WHEN choosing a travel destination, a myriad of factors is often taken into consideration, from price to logistics, terrain to local cuisine. However, millennials – the most intensively analyzed generation – are now also keen to select destinations on its “instagrammability.”
In other words, millennials now look beyond price points and convenience, and instead select their destinations based on how many picturesque shots they’d be able to post on social media.
According to Independent, a survey by UK home insurance company Schofields Insurance said 40.1 percent of millennials see a location’s instagrammability as the most important factor to consider when choosing a holiday destination. This is followed by cost and the availability of alcohol, which ranked second at 24 percent.
The search for personal development ranked third at 22.6 percent, followed by chances to experience local cuisine at 9.4 percent and opportunities for sightseeing at 3.9 percent.
“I have no shame in admitting I love going to places that I know will look good on Instagram, but that’s not the only reason for choosing them,” Instagrammer who only goes by Rebecca, 25, tells the UK daily.
“If a place is beautiful, I’ll appreciate it and enjoy being there as well as upping my Insta-game – it’s a win-win. Instagram is a great place to find holiday inspiration too,” she said.
The instagrammability of a location has never been a more prized commodity than it is today, more so with the rise of the travel bloggers like Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen.
The pair, 26 and 24 respectively, are Instagram sensations who have utilised their three million followers to earn as much as US$9,000 for a single post on the platform, according to Cosmopolitan in January. They don’t post a picture for less than US$3,000, Morris adds in the article.
“As soon as we started posting photos together, brands would contact us much more frequently than they would when we were traveling by ourselves,” Morris said.
“I did a job for a phone company where I flew out for three days; there were two days filming and then I had to do five photos on Instagram, and that was US$35,000,” he adds.
The pictures on their accounts – both using adequately trite handles like @doyoutravel and @gypsea_lust – are beautifully composed, seemingly candid and perfectly timed. From a giraffe casually snacking off their plates to the iconic looking-into-the-horizon shot, each one is more marketable than the next.
So it’s not hard to see why millennials place such high regard on the look of a location and, more importantly, how that will translate in a 1080-pixel square picture.
After all, every picture could attract more followers.
Marlysa Razak only just began travel blogging, but quickly realised the effort and importance her Instagram platform was to gain more followers. While she notes she has never chosen a destination based on its instagrammability, she does put a lot of emphasis on the pictures she chooses to upload on her account.
“I usually think of what kind of story or information I want to share with my followers when I’m selecting a picture. I’ll try to relate one picture to the next to make it like a story,” the lawyer by profession said.
Marly takes as many as 100 pictures in the span of 48 hours, and of these, only five make it online.
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It is clear social media is a driving force for millennials and their travel decisions. Undeniably, this is directly linked to the pervasive nature of sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and, of course, Instagram.
The American Press Institute says millennials use these platforms to communicate, but more importantly, they use these sites to consume news and share information. Forbes says the simplicity of social media – with its ability to offer a wealth of information with no more than a swipe here or a voice command there – is what keeps them engaged.
It is both these circumstances that have dramatically altered the way this largest generation, according to Morgan Stanley, choose to spend their disposable income. Big ticket purchases like houses and cars no longer top the list of priority spending, the wealth management group says, so instead millennials turn to, among other things, travel. And with it comes a unique set of demands such as cultural acuity and low-cost but high-quality expectations.
According to Sarah Clark, the global general manager of a travel site catered specifically to millennials, more are preferring the flexibility of hostels rather than sterile hotels.
Tour agencies, too, have had to adapt by offering more authentic cultural experiences rather than dropping off busloads of tourists at crowded attractions. Companies also have to mould their practices to offer “bleisure“, a combination of business and leisure travel, as an option to lure this age group.
To simplify these drastic changes and new travel trends as being a result of social media alone would be foolish but, at the same time, not far from reality.
This is a generation of digitally obsessed yet endlessly inquisitive people who are adamant on departing from traditional travel to forge their own paths. The comfort and safety craved by the baby boomers – which gave way to the prevalence of chain restaurants and hotels at tourist sites – will soon be replaced with boutique hotels and artisanal cafes.
All of which will be “instagrammable”, endlessly photographed and posted online.