When did you last skip a travel post on Instagram that features a beautiful picture of say #Iceland?
Almost 95% of smart-phone users have an Instagram app, where more than 800 million active users are there as per a survey, and around 65% are travel content.
The massive and rapid growth of Instagram in recent years has changed the equation of travel completely.
The tourism board of each state and country, invest hugely on social media as a form of advertising and marketing, Instagram is among the many that are being used widely for travel promotion across the globe.
Now, we will see how Instagram has benefitted the travel industry so far. There has been a significant change that we can witness now in the travel and hospitality industry.
The Positive Transformation of Tourism Industry Through Instagram
So, in the world of Instagram, everything is about visual/pictures. Notably, the food and travel industry is getting the perks of using Instagram.
This incredible social media platform is reshaping the age-old travel industry. Now, everything is doing be it marketing, advertising, posters, or any new updates; the marketing team makes sure that every strategy must be Instagram-friendly.
Because Instagram has such humongous active users, the strategy of the travel industry is to reach potential customers through this platform. Here, high-quality travel images are sales tools.
Instagram images get an average of 23% more engagement than any other media platforms. The statistic report denotes, the audience reach and engagement is way higher than the media dominate Facebook.
Brands see a higher engagement of their product in Instagram so eventually, there has been a shift in the place and brands are seeking more high- performing video and image content into consideration.
You see, the tourism agencies are posting incredibly attractive images to entice the audience. With more and more views, you are creating an interest in the audience to travel to those destinations.
As a result, they might choose to travel to that place based on that image. So, you can understand how the industry is luring the travelers to come to their location.
Now, how does that boom the business?
Instagram not only works as a platform for marketing, but it also has added many new features where along with customer engagement, it helps the interested users to connect directly with the travel agent or influencer or any owner.
Say, if you are more inclined towards the profile of ‘XYZ travel company’ you can directly connect with them through the message itself on that platform asking about all the necessary, travel-related details that you wish to ask. In this way, they can be your reliable source or point of contact.
You might have also noticed that even resorts or hotels too use Instagram in promoting their business. They post images of their hotel rooms, about their ongoing deals and every other thing about their hotels. They make sure to feature themselves as the best.
So, if you like their page and get a feel about their deals, then you might want to stay at their hotel.
In a way, it is through this social media platform that helps the hotel to acquire its business. Likewise, the more the traffic or customer reach the hotel can establish, there are high chances to get more business booming and helps in to generate the revenue.
Instagram is a huge opportunity for travel agents too. Travel agents often collaborate with influencers for business. It is seen that people trust influencers more, they believe whatever the influencers suggest or recommend.
The travel agencies or agents ask these influencers to suggest the name of their services on their short videos or blogs, which is called ‘sponsored post.’ The goal of these types of campaign is to reach maximum consumers.
Instagram has now also added a new feature, ‘Instant Book Button,’ which is relevant for tourism marketing. So, the user can now book travel destinations and start planning just through ‘book button’ option. This makes the booking process more accessible and less time-consuming.
How do Travel Influencers are influencing to Travel more?
So, the value of travel influencers is growing and evolving with the progression of social media platform.
Now, who are these travel influencers?
You will be mistaken to think that any travel enthusiasts who have a good number of followers are travel influencer.
No, in the social media marketing world, a travel influencer is the one who has not only a massive follower but also, he/she can engage with their followers and can inspire others to travel or buy products that she/he is using.
In simple words, you can say a travel influencer is nothing but a travel blogger.
Traveling is something that everybody loves to do. So, when we see an influencer is sharing her/his amazing travel images of beautiful destinations, our heart and mind tend to have the desire of going to those places and experiencing similar enjoyment.
In fact, the majority of travel enthusiasts choose their travel destinations by looking at the profiles of the influencers.
Now, you will see the Insta profile of these popular influencers, there feed is a beautiful platform that describes their travel journeys and stories across the globe. These influencers post their travel images on Instagram even before they post text content on their blogs.
Most of the travel influencers are full-time travelers who share their experiences, share travel tips and reviews of products that they use on their journey.
So, you can say that they are the great and most reliable source when it comes to recommendations and reviews.
We often look for recommendations before planning a trip like where to stay or which is the best backpack to buy or which is the best restaurant that serves the best burger in the city, etc. We follow their blogs where they share their views and give the best tips that help us.
However, do they exactly influence to travel more?
I am giving you my example, I have been following the travel blog of Nomadic Matt, who is a very popular travel blogger, who has traveled to almost all the countries and through his blog he shares valuable travel tips. He inspires me truly.
From the last 3-4 years, I have grown a knack towards traveling myself, and over time with each trip I am learning so much.
