11 Instagram Newsfeed Tourism Marketing Fails and How to Fix Them

By Rebecca White
Published on July 20, 2018

Are you investing time on Instagram to market your Tourism Business or Destination?

According to the Australian Sensis Social Media Report 2018 people continue to flock to Instagram, with 46% of people using Instagram, which is the second highest usage after Facebook.

So there is a very good chance your Ideal Customers are spending time in Instagram!

However, to really succeed on Instagram, it is super important you only share the most engaging photos and videos, so you see a positive return on the time and effort you put into Instagram.

Unfortunately, we don’t alway see this happening with Tourism Brands.

When we research best practice Instagram accounts for our workshops and mentoring students, we find some Tourism brands making mistakes on their Instagram accounts which are hurting their success on Instagram, which we share below.

By avoiding these 11 Instagram Tourism Marketing fails, you give your tourism brand the best chance of growing Instagram into a highly engaged Instagram community that will help you grow your sales or visitors.


Not Sharing User Generated Content Correctly

When you share a photo or video on Instagram that was created by a happy customer  or local influencer, this provides highly trusted word of mouth endorsement and advocacy for your tourism brand.

It is also saves you the time of having to create all the photos and videos for your  Instagram newsfeed yourself!

There are three Instagram Tourism marketing fails to look out for when sharing user-generated content on your Instagram newsfeed.

1. Not tagging or acknowledging the original photographer or videographer

If you share a photo or video created by someone else in your Instagram newsfeed, you MUST credit the original creator.

To do this, you need to tag their Instagram account by typing @ followed by their Instagram profile name in your comment (don’t leave a space).

Also, if you are sharing a re-share, for example you share a photo or video from your local tourism board onto your Instagram newsfeed, make sure you find and credit the original creator, not the local tourism board.

Bonus Tip > We also recommend you ask the photographer or videographer first via a comment on their Instagram account if you are ok to share their content with your Instagram community. Most people always say yes!

2. Changing the Format of a User Generated Photo

If you re-share a photo created by someone else, you must only re-share that photo exactly as the original creator shared it.

It is a big no-no to add a filter, crop or change the shape of the photo in any way.

Instead, take a moment to download the original photo then upload it manually without changing it to your own Instagram newsfeed, before adding your own story caption and crediting the original photographer (see point #1).

3. Leaving a Repost Watermark on your reshared content.

To stand out on Instagram and engage your community, you must only share the most engaging and stunning photos and videos.

Therefore, if you are using a Repost App that leaves the “Repost” watermark on the bottom of the photo or video, we encourage you to stop!

Instead, either pay for a premium version of a Repost App that removes the watermark  or take a few minutes to download the original photo or screenshot (#2) and crop the photo, then upload it manually to your own Instagram newsfeed.

Who is doing well?

SEIT Outback Australia

SEIT Outback Australia on Instagram

  • They actively ask people to share user-generated content with them via their hashtag #SEITOutbackOz
  • They always credit and tag the original photographer
  • They re-share photos exactly as they were shared by the original photographer
  • They take the time to repost a photo natively to their Instagram newsfeed.


Not Optimising your Instagram Newsfeed for Engagement

The second key area of mistakes we see is lack of engagement on Instagram pages.

As more and more people and businesses flock to Instagram, Instagram is running out of space to fit all the Instagram posts into Instagram followers newsfeeds.

So to combat this lack of space, and also ensure they only share the most relevant content to Instagram users, Instagram now filters the newsfeed and will only show your Tourism Brands Instagram photos or videos to your community if they are liking, commenting or saving your photos and videos.

And on the flip side, if you photos and videos aren’t being engaged with by your community (eg liking, commenting or saving), Instagram takes this to mean your community aren’t so interested in your content, and will therefore show it less often or not at all to those people.

This means you will struggle to reach your goals of reaching and inspiring new people to find out about your tourism brand.

Following are four Instagram Tourism Marketing fails to watch out for that can have a negative impact on your Instagram engagement.

4. Inconsistent posting

For small tourism brands, don’t upload any more than 1 or 2 really stunning photos or videos a day.

If you are sharing more than 1 post a day, also make sure they are really different and contrasting photos/videos.

Also please don’t leave it weeks at a time between posts, otherwise people may forget who your brand is!

Instead stick to a consistency of posting to the Instagram newsfeed that works for you and your resources.

If this is only 1 to 2 times a week, that’s fine.

Remember to aim for quality not quantity with your Instagram posting.

Tip > Check out programs like Iconosquare, which allow you to schedule out Instagram posts in advance. Iconosquare also has lots of fantastic features to save time better manage your Instagram Community, so we highly recommend you check it out.

5. Not adding a location to your Instagram Photos

We are in tourism, and we want to promote our business or destination!

Did you know that Instagram posts with a Location tag receive 79% high engagement?

When we don’t put a location tag on a photo we share in the newsfeed, we make it harder for people to find out about our tourism brand.

It also means we are reducing the chance of our photo being found organically by new potential visitors.

If you are sharing a photo with a specific location, such as your tourism business premise or a location in your destination, make sure you add a Location tag.

This allows people to click-through to learn more about your experience or destination, which will hopefully inspire them to stick around and learn more what your tourism experience offers.

