Instagram and its strong impact on tourism

Instagram and its strong impact on tourism

Over the last decade, social media has had a major influence on almost everything. From Twitter and its presence in politics to individuals and companies trying to position themselves on Instagram. The tourism industry in particular has evolved a lot the last years on Instagram. It changed the behaviour of both businesses and clients in a remarkable way. this social media platform has evolved the customer journey of the traveller in a unique manner for consumers to decide a travel destination and explore new places.

Before Instagram existed, the process of booking a vacation was different. Travel agencies sold vacation packages in person to clients who found out about them through brochures, print advertising and word of mouth. At the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, online booking websites appeared and expanded, increasing competition and promoting advertising in mass media and on the internet, to reach a greater number of potential travellers. Furthermore, businesses started promoting on television. These companies were trying to reach a bigger audience. Although the commercials are available for everyone who is watching TV, the advertisements might reach people who are not interested in their offer and it is unmeasurable.

Since the start of Instagram in 2010 everything started to change. Businesses could reach more people for affordable prices at a larger scale. More importantly they have power over demographics of their audience, and this is how they can reach target groups very specifically. Nowadays users get triggered all the time by beautiful pictures and short videos where brands want to show an insight of what life could be like when you travel to a destination. Content like this starts the journey of where an individual could go on their trip.

Of course, people don’t only get influenced by brands to book a trip but also their peers and influencers have an impact. These influencers showcast their experience of traveling, they are creating a new form of travel brochures. Since Instagram posts have location hashtags to show the location of the destination, each influencer has the potential to reach their thousands of followers with customized, location-specific posts. Meanwhile Instagram Stories is getting more and more important. This is a way to create interactive content with your target group and allows to change the way to tell your stories to maximize your impact.

It is safe to say that destination marketing on Instagram is a concept that is changing the way tourism and traveling are advertised and social media in general makes traveling more accessible for people. The future of Instagram and marketing will feature many challenges such as the speed of communication and the frequency of the ways to put out content. Furthermore 80% of the posts for the coming years will be video content as it is more impactful. Instagram will also add ‘Checkout’ to buy products without leaving the application which will make it possible to buy flights or hotels in the future. However the biggest challenge in my opinion will be to find a sustainable way to advertise tourism as it is also a fact that many places suffer from mass tourism.

Joren Verboven

PR & Marketing Assistant

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