What do a couple from Manchester, the world's most expensive hotel and Disneyland have in common? They are the most powerful tourism marketers on Instagram.
You can view photos of any destination on your smartphone with the tap of a button. In the past we sent a postcard to friends and family. Now we take a snap or a video, share it on Instagram and hashtag our travels.
The network has 700 million users and 75% take action after being inspired by a post. Exploring the world and booking your trip online has never been so easy. Tourism marketers can hook users in by capturing real life experiences and capitalising on live user generated content.
Travel blogging couple Jack Morris @doyoutravel and his girlfriend Lauren Bullen @gypsea_lust have over 3 millions followers between them. They've travelled the world and can earn up to £7,000 for one post. The duo use Instagram to show snippets of their experiences travelling the world. They promote brands and locations through their photo feeds. The secret to their success is authenticity according to Jack.
"People follow us because they enjoy our content, so when we post about a brand, location, or whatever it is we're being paid for, our followers trust it more than when they see a random advert in a magazine," the couple told Cosmopolitan.
"Since we only work with brands we personally like or truly believe in, it's authentic. We would never promote something we don't agree with just for money."
Beyond people, hotels and destinations can curate inspirational feeds. The Burj Al Arab is the most powerful hotel on social media. A combination of undisputed opulence, royal suites and celebrity guests including Kim Kardashian, Gigi Hadid and Roger Federer, makes their feed so scroll-worthy.
Over half a million of us stare wide-eyed at the Instagram posts which feature everything from the 24-carat gold leaf interior to 9 lavish restaurants including one built around an aquarium. The luxurious suites range from £1,000 to £19,500 for an overnight stay. Instagram provides the majority of us who can't afford to stay a window into the lifestyle and it looks incredible.
The most Instagrammed destination on the planet is Disneyland which has been tagged over 14.8 million times. Closer to home the most tagged locations in Northern Ireland are the Giant's Causeway and Cavehill. User generated content (UGC) is key as Instagram provides valuable insights for the travel and tourism industry. Discover who and how someone is enjoying your attraction. Think where they are travelling from and what they value from the experience. Then you can adapt your social strategy based on your findings.
Visit Scotland are an example of an organisation using UGC well. They share images showcasing the country's beautiful landscapes along with people and animals who live there. They also use link ads on the network to attract users to their website and remarketing to provide a path to progress travel to Scotland.
People come to Instagram to follow their passions for travel, food and entertainment. It is a centre of visual discovery. Now is the time to promote your destination on the network.