The immense influence of the social media in promoting business is evident in the travel and tourism industry that is reaping rich dividends from the popularity of the platform. The extensive proliferation of Instagram, which is arguably the largest social media platform today, has created a huge impact among travelers who base their travel decision on it.
That we have an appetite for imagery and that images largely influence our travel decisions becomes more evident from the massive growth of Instagram. In a span of just six years, Instagram has 500 million active users sharing on an average 80 million photos every day. The social media platform, Instagram in particular, has turned into a huge inspiration for travelers who rely heavily on the visuals that individuals share to depict their travel experiences. In this article, we will explore the way the social media including Instagram is changing the way people travel, and how the travel and tourism industry is poised for massive growth.
Tourism and the social media
Gone are the days of depending only on family and friends for gathering information about travel. The way people share travel experiences has changed with the advent of the social media. So has changed the way people research trips and plan itineraries based on social media interactions. They are now able to harness information that they can rely on as it is gathered from users and not from advertisement. It contains disclosures of real-life people who speak out their mind about their travel experiences. The social media has not only changed the travelers’ outlook in decision-making, but it has also changed the way marketers used to operate in the travel and tourism industry.
Social media is fueling tourism growth
There is no doubt that the pictures of scenic landscapes and extraordinary terrains create much curiosity among people to visit those places. It creates an intense desire for escaping to these landscapes because despite being little known or not known at all, the pictures convince people about the feasibility of traveling to these places as others have made it. Smaller destinations that people had hardly known are now becoming tourist hot spots, as people are eager to explore it.
The tourism board of Wanaka, a small alpine town in New Zealand started hosting and inviting social media trendsetters who had a large following to share their adventures of visiting the place. The campaign began in 2015, and just in about a year, there was a record 14 percent growth in tourism. A large part of the credit goes to Instagram, the exclusively visual-based social media platform. You can use an Instagram Marketing tool to target audience and grow your business too.
A genuine expression
Travelers rely on the social media to gather real-life experiences about travel that contain real information from transport to accommodation from a user’s perspective, without any commercial slant. It is like hearing from the horse’s mouth as nothing can be more authentic. The social media has brought to the fore the power of user-generated content as marketers are turning to it. Rather than looking at tourism brochures, people are more interested to believe the images of Instagram that are just too revealing and trustworthy. That is where Instagram is way ahead of other social media platforms. The rate of engagement on Instagram is ten times more than on Facebook, a fact that has made 48.8 percent American brands to use the platform. According to projections available, by the end of 2017, the number of brands would go up to 70.7 percent.
Addressing social and environmental issues
The marketing aspect of Instagram highlighted above is just one of many other benefits that the platform offers to users. Sharing of photographs does not only capture the lives and experiences of people who start building communities, but it also turns the spotlight on significant environmental and social issues. As more and more people reach the places, the underlying concerns related to the environment and social problems of the places come to the fore and duly addressed. There is overall development prospect through people’s involvement as awareness spreads through tourism and acquires a conservationist approach about the places.
Pictures promote business
Realizing the powers of Instagram followers in making the business grow, more and more companies in the travel and tourism sector are embracing Instagram. Shifting away from the traditional text-based content with few images; it is now entirely image-based marketing campaigns carried out on Instagram. It reinforces the truth in the saying that a picture can speak more than a thousand words because today Instagram leads the social media in building brands in the most trusted manner.
The social media is ideal not only for building brands but also to compare brands by referring to reviews that tell the real story. The high exposure that business expects is available much more from Instagram because 53 percent Instagram users belong to the age group between 18 to 29 years among which fifty percent use it daily. Also, Instagram engagement rate recorded at 4.21% is the highest among all social media channels beating its nearest rival Facebook by 28 times.
Adding new places on the tourism map
Perhaps the highest impacting aspect of Instagram is to display areas that have enormous potential for tourists and travelers but yet to make a mark on the tourist maps. People are now traveling to destinations not heard of earlier but which are beautiful places to explore and has immense business potential. The horizon of business in travel and tourism has expanded manifold that was just unthinkable even ten years ago.
People evaluate photographs and associated information to make well-informed decisions about traveling to places less talked about or higher to completely unknown. Therefore, responsible sharing of information is critical for Instagram users so that people are aware of both good and bad about the places. It is essential to avoid the possibility of posting pictures that appear to be too perfect in real life, which might turn risky and even fatal, should viewers try to emulate.
Author Bio: Harris is a leading blog writer and content marketing professional with thousands of real Instagram followers for his postings. His love for discovering new places has earned him numerous Instagram followers.