Tourism Instameets claim success

Hamilton Island Instameet

Two separate tourism organisations are haling the success of projects reaching out to uses of social image sharing service instagram.

Hamilton Island’s second Ultimate Instameet brought ambassadors and key influencers to ‘Return2Paradise’ on the island in north Queensland in May and generated more than 700 images that were shared on Instagram. Of the 700 images, 73 featured on Instagram’s ‘popular’ photos page and as a result appeared in the feeds of all of the social sharing site’s 100m active users.

Research released today shows Hamilton Island experienced what it says was $2m in room revenue growth during the campaign period, as well as a nine per cent increase in room bookings compared with the same time last year.

And in Victoria, 11 celebrities, media personalities and social media influencers traveled from Port Fairy to Queenscliff during ‘The Great Instameet’. The celebrities, which included TV and radio presenter Em Rusciano of The Project, photographer Lauren Bath, who has more than a quarter of a million followers on Instagram, and stars of Home and Away, posted over 170 images on the service, with their images gaining 350,000 likes.

Melbourne creative agency Icon.Inc and sister PR agency icon.PR launched the Instameet for Great Ocean Road Marketing and Tourism Victoria with the theme ‘Monday’s the new Sunday on the Great Ocean Road’ to encourage visitors to take a long weekend for the coastal drive.

“More and more consumers are using digital and social platforms exclusively to research, book and share their travel experiences. For marketers these platforms offer a great opportunity to build genuine engagement as well as drive enquiry,” said Joannne Painter, managing director of Icon.

“Instagram has grown from a clever camera smart phone application to one of the fastest growing social media platforms to date – its reach is phenomenal and that’s why we used it for this campaign.”

Great Ocean Instameet

Great Ocean Road Instameet

On Hamilton Island the team also produced a YouTube documentary featuring island ambassador Jeremy Somers, co-founder and designer of swimwear label We Are Handsome.

The documentary titled The Never-Ending Summer of Jeremy Somers follows his journey around the world showcasing swimwear designs on actress and model Samara Weaving. The documentary will run on Virgin Australia’s in-flight entertainment system in September.

Sophie Baker, communications manager at Hamilton Island, said: “It’s authentic storytelling and a great way to showcase the island, share unique tourism experiences and  demonstrate Hamilton Island and the surrounding region as an aspirational travel destination.”

 The ‘Return2Paradise’ Instameet’s reach represents a 20 per cent increase on the inaugural Instameet last November and the island’s Instagram account has grown from 269 followers to more than 17,800 since the first campaign. Hamilton Island’s partnership with Chinese social media site Weibo formed in May meant the photos were also exposed to an additional 798m users on the platform.

PR for the Instameet has been valued by Hamilton island at 27 times the budget, as it generated 112 pieces of branded editorial that it calculates reached just under 79m people. (It should be noted that equivalent advertising value is a controversial metric.)

The campaign also received mainstream media coverage in print, online and on TV and radio in Australia, the US and internationally.

“These results prove you don’t need a big budget to create innovative, cut through campaigns that deliver real results and get your brand in front of millions of eyeballs,” Baker said.

She claimed: “We achieved earned media of more than $3.7m from our Instameets and successfully changed consumer behaviour by engaging past and potential guests through social media. Other tourism bodies are now following suit with Tourism Tasmania and the Great Ocean Road Marketing both emulating the concept.”

Megan Reynolds

Encore Issue 24

This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit for a preview of the app or click below to download.



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