Travel influencer like Nomadic Matt has an immense follower on Instagram, and their audience reach is enormous. So, brands often approach them and ask to promote their products to their audience. Because these brand companies know that they can easily reach millions of viewers if they go through an influencer.
Of course, nothing comes free. Both the party gets their fair share of the deal.
So, Instagram has become a great platform in earning money as well as for marketing and selling products.
Visual Contents and Hashtags are essential in Instagram
As we all know, Instagram is an application based around sharing pictures and videos in different format like a boomerang, Insta effects, etc. All these to enhance the images and videos for your audience.
Now, this platform can be used extensively for videos and images using hashtags. Hashtags play a vital role in reaching your audience. Hashtags help you to categorize your content like if you are sharing a picture on travel to the Rocky Mountain, you will use #Travel and #rockymountain.
So, people who want to see more travel and mountain-related content, when they will type these two keywords your image will come in the first page of Instafeed.
To summarize, hashtags help increase visibility. If used properly, hashtags help drawing more traffic to your Insta page.
For example, I often share my travel images so, I use #Travel, #travelIndia, #travelpics in almost all the photos before I post it on my Insta feed.
Pictures are your bread and butter on Instagram. High- quality and well-edited images get more likes, shares, and comments. Same goes for the videos too.
On Instagram, it is the images and short videos that are content. Short Videos are the new form of sales tools that can be used in promoting travel and destinations. No one has time to watch a full 10-15 minutes of videos. Hence, the arrival of short videos which has become an essential part of content strategy.
In today’s short attention span, you have to think of effectiveness, which serves the purpose and completes your goal.
YouTube is one of the most potent platforms for videos. Tons of videos get upload each day on different categories. Some are short, and some are long, technically you can upload a full detail video on YouTube.
Whereas, a shorter form of videos are different: it can be a live stream, snaps, or teasers.
You may have noticed on Instagram that sometimes travel companies upload shorter videos on deals like cheap hotel deals or flight deals or even on travel products. These are videos or live videos of 15-20 seconds.
The goal is to capture the 15 seconds of users undivided attention and let them know about your promotion. The use of apps like Boomerang is fun and quite engaging too now, as you can see that Instagram has also added the boomerang feature to make it more interesting.
How Instagram is Ruining Travel
Despite all the perks of using Instagram and even though Instagram does helping the travel industry growing, it is in the way of destroying what traveling stands for.
You see the images of different places getting shared at every minute by millions of travel enthusiasts, 95% of images are the edited one of the original. Images are being edited in tools like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Snapseed to enhance the pictures. Even Instagram has their own filters.
I am sure edited pictures looks way better than the original, but why do we require to edit in the first place?
People these days travel more for posting and sharing pictures and videos on social media platforms than enjoying their trip. Instagram provides immediate approval of images, and with its adding features it has become addictive.
Once travel was about to explore and enjoy the time with the closest person. Now, even though you are surrounded by the beauty of nature or exploring the vibrant city, posing for Insta pictures isn’t out of your mind.
Before you start enjoying a walk down on the beach, you prefer to do a live video or posting an image on social media, let everyone knows where you are and how much you are enjoying. You will then keep a tab on your likes and comments. This is how much Instagram has affected our life.
I can understand that for bloggers and influencers, this platform is their source of income. However, does a travel blogger or an influencer enjoying her/his travel moments?
I can’t say that as I don’t know. But having said that I would love to put forward my opinion.
Even I wouldn’t have like the distractions while on my trip. A constant thought on my mind that I have to take better pictures for my Instagram profile.
This is undoubtedly a great platform to promote places. It is through Instagram even I came to know about many hidden spots of Earth. Here the problem lies.
Destinations like Ladakh (India), Machu Picchu (Peru), Maldives, Koh Khai Island in Thailand and there are so many other places, where the visitor’s numbers are increasing with every year passing by which resulted in polluting the environment.
Overcrowding affects these places profoundly. Once Ladakh in India was the purest and cleanest place alive in India, but today with growing numbers of visitors, it is becoming polluted which is affecting the ecosystem balance.
No doubt it is helping in raising the economy of Ladakh, but you have to think that what will happen to the sanctity of this place.
Like Ladakh, there are plenty of other environmentally affected places too.
These influencers are posting beautiful pictures of these places; they are making you believe that there is another world where you should travel to.
Of course, you should, but as an influencer, you should give more importance on telling your followers to follow sustainable traveling.
Use your popularity in guiding people on “Why or how people shouldn’t pollute the places where ever they travel. Today, our world needs protection. For years, we have taken our mother Earth for granted.”
So, Instagram is a compelling platform to promote anything. If you are a travel blogger or an influencer or any travel company, try to promote the ‘green travel’ as much as you can.
This post isn’t a sponsored post.