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Manufacturing FOMO

  • Published at 03:23 pm October 18th, 2018
Photo: Annie Spratt

Is your travel Instagrammable?

What drives the decision for holiday destinations? Easiness of availing a visa, cost and friends and family experiences’ of some locations. Perhaps all of the above, but how do you shortlist the few spots that you want to be in? Would I be wrong to suggest that Instagram is one of the key agents of influence of a modern day young traveler or tourist? Certainly not.

Word of Mouth (WoM) is certainly the biggest influencer of your travel choices but what are some of the other elements that drive your travel choices? It’s the ‘Instagrammability’ of the location, perhaps.

A recent survey conducted by Schofields as cited in an article on Travolution.com titled “Survey highlights Instagram as key factor in destination choice among millennials” suggested 40% of those under 33 prioritize ‘Instagrammability’ when choosing their next holiday spot.

The instagrammabilty or ‘picturesqueness’ of a particular place now beats other factors like as cost, local cuisine, culture and whether or not booze is freely available at a low cost. 

The ‘youngs’ (over 18-under 35) are looking for less mainstream destinations and that is perhaps the reason for opting out of Facebook and other travel websites and choosing Instagram to find new destinations. That’s why celebrities are out and peers are in because they lack the wide reach of celebrities but can form deeper bonds with their fellow peers, making them more powerful drivers of decisions.

Once there are a few options, Tripadvisor, booking or Facebook can be used to further crowd-source information about the location. Closed groups on Facebook also further strengthen the choices made via Instagram – groups like Marvels of Travels, Thailand Cambodia Laos Vietnam Backpackers/ Travelers such closed groups can really allow interactions between travelers and extract just the right information required than going through pages of Lonely Planet.

Wanaka, a small town in New Zealand, began to actively pursue social media influencers. They achieved a 14% increase in tourism, and thanked Instagram for its role in that accomplishment.

Everyone is chasing likes. Even those who are aren’t getting paid for it are going from place to place that they have seen on Instagram, just for bragging rights or to copy an Instagrammer they follow. They would ideally have a checklist of frames that they want to be in. Like, in a café with a cup of coffee while they are looking outside the window – doesn’t matter if the coffee tastes great or not. And this style of photography is called ‘plandid_ (planned candid). Its about the visuals and hashtags than about the non-virtual experience.

Popular online air-ticketing agents publish blogs titled ‘Even more Instagram worthy travel destinations’ along with a series of hashtags for people to use for greater reach of their posts and choices. Because you want to make everyone on your Instagram feed seethe with envy

Old school travel agents who were selling packaged tours are passé for the internet savvy. Celebrities promoting locations are on the way out and what is trending is the hashtags and Instagrammability of locations.

Travelers are often great story tellers.  They often have compelling stories to tell. Whether they’re focusing on food, lodging, fashion, location, people, experiences, festivals — these visuals create a great way to immerse in a sea of experiences across the globe. Instagram is definitely a great way to tell your story and a trendy tool to do that, however, one day, this will be gone too but the real taste of visiting new places will continue for mankind to keep exploring.