Travel is one of the most popular topics on Instagram, and with the new trending feed in the app, being part of and effective in niche topics has become increasingly important. Now that we’re at the peak of summer travel, an analysis of 5.8 million travel-related photos (tagged with #travel, #vacation, #tourism, etc.) from July surfaced interesting trends around related topics, ideas, and brands.
The accounts whose travel-related content performed best in July were National Geographic, GoPro, and National Geographic Travel. It may be surprising, however, to note that the travel publisher and camera companies were followed by fashion retailer Top Shop and Mercedes Benz. This illustrates how companies in various verticals can garner a large share of voice within various audiences through the power of social media.
When it comes to travel, women in the entertainment industry are most influential on Instagram. The top five most popular influencers span traditional media, with Ashley Benson of ABC’s “Pretty Little Liars” taking the number one spot, as well as non-traditional celebrities like 19-year-old YouTube personality Jenn McAllister. Travel brands may want to consider collaborating with or featuring these influencers, and other strong female entertainers.
In the Instagram #travel community, Europe and Italy are the destinations most photographed. Utilizing these popular hashtags (#europe and #italy) will help brands participate in these popular conversations. It might even behoove brands or companies targeting this demographic to show European landmarks rather than other worldwide destinations in their social media and marketing campaigns.
According to geolocation, the majority of photos were shared from the United States. Instagram has a truly global audience with three continents covering the top five.
1. United States (167.4k images)
2. Italy (44.8k images)
3. Indonesia (35.8k images)
4. Turkey (32.8k images)
5. Thailand (32.6k images)
Top Emotions Associated With Travel
The emotions most tagged on travel-related images in Instagram elicited romance and positivity. It may be tempting to utilize multiple hashtags and get very specific with regard to vacation activities, but simplicity is often most effective.
1. love (12%, 685.2k images)
2. wanderlust (9%, 508.2k images)
3. fun (7%, 389.9k images)
4. adventure (6%, 343.8k images)
5. happy (6%, 328.3k images)
Additionally, 13% of all travel-related Instagram photos are tagged with VSCO or VSCOcam. That’s more than 767,000 images posted via a third-party app because people — and brands — want to make the best impression on this highly visual social platform.
Whether you’re an airline, consumer electronics company, or clothing retailer, the social media tactics for winning at #travel remain the same.
Here are three tips for brands tapping into travel this summer:
1. Recognize that your customers are showing you exactly what they're most passionate about. Utilize insights from visual platforms like Instagram to guide not only your social media presence but overall marketing.
2. Capture trending destinations, like Europe and Italy in the month of July, in your photography when targeting travelers via Instagram.
3. Understanding not only where people travel but how they feel about travel is important in developing effective brand messaging. Convey sentiment by adding one or two popular hashtags, such as #love or #wanderlust, when posting travel-related photos.