In June 2018, Instagram announced that they had reached 1 billion active users. This figure is almost triple of those on Twitter, who in Q1 2018 reached 336 million, and 10 times the amount of Snapchat who currently have 100 million active users.
The social platform reported that there were 15 million active business profiles on Instagram in July 2017. By November of the same year, this figure had leaped to 25 million active accounts.
According to TechCrunch, Instagram claims the majority of these accounts are owned by small businesses, and one in three say they have built their businesses using the platform. Vishal Shah, Director of Product for Instagram Business, added: "businesses that are natively born on Instagram often do the best on the platform."
Instagram states that 80% of user accounts on the platform follow a business page, and their 200 million daily active users visit at least one business profile every day. According to Vishal Shah, ‘two-thirds of visits to business profiles come from users who don’t follow that profile’ so the potential reach is huge.
With business profiles becoming a prominent sales tool, I’ve listed my 5 favorite Instagram travel business pages for tour & activity operators to follow for inspiration:
Followers: 3.1 Million
This Instagram page is the official business account for Australia's tourist organisation. It has a massive following of 3.1 million, so large that no other DMO comes close in comparison.
Posts on this page average around 100,000 likes, and it's no surprise with the quality of their content and imagery. Every photo showcases Australia's beautiful colors, nature and wildlife.
What I like about this page, apart from the beautiful imagery, is the refreshing humor on each post. It is creative and engaging. This is a takeaway for your own Instagram page. You should show personality and write posts in the voice of your company. This is a great way to interact with your followers.
STA Travel is the worlds largest travel agency for student and young travelers. Around 59% of Instagram users are between 18-29 years old, so Instagram is the perfect platform for this company to reach their audience.
On Instagram, STA Travel has created the hashtag '#StartTheAdventure'. This is a really smart marketing tool. The agency promotes for their followers to share travel photography using the hashtag. STA Travel will then re-post these onto their own Instagram page. This method increases interaction with followers, plus the agency now has a range of images to use without doing any of the work.
For tour & activity operators, this is a great way to have a constant stream of new photography/videos from your customers and is a lot easier than having to organize and pay for a photographer.
Followers: 1.9 Million
Alex Strohl is a French photograph, who happens to have one of the most followed photographer accounts in the world. His photography has been featured in Vanity Fair, Buzzfeed and on Land Rover campaigns.
Due to his massive following, Alex Strohl is classed as a social media influencer. His posts can impact and influence people across the world. Reports suggest that when a consumer sees a photo from a person rather than a brand, they have a 4.5% higher chance of conversion. This number increases to 9.6% if they interact with the photo.
A social media influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.
Alex does 'paid partnerships' with tourist organisations to promote the destination to travelers... And he’s not the only one doing this. In March 2018, there were around 1.1 million influencers in the world, including photographers, solo explores, family travelers and adventure enthusiasts.
This could be a high return form of advertisement for your tours & activities if planned and executed well. I'd suggest first looking at influencers with an audience of over 5,000 followers who can enjoy your tour for free in exchange for a tagged Instagram post.
Followers: 3.1 Million
Airbnb is a large online marketplace for short-term leasing or renting accommodation. With over 150 million users and 4 million listings, Instagram is just another string to the Airbnb marketing bow.
Airbnb post photographs of travelers enjoying their experiences or listed properties. Every post has a geo-tag with the location of where the photograph was taken. According to research, posts that tag a location receive 79% higher engagement than those without.
Tour & activity operators should always add a geo-tag to photos, videos and stories on Instagram, and also include the location name as a hashtag within the post. Your content will then appear when an Instagram user is doing research or is in the location.
Margaret River Discovery Company offers wine and guided tours to travelers visiting the Australian region. Their Instagram account is one of the highest followed tour companies in the world. This is due to their high visitor numbers and posts of customers genuinely enjoying their tours.
In marketing, we know that people like to see people enjoying a product or experience. On Instagram, it’s no different. In fact, Instagram photos that feature faces get 38% more likes than those without.
This is another way to show the personality of your company on your Instagram page. You can show how you interact with your customers, and how your staff also enjoy the tours & activities. Customers will follow your page to see their photos and will then share these with their followers.
I'd love to hear what Instagram travel pages you follow and what you like about them? Share your recommendations below in the comments section.
Download our simple checklist for tips on how to set up your business profile, connect and engage with followers, and to analyse your progress: