The social media network Instagram is a natural fit for the online marketing efforts of most hotels. Because of the highly visual nature of the hospitality industry, combined with the photo and video sharing platform’s popularity with Millennial Generation travelers, Instagram marketing holds great potential for hoteliers. However, the majority of hotels have not incorporated Instagram into their marketing campaigns. With over 400 million worldwide users now, this social media network should not be ignored by hoteliers. The young and mobile user base, rapid growth, and high levels of engagement make this platform highly lucrative for hotels.
The visual orientation and simplicity of Instagram has directly led to its incredible growth. Figures published by MDG Advertising, over 80 million photos are shared on Instagram each day. Studies have repeatedly indicated that the clear majority of people learn and retain information visually through images, rather than through reading in text form. This explains the appeal of the network. Hotels can capitalize by showing off their brand through posting compelling images and short videos, accompanied by brief captions.
Instagram has captivated younger users to an amazing extent, many of whom feel that other social networks are more attuned to older generations. Millennials make up most of Instagram’s user base. According to figures from Sprout Social, 53 percent of the network’s users are between 18-29 years of age. Furthermore, 62 percent of 12-17 year olds are Instagram users. Teens may not represent a hotel’s targeted audience, but the network is expanding in popularity among older users. Also, this very large population segment represents the future of the hospitality industry.
Younger consumers naturally prefer brands to be present on their social networks of choice and seek connection with their favorites through social channels. Instagram has extremely high engagement levels due to the passionate nature of its users. Hotels, which build a connection with this user base, will benefit from the many shares and likes.
Instagram recently opened up its functionality for the web by allowing photo sharing from desktop computers. Searching for photos is web-enabled now as well. This makes using the platform simpler for busy hoteliers, but its mobile users positively position Instagram for the future.
In part two, we will examine some best practices for the use of Instagram for hotel marketing purposes.
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