As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Instagram has the ability to increase the awareness of places of interests and allows the public sharing of photos Especially in the highly competitive tourism industry, the emergence of social media may change how these companies operate. Over the last decade, social media has enable companies to use a new medium to get closer to consumers.
My research questions are as follows:
- How can Instagram be used as an effective marketing tool for companies in the tourism industry?
- What kind of social media strategies should travel service providers use on Instagram?
The three companies analysed are Airbnb, Expedia, and Booking.com. They were tracked for a month from 10 March 2016 to 09 April 2016 on Instagram.
Overview Of My Results:
|Overview||Most popular platform – Most followers and most likes per post
Unique feature: Booking link on its profile where users can book featured hosts
|Running a long National Park campaign featuring parks in the US.
Unique feature: Promotion of their own firm playing in IMAX. But has no link to its actual service that its provides
|Least number of followers and infrequent post of just 9 over one month.
Showcase generic tourist destinations on their profiles
|Content Analysis||All three companies top post tend to feature nature or famous tourist destinations
The worse posts tend to visually dull and boring and do not showcase the highlights of a attraction or the product value that travellers can gain.
Strengths of Instagram in the tourism industry
- Using photographs as a means to capture reality
- Allows each user to be a potential marketer through visual material uploaded
- Effective interaction by allowing users to visualise themselves in a location
Weakness of Instagram in the tourism Industry
- Self contained web traffic
- Airbnb overcame through the effective use of creating a separate web page with all its featured hosts whereby users can book directly
General Content Recommendations for Travel Service Providers
- Vibrant pictures that showcase nature and beautiful scenery
- Incorporate services that they provide into the framing of these pictures
- Showing the experience of living and of people enjoying the products they offer
Suggestions for Airbnb
Instagram contest whereby participants take a trip on Airbnb, share how they felt a sense of belonging while staying in a foreign place but never feeling out of place because of the local host. Friends travelling together can also be tagged on the winner’s Instagram post and stand a chance to win Airbnb credits for their next trip. This is in line with Airbnb’s current tag line and company goal of #BelongAnywhere
2. Native Advertisment
Used to dispel myths that staying in a stranger’s home is dangerous through articles like “5 Ways to know if Your Airbnb Host is Cool”. It can be used to directly target its competitors through articles like “8 Reasons Why Airbnb Gives You The Perfect Holiday!”
A picture is worth a thousand words, but the memories are priceless. The main goal of Instagram for travel service providers is to eventually provide the best memories and feelings of wanderlust for its audience.
Cheers and happy graduation to all year 4s!
photo credit: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/414/19095131451_f2b0d55644_b.jpg