Last week, Instagram debuted its new action buttons, making it easier for its 800 million users to book tickets and appointments through the app. Business accounts can now add an action button (which can range from Reserve, Get Tickets, Start Order and Book) to their profile, taking users directly from the app to a partner booking sites. The good news? Advisors can take advantage of these, allowing users to book an appointment with you to plan future trips.
“As more people continue to interact with businesses on Instagram and take action when inspiration strikes, we’re making it easier to turn that discovery into action,” Instagram’s official announcement says.
Travel market research firm MMGY Global sees this as a way to create stronger competition for Google; however, its vice president of social media, Shea Carter, says "the most promising opportunity for these action buttons is in collaboration with social media influencers.”
For advisors who regularly use their Instagram account, this can be a great opportunity to bring users directly to their site, expediting the travel planning process. While most of the available partners include movie theater or restaurant-booking sites such as OpenTable, Fandango and GrubHub, there are several appointment-booking sites (Acuity, MyTime), which will allow users to schedule a meeting with advisors. Note: Advisors will have to have an account with these sites to link their Instagram account. You can learn how to do this here.
By maintaining an Instagram account, advisors have access to nearly one billion global travelers—and, now, them getting in contact with you has become as simple as clicking a button.
According to MMGY Global's Portrait of American Travelers 2018-19, 70 percent of American travelers typically use social media at least once a day, spending an average of 82 minutes a day on social media. Even more impressive is that 83 percent of Millennial travelers typically access social media at least once a day and spend an average of 113 minutes in a day on social media. As Jason Dorsey, president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, said at Signature’s Sales Conference last year, Millennials have far-and-away the most potential for advisors right now. And don’t worry if you’re not a Millennial yourself: According to our editor-at-large and former Protravel president Priscilla Alexander, you don’t have to be a Millennial in order to sell travel to one.
Nearly half (46 percent) of all travelers are active on social media, according to MMGY, an increase of 350 percent from 2013, when only 13 percent of travelers maintained an active social media account. For Millennials, those numbers are 60 percent in 2018, compared to 16 percent just five years ago. (MMGY also says that 55 percent of travelers use Instagram, specifically, and that 66 percent of Millennials use the app.)
Instagram and other social media sites still trail Google and search engines for researching destinations and booking travel; however, the new action buttons could allow for a sharp increase in the use of the former. Eighty percent of all travelers find an easy-to-use booking feature influential when booking online, according to MMGY.
As for how this could affect advisors’ business? Only 10 percent of travelers follow a travel service provider on social media, but 24 percent follow at least one influencer/celebrity (for Millennials those numbers are 17 and 41 percent, respectively). One option is for companies to advertise through influencers, but another option is to improve your own status as an influencer—whether you think you are or not, you are. There’s plenty of room for growth here (only five percent of travelers made a purchase based at least partially on social media posts by influencers), and its ripe for the taking.