Instagram replacing travel brochures as survey finds social media influencing half of holidaymakers' choices

Mike Wright
An Instagram post from the Benagil sea cave in Portugal  - Instagram/@beautifuldestinations

Instagram has replaced the travel brochure with holidaymakers now choosing destinations based on social media rather than travel agents, a survey has found.

Research for easyJet of 18 to 65-year-olds showed more than half (55 percent) had booked trips purely based on images they had seen on the social network.

Almost a third (32 percent) of the more than 2,000 people surveyed also admitted their biggest motivation when picking a location was how nice the photos will look on their own Instagram feed.

The research found holiday makers were now taking an average of 2,500 photos during a week’s holiday in a bid to find the perfect shot to post online.

Daniel Young, Head of Digital Experience at easyJet, said: “As people’s attention turns to booking their summer holidays our research shows that they are not only turning to social media to showcase their travels but also to inspire their next adventure in the first place.”

As more people glean holiday inspiration from social media, the study found destinations that provided scenic or visually-striking backdrops were growing in popularity.

An Instagram post of the Trolltunga outcropping in Norway, which has seen a sharp surge in visitors in the last decade Credit: Instagram/@lensbible

Among the most travelled-to were the Northern Lights in Iceland, Italy’s Lake Como, the picturesque Greek island of Santorini and the Benagil sea cave in Portugal.

The findings come as Instagram in particular has been credited turning hitherto unfashionable tourist destinations into thronging hotspots.

For instance, fewer than 1,000 trekked up the remote Norwegian rock formation ‘Trolltunga’ in 2009, yet by January this year the striking outcropping had been tagged in more than 100,000 Instagram photos.

Although, the surging footfall social media vogue can bring has not been universally welcomed.

Residents of the Scottish Isles of Skye have complained that swelling crowds looking to take photos at its Fairy Pools are straining local infrastructure and sometimes blocking the path of emergency services.