Flying high: The best takeaways from travel social media

It’s no longer enough (and it hasn’t been for a while, if we’re being honest) for brands to simply have a presence on different social platforms and post the exact same promotional content in each place. Travel especially is an industry with highly compelling visual content at its fingertips, and it takes a little extra for brands to stand out in that environment. Here are some of the travel brands taking it the extra mile across social, plus the takeaways any industry can apply to their own multi-channel social marketing.

Travel magazines staying true to brand voice

Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure are two of the most well-known travel magazines and they’ve both done a beautiful job establishing vibrant multi-channel social presences. You can find them both across all of the expected networks- Twitter (CN Traveler, T+L), Facebook (CN Traveler, T+L) and Instagram (CN Traveler, T+L)- plus the less expected Tumblr (CN Traveler, T+L), Pinterest (CN Traveler, T+L) and Snapchat (usernames: cntraveler and TravelLeisure).

Their tone is more reserved than some other brands, which is fitting for slightly more highbrow luxury magazines, but that doesn’t make their content feel less approachable or make their cross-platform promotion of newer channels any less effective:

Both mags Snapchats take followers around the world, giving them glimpses of different cities and the foods and cultural experiences available there. CN Traveler recently took followers on a tour of Paris (watchable with or without sound; a smart move when we’re learning just how much video is viewed on mute)

CN Traveler Paris 1


While T+L took followers on a tour of a new Royal Caribbean boat suite and one of their fine dining restaurants.

The takeaway? You don’t have to sacrifice brand voice and tone to able to reach followers in the newest places they want to find you, like Snapchat.

Airlines having fun

Air New Zealand first came to many people’s attention in 2011 with their flight safety information video starring Richard Simmons that won them one of Travel + Leisure’s first SMITTY (Social Media’s Most Innovative Travel Companies) awards. Since then they’ve continued to build a fun and extensive social presence that encourages customers, fans and followers to be a part of their social story. From their website:

“Every week we will choose our favourite moment submitted, add some Air New Zealand magic to create your #AirNZMoments. We will share the #AirNZMoments images across our Air NZ social media platforms and of course you will get the credit!”

On Twitter they share passenger stories and saves, like this one about a fish who finally got to fly:

And harking back to their original video fame, they continue to push out fun pop-culture related pieces like this #ActiveWear video, based on this ACTIVEWEAR parody video. They got their engineers in on it too, as seen in this video tweet. You can also find them on Facebook, of course, and on Snapchat (username: airnewzealand).

Takeaway? This is a brand that has learned how to have fun with their image, and how to do that in a slightly different way on each platform so that even fans who follow them everywhere won’t get bored.

Hotels experimenting

Earlier this year Starwood Hotels ran an experiment on Instagram, enabling customers to book a room using, a tool favored by Instagram influencers. Digiday wrote about how it worked:

“The process isn’t exactly seamless: When users tap one of the photos, they receive a link via email to book their stay at the hotel’s featured properties. Two new Parisian hotels, Le Metropolitan and Le Dokhan’s, can now be booked in this way.”

Starwood worked with several influencers via on this campaign, hoping to tap into the influencers’ audiences to boost their own. While this particular campaign has ended, Starwood just announced they’re merging with Marriott Hotels, and this spirit of experimentation will be more important than ever as they collectively rebrand and most likely rethink their approach on social (#independentmoments no longer fits as well, for example).

Takeaway? When you have the resources, don’t be afraid to experiment with new avenues for letting your customers get what they want and need from you. Often failed experiments can teach you even more about those wants and needs than the successful ones. As for Instagram specifically, a shift is coming when Instagram business profiles roll out in the coming months.

Got a great travel brand on social that we missed? Let us know about it on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

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Featured image via Unsplash