Instagram and Influencers: Impact of Social Media on Travel?
With the development of apps like Facebook and Instagram, social media has seemingly revolutionised the way we travel. When I was younger, I remember the ordeal of planning family holidays through a travel agent: explaining the type of trip we wanted, laying out our budget and ultimately choosing our destination from a selection presented to us in a catalogue. Today, I struggle to recall the last time I even considered visiting a travel agents. Now my primary travel inspiration comes from social media, as I’m sure it does for many other young people. Instead of flipping through catalogue pages, we scroll through Instagram posts in search of that ideal exotic location.
When it comes to planning the perfect holiday, Instagram has become a huge factor for many young people today. Everybody wants to return home with an album full of aesthetic and ‘instagramable’ photos that show off their trip. In fact, 40% of UK Millennial travellers say that they consider how “instagramable” a location is when planning their travels, whether it will look good on their feed and get enough likes. Accordingly, the best way to find that desired ‘post-able’ holiday destination is now through social media itself. Whether it is viewing a friend’s recent travel post that triggers wanderlust, or a photo directly from a travel account, social media ignites the desire to explore new places for so many of its users. It is a hotspot for travel inspiration, with over 450 million posts using the hashtag “travel”.
Travel companies have picked up on this trend, now latching onto social media as a part of their own marketing strategies. The majority of airlines, tour companies, hotels and other travel-related businesses have their own Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages. Social media is used by these companies to increase brand awareness, inspire their followers and even allow followers to book holidays there and then. In 2018, Instagram introduced a feature that allows users to book holidays and make reservations directly through the app.