6. Not Mixing up the Colours of your Instagram Newsfeed

Instagram newsfeed is all about beautiful stunning images and engaging videos.

If you share all the same type of colour and style of images, this wont capture people’s eye, or motivate them to want to follow you on Instagram.

Instead, share a mix of colours, perspectives and styles of stunning photos and videos.

Go hard on sharing interesting, engaging, more casual stories in your Instagram Stories, but leave your Instagram newsfeed for only your best and most inspiring photos and videos of your tourism brand.

7. Selling on the Instagram Newsfeed

Instagram is all about inspiring people and motivating them to find out more about your tourism brand.

If you often share salesy posts on Instagram, people will often turn off, and stop engaging with your Instagram newsfeed.

It also means Instagram may stop showing your posts to people in your community as they can see people aren’t interested in your content you are sharing.

The best spot for telling people about a promotion you have on is via targeted eNews or very targeted Instagram Advertising.

Instead, to let people know about your promotion on Instagram, share a really engaging photo or video about the promotion, add an interesting story caption that intrigues and encourages people to find out more about your promotion over on your website, without being in their face with the sale. Or you could share information about it in an Instagram Story.

Who is doing well?

Margaret River Discover Co

  • They use a mix of colours, perspectives, stories and locations in their post
  • They adds locations where relevant so you can learn more about a photo or video they have shared.
  • He doesn’t sell his tours. He tells stories of Margaret River Region and all the experiences, which is enough to encourage people to find out more about their tours.

Not Amplifying your Story

Finally, if you are investing time in growing and engaging your community on Instagram, you also want to ensure your Instagram photos and videos are seen and hopefully shared by local tourism influencers, such as your Local, Regional, State or National Tourism Boards.

They are all looking for user-generated content to share on with their Social Media communities.

If they pick up and feature one of your Instagram photos or videos, that is fabulous free word-of-mouth marketing and publicity for your tourism brand.

However, there four Instagram Marketing Fails to look out for that can reduce the chance of your photos and videos being shared more widely.

8. Not understanding your Ideal Customer

Can you clearly describe who your Ideal Customer is, and what their travel motivations and aspirations are?

Can you describe what stories that will inspire and motivate them on Instagram, and also importantly tag family and friends in a comment to come and learn about your tourism brand?

If you can’t, you will find it harder to grow and engage an Instagram community, and also have your content shared.

To do this, have an understanding of the three types type of content that is likely to attract and inspire your ideal Customers, which is helpful, inspiring or story posts.

9. Not telling a story in your caption

Facts tell, while stories sell.

When writing a caption for your Instagram photo or video, don’t just share a factual caption telling us where your photo or video was taken.

Instead, take a few moments to tell a story in the caption about what you have shared.

Tell your community what makes it unique, interesting, quirky or special?

Educate your community and inspire them to find our more about your tourism experience and region.

10. Not sharing good quality photos or videos

Only the best quality photos or short videos will cut it on Instagram!

This is especially important if you want to increase the chances of your Instagram post being re-shared by your local tourism organisation.

When sharing a photo you or a video you or a staff member have created, take a few moments in the Instagram App to

  • Even out the expose
  • Add a little colour or
  • Enhance it with a filter

so it looks as realistic but awesome.

Or, if you are sharing User Generated Content (such as from point #1, #2 and #3) only re-share the best quality user-generated photos or videos onto your Instagram Newsfeed.

Casual videos and photos work really well in Instagram Stories, so go hard at sharing them over there and leave them off the Instagram newsfeed.

11. Not hashtaging your Local or State Tourism Organisation

Finally, one of the most powerful ways to amplify your Instagram photos and videos is to have your content re-shared by your local or state tourism organisations.

Before they can do this, you need to let them know via a hashtag or tagging them that you have shared a great photo or video.

To do this, follow your local tourism organisations on Instagram and see how they collects their user-generated content on Instagram.

For example, you can see how Tourism Australia does this on their Instagram profile page bio.

Usually it is via a destination hashtag or tagging their Instagram account.

Then use the tips #9 and #10 to increase the chance they will reshare your content!

Who is doing well?

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

  • They knows their Ideal Customers. They are people who care for the planet and who want to immerse themselves in nature.
  • They only shares the best quality photos or videos, taken either by their staff or visitors.
  • They always tell a great a story in their captions.
  • They regularly tag their Local, Regional, State and National tourism organisations. And, because their photos and videos are so sensational, they often have their photos and videos re shared by these tourism organisations to their huge audiences of potential new customers.

Over to you!

Are there any of these 11 Instagram Tourism Marketing fails that you need to stop doing on your Instagram newsfeed?

Are there any other Instagram Tourism Marketing fails we have missed that we can add to the list?

Let us know if a comment below!

This blog post was originally published in 2016 and was updated for accuracy in July 2018.

Rebecca White

Rebecca is a visitor economy specialist and co-director of Tourism eSchool. Rebecca has lived and breathed tourism for over two decades, and is passionate about helping regional tourism organisations adapt and evolve their activities to ensure they are adding value to their local communities whilst also remaining relevant to their visitors ever-evolving values and travel planning patterns.