It’s no secret that Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. With brands, designers, and hotels alike leveraging influencers and advertising on this platform, it should come to no surprise that this app living in over 77.6 billion people’s phones is a huge driver of traffic and sales in today’s marketplace. This is especially true for the hotel and travel industry. We recently saw a resort’s booking inquiries raise over 1,300% after one photo went viral on Instagram. Yes, one thousand and three hundred percent – from one photo. Talk about an ROI! At Dawning Digital, we love to talk about Instagram ROI because it’s the one platform where a strategic approach and a bit of creativity will allow you to reach the stars with a small investment. As a boutique marketing agency, we have experience working with small businesses and making tight budgets (or even no budgets) go a long way. Instagram is one of the platforms we leverage to do so. For example, we have grown accounts by over 1,000 followers per month without an advertising budget. What’s great about Instagram is that you can reach a wide audience organically (i.e no more paying for ads!) You can comment on any number of strangers’ posts, you can begin direct conversations with just about anyone, and you can post your photos. What’s even better, you can use hashtags to ensure that thousands of people see your posts too. Instagram can be a complicated platform, and it can feel like you’re shouting out into the masses without ever hearing anything in return… but once you crack down on the algorithm and understand how it works, your relationship with this app will change forever. Instead of viewing Instagram as a challenge, you will see it as an opportunity to increase your hotel’s bookings. We could write a whole textbook on Instagram, but today we will start with some actionable advice for those of you in the hotel industry: hashtags. As we mentioned before, hashtag research is an essential part of your Instagram strategy. Posting photos with no hashtags is like setting up a bar in the middle of nowhere. It might be a great place, but people may never find it if they don’t know to go look for it. Posting a photo with hashtags, on the other hand, is like setting that bar up on a busy street where people will see you (how busy that road is and the amount of traffic going by your bar will depend on the quality of your hashtags). You would be quite strategic with your new bar location, right? Same should go for your hashtags!