Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.
Did you know that over 60% of people aged 18-34 believe the ‘Instagrammability’ of a location is the most important factor in deciding a holiday destination?Users crave likes and positive reinforcement when they take vacations. This manifests as tons of beautiful user-generated photos and videos filling Instagram’s feed.It gives you an insight into how critical Instagram is for travel companies. There is no better place to show off a picturesque location. We’re programmed to double-click a photo or tag a friend in the comments if we think it looks stunning.While some may tell you that organic reach is dying on the platform, this is completely untrue for things of beauty. Pristine photos and videos of iconic holiday locations will never get old. It taps into the inner emotion of users who wish you could transport them from the mundane day-to-day grind into what comes across as idyllic.So they like, comment, and share. Your reach grows.But Instagram marketing for travel companies goes beyond crystal clear water and pure white sand beaches. Let’s look at some first-class examples of travel companies on Instagram which you can draw inspiration from.
Expedia is one of the most iconic travel brands globally, and its Instagram profile is a reflection of that memorability.What I love most about Expedia’s Instagram strategy is its use of Reels - the most popular content on this social network at the moment.
Via high-quality video (often taken by a drone), Expedia takes its followers to locations they have only ever dreamed of. They partner these videos with provocative, consistent, and on-brand overlay text that piques interest.The result? Thousands of organic views every time.Consider how you can incorporate regular Reels into your strategy to increase your reach dramatically.
2. Travel Nevada
Travel Nevada’s Instagram profile shines a light on its most recognizable landmarks and locations. From Lake Tahoe to Rubies Route and The Loneliest Road in America, you can sink your teeth into videos, photos, and maps of this vast and beautiful state.I particularly like how they feature these memorable locations in the Stories Highlights section, with cover photos that resemble the Travel Nevada logo:
Categorizing content as Highlights makes it easier for followers to find your best collateral. This section is also one of the first things a user will see when they land on your profile.Travel Nevada’s effective social media strategy goes far beyond Instagram. For example, discover how it grew its email list with personality quizzes using ShortStack.
Next up is Skyscanner, one of the world’s biggest search engines for travelers booking flights, hotels, and cars.What makes Skyscanner’s Instagram profile so interesting? Its use of Instagram Guides is what caught my eye.If you’re unfamiliar with Instagram Guides, I’m not surprised. It’s a feature that has only been available since late 2020, and the uptake has been underwhelming.But for travel companies, it’s an excellent way to organize your content and uniquely engage with followers.You can add places, titles, and descriptions to photos in your catalog to create a sequential way for users to visualize a travel destination (or a series of destinations).For example, Skyscanner has a Guide titled “Awesome Architecture” that shows off “Brilliant buildings from around the globe.”
Guides are added to your Instagram profile as an easy-to-find tab next to Posts, Reels, and Videos.
4. Lonely Planet
A list of travel brands wouldn’t be complete without Lonely Planet. It has over 3 million followers on Instagram alone, but its reach is far greater than that.One thing Lonely Planet does very well on Instagram is to use mini-games to increase post engagement. For example, check out the photo below of a sunset in Greece, overlaid with the text “The best sunset I ever saw was in _______”.
The trick is to make questions like this widely relatable (the sun sets every day, everywhere) and easy to answer (just one or two words). It’s no surprise this post has almost one thousand comments!
Airbnb is an interesting addition to this list because it’s less about the location and the scenery, and more about the unique homes of its hosts.For decades, the attraction of traveling has been to uncover secret caves, beautiful mountains, and jaw-dropping views. Airbnb creates a similar sense of excitement and awe from the architecture and surroundings of its homes.All of its content features popular stays, inside and out, to entice potential travelers into planning a vacation. Here are a few examples, but I’d highly recommend looking at its Insta profile!
What can you learn from Airbnb? There is more to travel than the scenery. Culture and experience are embedded in every aspect of a vacation.
6. Intrepid Travel
Intrepid Travel is “On a mission to create positive change through the joy of travel.”When it comes to Instagram, its focus on people makes it stand out. Rather than simply sharing photos of landmarks, architecture, and scenery, Intrepid captures the moments that matter to travelers - the personal experience and joy of being in a beautiful new location with no troubles. Followers can visualize themselves doing the same thing.You’ll notice that almost all of its content includes personal travel experiences:
Be sure to include at least some photos of people in your content so that it resonates on a deeper level with your target audience.
Instagram is the perfect social media network for travel companies due to its visual nature. It also allows you to organize your content using Guides, Highlights, Hashtags, and more.Organized information is critical when planning a vacation. While a stunning photo may catch someone’s attention, the structure of your content allows them to truly immerse in a location and plan a trip.Think of your Instagram profile as a modern-day travel brochure. All the information, excitement, and details a trip planner needs to get started should be available.Are you maximizing your use of Instagram? What could you learn from the examples shared in this article?
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