Terry Kane, Head of Travel, Instagram at ATM. He is responsible for building partnerships between brands and the platform. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News


The picture sharing social media platform Instagram is changing the way tourists experience new countries and cities, according to the company’s regional head of travel.

According to Instagram, which was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, in the US last year, 290,000 photos tagged with the term #hiddengems appeared in just one month.

“These hidden gems are all things off the beaten path, from the Al Qudra cycling track to a small fish seller in Jumeirah,” said Terry Kane, head of travel at Instagram, speaking to Gulf News at the Arabian Travel Market on Monday.

Kane is responsible for building partnerships between brands and the platform, which this year is projected to reach $6.84 billion in net mobile advertising revenues, according to statistic website Statista.

The ability to discover new things throughout a city, brought to life by a community on Instagram and searchable via a hashtag, was enabling travellers to uncover new destinations within cities.

“Travellers are hungry for content, to discover new things via Instagram. These online communities are really changing the way people travel,” Kane said.

According to Kane, it is important that the commercial aspect of these communities are handled sensitively.

“We want to ensure, on the business side of Facebook, that we help the industry develop their creatives and their content to a much smarter degree, to ensure that people are receiving the adverts that they want to receive,” he said.

Instagram currently has 500 million daily users, and 800 million monthly users.

In the future, Kane said that the company was looking to employ dynamic advertising.

“We want to be able to target travellers based upon their intent, when we know that they want to travel, we can give them specific adverts,” Kane said.

In a recent interview with Gulf News, the general manager of Zabeel House, Jumeirah’s new hotel concept, said that he actively assessed a hotel location by how “instagrammable” it was.

“The idea of hotels changing the way they look to be more photogenic for Instagram is incredible,” Kane said.