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Instagram, the quirky online photo and video sharing social network, was one of the big hits in the social sphere in 2013. Following a report from Simply Measured, Instagram’s importance is rising progressively among marketers. In fact, in 2013 71 percent of the world’s largest brands have adopted Instagram, which now rivals the brand adoption of Google+ and Pinterest, making it the fastest growing social network world wide.

Especially for travel and tourism marketers Instagram is an important channel to be considered in their digital toolbox. Instagram is a vehicle for co-creating marketing campaigns, thus collecting customer created content and re-using it for promotional purposes (Socialmediaexaminer).

ENHANCING AUTHENTICITY

Visuals are the cornerstone of tourism marketing, as selling intangible experiences requires strong and attractive visual arguments. However, customers increasingly get tired of high-gloss, staged marketing images that portray destinations or hotels in a very favourable, but also extremely unrealistic way. In the age of complete information accessibility and online customer reviews, marketers need to provide authentic yet attractive images.

Destination marketing organisations such as VisitNorway, VisitBrazil or VisitDenmark have recognised this trend, and started integrating Instagram picture streams prominently into their website.

VisitNorway.com

VisitNorway's Instagram integration

STOP MOTION VIDEOS

Google’s latest Traveller Study 2013 confirmed that travel online videos become critical in the inspiration and decision making stage of contemporary travellers. Car manufacturer Lexus provided recently an inspirational good practice example of how Instagram photos submitted by customers could be combined into a stop motion video. This allowed the brand to create a visually appealing user generated video, an idea that certainly offers great potential for tourism and travel brands to showcase their products and destinations in a visually engaging manner.

PLENTY OPPORTUNITIES

This have only been two examples of the diverse ways of ow Instagram can be used to get customers and fans to create content for their brands. Further examples could include the adoption of Instagram to:

  • create ads from customer photo submissions
  • recruit employees
  • drive awareness for new products

In general, Instagram is a digital tool that adds value to travel brands and provides an innovative way to engage with audiences and potential travellers in a visual manner. We believe that Instagram has not reached its peak yet and we will see the network growing further in 2014.

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