Destination Insta: How the social media app is changing travel

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There is no doubt Instagram has become the go-to app to find travel inspiration. With over 200 million photos under the hashtag ‘travel’, users are taking advantage of this platform to research the perfect ‘instagrammable’ destination.

Gone are the days where travelers refer to agents for tourism-related services but instead turn to Instagram to get in-time tips, advice, and inspiration on destinations they could potentially visit.

Landscape and travel photographer Sharon Lewin told Travel Wire Asia, that “the more you see beautiful photos from a destination, the more you probably want to visit,” hence why the network has become increasingly influential.

Evolving social trends are influencing travel through user-generated online content and has become one of the most successful marketing tools within the travel industry.

Influencers with large followings share polished photographs of the beauty they see within the destinations they visit ensuring to capture enough content to showcase the overwhelmingly positive elements that define their travel experience.

In 2015, Social Media Today’s Hannah Baker found 48% of Instagram users rely on the app to find a new travel destination and with no doubt, those numbers have increased within the last three years. She had also found that photos of an Instagram user with over 100,000 followers reach more people directly than any traditional advertising campaign.

Mary-Anne, 24, is amongst users who refer to influencer travel content as a reliable source for tourism because “they post relevant content that relates to what certain age groups want out of their holidays”.

“Most of the well-known influencers I follow on social media upload pictures in front of landscapes everyone dreams of visiting”.

“I get the travel bug whenever I see people like Shani Grimmond or Michael Finch landing in such luxurious locations, some I didn’t even know exist, so it gets me online and searching for flights and accommodation and activities”.

“It just makes me want to show off my travel adventures too”.

Image source: @shanigrimmond
Image source: @shanigrimmond
Image source: @shanigrimmond
Image source: @makeupbymichaelfinch
Image source: @makeupbymichaelfinch
Image source: @makeupbymichaelfinch

Through visual communication, Instagram provides limitless pages of unique settings all over the world where created communities are connecting and sharing their lives.

The desire to replicate certain images is reflected on whether brands are using the visual tool correctly to attract attention from Instagram users.

Travel brands on the platform must:

Consider their audience

Each travel brand aims to attract their audience through an authentic and engaging appeal however it is important to connect with travelers with the things aspects of traveling they prefer to see. Whether they would rather see cityscapes or nightlife scenes, or luxurious accommodation or even more nature-based content, accommodating to what your audience is will build a trusting foundation.

Have creative captions

Having a relatable, clear and entertaining caption will encourage users to interact with your content. Including a question within the caption prompts interaction through engagement within the comments section, and could potentially result in the content being featured in the ‘explore’ sector of Instagram if a page with a huge following interacts with it. Providing a call to action on posts (e.g. link in bio) will result in more profile views.

Have a theme

Sticking to a theme shows your audience that you are consistent with what you are posting, so they know what to expect and refer to your content when they need to go back to it. Having your images and videos flow on your page makes your feed more appealing as it shows all material is carefully crafted with quality content with more of a chance of people saving your posts.

SEE ALSO: How Instagram has changed the tourism and travel industry.


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