Credibility and Grow Sales

What: Ana Acevedo, RCI’s senior vice president of marketing and Portada Travel Marketing Board Member, tells Portada that online reviews and user generated content marketing are growing in importance in Latin America.
Why it matters: As a result, RCI is finding new ways to leverage online reviews. The aim is to improve customer communications, build market credibility and increase sales.

Every time a customer stays at one of RCI’s thousands of affiliated time share properties across the globe, RCI surveys them. RCI asks them to rate their experience, right down to the most minute detail, including the quality of the resort’s housekeeping services.

RCI is one of the two largest timeshare companies in the world and works with more than 4,000 resorts.

Ana Laura Acevedo
Ana Laura Acevedo, Senior Vice President Marketing & Business Development, RCI Latin America

When an RCI member makes a negative remark on the company’s rating system, RCI follows up by contacting the resort where the customer stayed.

“We let the resort know. That way they can answer directly,” RCI’s senior vice president of marketing Ana Laura Acevedo tells Portada.

“Reviews are very important. In an industry likes ours, they are key because consumers don’t always believe what you say as a brand.”

Online reviews now enjoy an outsized role in consumer purchasing decisions. Consequently, RCI has responded aggressively. It is turning customers’ comments into a powerful way of building brand credibility and communications.

User generated content marketing gaining weight in LATAM

“The importance of user generated content marketing in the form of online reviews is growing rapidly in Latin America. It’s already pretty strong in more mature markets like Brazil,” Acevedo says.

Five years ago, Brazilians Adriana Coelho and Andreia Assunção founded the Facebook page Viajando pela RCI to help consumers make decisions about purchasing and staying at timeshare properties.

The page has more than 7,000 followers. Comments by consumers can literally make or break a resort, according to Acevedo.

“It has gained so much strength that we are partners with them and we sponsor some of their events,” Acevedo tells Portada.

Questions about RCI that appear on the page are sent directly to RCI’s social media.

In fact, the Facebook page attracts so much attention that the page administrator sends inquiries about RCI properties directly to RCI’s salespeople, Coelho said at an event in June sponsored by the Brazilian publication Turismo Compartilhado.

Trip Advisor dominates

Trip Advisor is the most powerful and important online review site for the time share industry, according to Acevedo.

Recognizing Trip Advisor’s influence, RCI has an agreement with the site that allows RCI to republish on RCI websites Trip Advisor reviews written by RCI members.

RCI has also found other  =ways to leverage the power of online reviews by consumers.

Software created by Chute Apps allows Facebook users who are RCI members to instantly authorize RCI to use timeshare experience photos the users post on Facebook in official RCI marketing.

Photos taken by RCI’s customers reduce the need to rely on stock photography for its marketing. They also carry a lot more credibility with consumers, according to Acevedo.

Using RCI customers’ photos has generated an increase in the click-through rate on all of RCI’s email, Facebook and Twitter campaigns, Acevedo says.

Social media monitoring

Take for instance, Social media monitoring. The technology also plays an important role in RCI’s ability to respond to and leverage the power of online reviews.

RCI now uses the services of Revinate to monitor what guests are saying about RCI’s affiliated resorts.

“It pulls reviews from, Expedia, tourism boards and anyone that has a travel site where members can post reviews. It’s like a meta-searcher of reviews,” Acevedo tells Portada.

Using Revinate’s social media monitoring services also enables RCI to respond quickly to negative reviews.

Recent studies provide overwhelming evidence of the importance of online reviews in customers’ purchasing decisions.

Recent studies provide overwhelming evidence of the importance of online reviews in customers’ purchasing decisions.

According to a compilation of studies by the website G2 Crowd Learning Hub, nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. Seventy-two percent of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews.

“If you run a small business today, the single most important thing you can do to attract new customers is to take control of your online review score on sites like Yelp, Google My Business, FourSquare and TripAdvisor,” a recent column in Forbes Magazine advised readers.