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Hoteliers, take advantage of Instagram, or wave goodbye to 63 million guests

There is no doubt that social media are reforming the way we think, from marketing to socializing.

During the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) seminar session entitled “Inspiring the Explorers – Destination Instagram,” Instagram was explored by Terry Kane, Head of Auto, Finance, Government, Telecommunications and Travel in the MENA at Facebook and Instagram.

Travelers have been found to be some of the most active users on Instagram, according to Kane.

The impact that Instagram has on travelers, from inspiration through to booking is enormous.

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New medium of marketing for hotels

 The expression “word of mouth” may sound old and outdated, but it is still one of the most essential marketing tactics, according to Innroad, a website that provides hotel management solutions.

Before the advent of review sites and Instagram, word of mouth meant that a guest would tell ten people about his or her experience and then, based on that, those ten people would each tell ten additional people.

The cycle would continue with the hotel benefiting from this first-hand publicity.

This tactic allowed many hotels to grow and sustain success over an extended period.

Today, with technology, word of mouth is executed differently, but the concept of guests sharing their experiences with others, especially on Instagram, is stronger than ever, according to Innroad.

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Reputation is critical for longevity in the independent hotel business, so operators must learn how to participate in and navigate today’s world of word of mouth marketing.

For hoteliers, this means that their reputations are no longer solely through a slow-moving one-to-one word of mouth, but are instead through guest’s opinions instantly accessible to millions of people who trust them.

It is critical that hoteliers be knowledgeable of what’s being shared online about their businesses, while ensuring they enhance the hotel’s reputation and, ultimately, help drive higher occupancy and revenues.

More than 500 million Instagram users share an average of 95 million photos and videos per day, and 10% of them are from the Middle East – 63 million users to be exact, according to Arabian Marketer, a news outlet.

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A traveler’s go-to

The emergence of Instagram and advanced technology has changed the traveler’s journey from inspiration through to booking, according to a social media expert who spoke at the ATM’s Global Stage.

Those traveling no longer rely on guidebooks or travel catalogs with out-of-date information or even paper maps to navigate their latest holiday destination. Instead, travelers now have real-time access to various social media platforms such as Instagram.

With more than 500 million users sharing an average of 95 million photos and videos per day, travel plans are continuously being made, shared and made again on Instagram solely.

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The journey begins with a picture

Today’s frequent travelers browse Instagram 28 days out of every month, searching for new ideas and new holiday destinations.

During the seminar session at ATM on April 23, the unique opportunities that Instagram’s visual nature has given to travel lovers around the world were explored.

Kane said: “Today, more and more travelers begin their journey on Instagram, looking for inspiration for their next adventure, next destination to visit or next restaurant to dine in. Viewing pictures, videos or stories on Instagram give users a sense of wanting to be there and wanting to experience what they are considering.”

“With so many people sharing their experiences on Instagram, it is easier now than ever to research trips before you depart to find new ideas and new destinations to explore that are off the beaten track, allowing you to create your journey and experience.”