Travel Brands Starting To Explore Instagram in Their Latest Social Media Marketing Efforts


If you are a travel brand seeking a platform for spreading awareness and cultivating relationships, here is a space for you to play in 2012. 

Earlier today I saw a Tweet that included a link to an article entitled “23 Brands Using Instagram And What They’re Doing Right” along with a reference to the lack of travel brands included on this list. The only true travel brand included on the list was NH Hoteles which was recognized for having an interesting theme where they consistently post great sunrises and morning shots tagged with #wakeuppics.

With more than 15 million users, the recently crowned 2011 iPhone App of the Year seems like the perfect tool for travel brands to tap into. One travel brand that has just begun to experiment with Instagram’s photography filter program (which makes it nearly impossible to take a bad shot) is bmibaby.

In an effort to bring some of their destinations to life, the low cost airline is hosting crowd sourced travel guides which they hope will be an inspiration for all bmibaby customers. To enter the competition, the airline asks users to tag their Instagram photos with a particular hashtag for their featured destination. After bmibaby selects finalists, the community can then vote for their favorite photo using Instagram’s ‘like’ feature.

Bmibaby began their search for the best images with Italy, which was soon followed by Germany and Holland. The most recently featured destination, Switzerland, quickly gathered over two thousand images tagged with the hashtag #MySwitzerland.

At this point, bmibaby appears to be very pleased with the initial results and will continue their Instagram competition into 2012.

How do you think travel brands can best utilize Instagram in the new year? Are you doing anything with Instagram in your own work?


10 Responses to “Travel Brands Starting To Explore Instagram in Their Latest Social Media Marketing Efforts”

  1. Spencer Spellman December 20, 2011 6:42 pm

    Glad to see you following up on this Rich. Honestly, there is no reason that travel wouldn’t dominate that type of list. Travelers take photos…travelers share photos. 1+1=2. I’d like to see travel companies tapping into things like Tumblr and Instagram and other tools that are high on photo content more in the next year and I think there will need to be some leaders that first pave that way.

  2. Kirsten December 20, 2011 7:39 pm

    I use Instagram heavily for my own work and purposes and have noted several brands I respect making their way into the arena. Prive, for example, does a great job. Quite a number of NYC hotels are using it as well. I haven’t seen what bmibaby is doing but now I will be checking them out.

    I also teach mobile photography for individuals and brands and in 2012 I’d like to expand on that to be helping even more brands better their presence on Instagram, Tumblr and other outlets besides the usual Twitter and Facebook.

    From what I have seen, there are brands utilizing both Instagram and Tumblr – but many are still missing the mark by a great distance. It sounds like what bmibaby is doing is more innovative and creative than other efforts I have seen! Good on them!

  3. Ant Stone December 21, 2011 9:46 am

    How about Tourism Australia on Facebook? With just shy of two million fans, and arguably one of the world’s largest tourism boards, they were early to adopt Instagram into their community.

    It’s not the most inspiring adoption, but still, they’ve kept it simple and it works pretty well. Check it out for yourself:

  4. Adam December 21, 2011 1:34 pm

    Just wish NH Hoteles would offer free wifi in their rooms – maybe that would be a better outreach!

  5. Rich Whitaker December 21, 2011 2:27 pm

    wow, i wasn’t aware of tourism australia and #seeaustralia on istagram… good stuff. i’m following them now. also a fan of what tourism penang is doing…

  6. Cole @ Four Jandals December 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Just wish they would make it for Android already!

  7. John O'Nolan December 21, 2011 3:23 pm

    They have 😉

  8. RoomCritic December 21, 2011 11:40 pm

    RoomCritic is a brand new hotel based travel start-up in early infancy. We started using Instagram about 6 months ago to create conversations with people who love to take photos of hotel rooms. That’s our thing. We began with a simple #roomcritic tag and are now developing an app for our page to display those tagged pics. In the new year we will look at new ways to further develop natural link with our Instagram friends.

  9. Andrew Hickey December 27, 2011 3:47 am

    G Adventures has plans for Instagram as part of their 2012 Social Media marketing strategy. Here’s a link to our newly created page:

  10. Tia January 11, 2012 5:10 pm

    We’ve been slowly adding to our group of social media networks, and Instagram is part of it. It’s the quickest (and prettiest) way for us to showcase of-the-minute shots of our city, and be able to share them instantly across our different channels. Our follower base is still small, but we plan to use more hashtags and update more frequently in the new year. Sunrises are definitely some of our most popular photos as well, but we also tend to feature some of our local personalities, like our Visitor Centre Counsellor Tourism Terry! You can find us @tourismpg 🙂