Conrad Hotels and Resorts has turned to Instagram to drive bookings. The chain is now allowing travelers to book rooms at its 24 hotels by clicking on an Instagram photo of a property that then leads them to the reservations page. Conrad is using Like2Buy technology by Curalate, a visual marketing firm, to turn its Instagram photos into bookings.
"The point of Instagram is to inspire," Stuart Foster, vice president of marketing at Conrad, told USA Today. Click on the photo, he says, and the Like2Buy technology "seamlessly connects you to the booking widget of that property. It's instant gratification for someone looking to truly be inspired to travel."
In many cases, the Instagram photographer is the hotel guest. The pictures include buildings, rooms, food, and experiences.
Foster told USA Today that Conrad was inspired by the fashion industry to leverage Instagram. "We were looking outside of hospitality and saw that people were looking at shoes and fashion items and they wanted to buy them right away," he said.
A Forrester study last year found that Instagram delivered brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter. At the end of 2014, Instagram was the third most widely used social network among travelers, according to PhoCusWright. The travel market research firm found that 83 percent of travelers are active Facebook users, 38 percent are Twitter users, and 29 percent are Instagram users.
Among Millennials, the percentage of Instagram users jumped to 50 percent. Hotels have aggressively been targeting those younger travelers, who are poised to become a larger share of consumers in the future.
Late last year, travel startup Stayful launched a new service, #tweetstay which lets customers book hotels in major cities with a single tweet. Just sent a quick message to Stayful’s account with the city the travel is looking to visit, date and number of nights of stay and what type of hotel (budget, mid-range or luxe hotel) the traveler wants. Last year, Loews Hotels introduced reservations by Twitter. Travelers could request a room by tweeting to @Loews_Hotels with the hashtag #BookLoews.