This was the key message from Jeremy Jauncey, founder of marketing agency and social media travel and lifestyle community Beautiful Destinations, speaking at the World Travel Market earlier this month.

‘70% of internet traffic is via a smartphone, and one in five minutes spent on phones around the world is on Facebook or Instagram,’ he said. ‘Travel is inherently visual. Mobile visual communications is the future of advertising – that’s the opportunity for travel marketers.’

Reversing the traditional approach of taking content created for traditional media and dropping it into social media, Jauncey advised travel marketers to instead adopt a ‘social-first content’ approach.

Earlier this year, Beautiful Destinations worked with the Philippines tourist board on the ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ campaign, which was photographed and filmed entirely on iPhones. ‘We were given three challenges: how to revive global brand awareness through social media; how to target specific groups in the US, UK and Europe; and how to create impactful social media assets for all marketing channels,’ said Jauncey.

Five of Beautiful Destinations’ biggest influencers were invited to the country to take photos and videos that would be pushed out via social media first. The images were shared across Beautiful Destinations’ Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat accounts to its 13 million followers.

Snapchat and Instagram Stories were used each day to tell the story behind the ‘hero’ pictures. ‘Live is like a spectrum, Snapchat is fully live and authentic, while Instagram Stories is pre-created and for curated content. We mix and match live with other content,’ explained Jauncey.

Taking advantage of the detailed data analysis achievable on social platforms, the Philippines tourist board then used the best-performing content from social in a traditional outdoor campaign that included a takeover of London’s Waterloo Station.

‘The advantages of social-first content are cost, scale and accountability,’ concluded Jauncey. He also reminded visitors that ‘social media can be forgiving’ so don’t be afraid to experiment.

 

Global Blue takeouts:

• Mobile is playing a more central role in travel marketing. Not only is it on track to become the dominant travel booking method by 2018 but it is also now being used by experimental tourist boards for campaign content creation.

• This approach flips traditional campaign planning on its head, with images first pushed out via social before those assets are extended on established marketing channels.