Social media has irreversibly changed the way we travel with travellers constantly sharing photos and stories on their Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Social media platforms are bigger today than ever and mobile- friendly platforms such as Instagram are becoming the go- to sources for informative, engaging and entertaining travel inspiration.

At the forefront of this digital crusade are Instagram travel influencers, often known as travelgrammers and travel bloggers. Travelgrammers are allowing even the most humble user to live vicariously through their awesome photos and are generating influence amongst their cult following accordingly. With more than half of social media users changing their travel plans after researching through social media, the power of the influencer seems unquestionable.

Viewing the world through the Instagram lens is to view the world through rose- coloured glasses with the valencia sunsets, lark blue skies and mayfair plates of exotic food showcasing a manipulated yet enticing outlook on the world. Brands and organisations are resultantly noticing the potential influence of the heavily- followed and epic shot clad travel accounts on Instagram. Cue the rise of professional travelgrammers.

Travelgrammer Liz Eswein is one of the pioneers in the field boasting 1.3 million followers on the @NewYorkCity account she launched in 2010. Eswein’s reach allows her to demand $1 US per like for sponsored uploads that are captured on her all expenses paid trips to idyllic locations around the globe. Eswein is just one example of the growing number of Instagram professionals that are employed by travel brands and organisations for their significant influence among their millions of followers.

The influence of travelgrammers on millennials is particularly pertinent as 48.2 million use Instagram on top of the 90% who use a smartphone. Peer influence remains rife amongst millennials with 76% preferring their friends travel recommendations to a travel agents, 18%. These recommendations are dramatically shifting the preferences of young travellers towards immersive cultural experiences.

Whilst Europe and North America remain high on the wish list for millennial travellers, younger travellers are opting for the more remote and culture rich locations of Asia and South America. The Lonely Planet recently released their acclaimed ‘Best in Travel’ guide for 2017 with the report exhibiting destinations that remove travellers from their comfort zones. The report aligns with the emerging mentality of millennial travellers of stepping away from big city settings in favour of enriching cultural escapes.

Still not convinced? Statistics show that 92% of consumers trust earned media such as social media, word-of-mouth and influencer content above all forms of advertising. Furthermore, 48% of Instagram users turn to Instagram to inform their holiday decisions with 35% using the platform to discover new destinations.