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Starwood – the first travel brand to advertise on Instagram.
Monday, 3rd February 2014
Source : Digital Tourism Think Tank
Starwood Preferred Guests, the loyalty programme of major hotel chain Starwood Hotels & Resorts has launched the first advertising campaign by a travel brand on Instagram.

In essence the campaign makes use of existing Instagram images that have been published by brands and promotes them to users who are not following the brand. Users can click on a button on each image to keep from seeing ads in the future, much like Facebook users can chose to ignore certain advertising messages in their news feed.

4Hoteliers Image Library
 
Visual ads – The next big thing in social advertisement?
 
Abbey Reider, Associate Director of Social Media for Starwood Hotels & Resorts tells Skift, "The nature of Instagram is a natural fit for travel given the rich, visual nature of the con-tent and the underlying desire to share travels and experiences with others."
 
Advertisers are therefore now tapping into the visual social communities to target their audiences. It provides an innovative way of opening up a new channel for mobile market-ing. given that travellers increasingly use their smartphone during the travel, it provides a promising option to market relevant products at the point of consumption.
 
Visual content provides high engagement
 
In addition visual content on social media networks provide in general high engagement rates. "Instagram is one of Starwood's top performing social channels for engagement across all nine of our brands," Reider says in a Skift interview. "We receive 45,000 Insta-grams per month tagging our properties. Instagram's that superficially tag #SPGLife have generated more than 350,000 likes from other users who saw their friend's photo in their feed."
 
This surely won't be the last major travel brand that we will see moving towards Instagram campaigns, as the combination of photos, mobile and easy sharing in an open communi-ty, seems to be a good fit for the travel industry.

The Digital Tourism Think Tank is the name given to this initiative which aims at providing thought leadership to the tourism industry in digital marketing best practice. This project was created by Nick Hall, Managing Director at SE1 Media, who has more than 10 years experience working in digital tourism marketing, both in the marketing sector and in the tourism industry. Nick is supported by his team at SE1 Media, who have a great experience in the tourism industry as well. In addition, The Digital Tourism Think Tank puts together a team of experts in diverse and varied fields of the tourism industry.

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