As we launch our Totality placegram page it seems fitting that we take a look at how destination brands are embracing the digital age. Gone are the days when social media strategy consisted solely of setting up a Facebook page; now luxury travel brands are going the extra mile. From Instagram to Pinterest, progressive travel brands are using digital platforms to allow visitors to interact on new levels.
Sydney’s 1888 Hotel has been dubbed an ‘Instagram hotel’, with various facilities focused around the popular app, including a walking hotel map with recommended photo opportunities. To engage guests, the hotel launched a new promotion in August 2013: guests with over 10,000 Instagram followers were awarded one night’s free accommodation, as were those judged to have taken the best Instagram photo each month.
Twitter is the platform of choice for The Sol Wave House hotel in Mallorca, which launched its #SocialWave through the hotel’s Wi-Fi: a virtual Twitter community for guest interaction, including private messages and picture sharing.  Four Seasons are taking a different approach by using Pinterest to connect consumers with local experts from the hotel’s group in order to provide customized recommendations, and create tailored travel itineraries. 
In a world where almost everything is shared via social networks, the bonus for any company taking their online marketing strategies to new levels is that they also get bolstered recognition in return; any interactive experience is shared by customers amongst their wider social network, giving far-reaching exposure. Since consumers are more strongly influenced by other consumers than any other form of marketing materials, it makes sense for brands to tap into social media’s marketing potential.
In providing the ingredients for the customer to create their own travel story, an element of brand authorship must be surrendered. This can of course be a daunting prospect, particularly when a dissatisfied customer is more likely to shout about their experience than a satisfied one. When proactively embracing new trends, brand representatives must be digitally active and social media savvy themselves; they must be reactive, responding to negative interaction and consequently maintaining place reputation.
Author: Sarah Moor
 As evidenced by the popularity of sites like TripAdvisor