10 Destinations Winning at Visual Influence on Instagram

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder… but judging by the popularity of some Instagram feeds, beauty may be a bit more universal than we thought.

Travel photos are some of the most popular subjects on Instagram — serving to both inspire the hearts of travelers, and help DMOs attract new visitors.

However, while anyone can share a pretty image of, say, a sunset and a caption, there are some DMOs really going to the extra mile to stand out and create experiences with their visuals.

Here are 10 destinations that are winning at visual influence on Instagram.

1 | Tourism Ottawa

Tourism Ottawa shares gorgeous photos taken by visitors with fascinating facts about each place photographed. They also take care to only include photos that tie into the current season. Take a peek! As you scroll down their feed, you can watch the seasons change.

2 | South African Tourism

By using their hashtag #wowsouthafrica, South African Tourism collects stunning UGC photos from tourists visiting their country’s breathtaking landscape and diversity. Browse their photos, and you’ll be saying “Wow South Africa” yourself.

South African safaris do romance well – Take your partner on a adventurous date via @backintownsa #wowSouthAfrica

A post shared by South African Tourism (@meetsouthafrica) on

3 | Destination British Columbia

While their hashtag #exploreBC attracts some seriously beautiful images of British Columbia, Destination BC is best known for their #guestagrammer Instagram takeovers. Not only do their guests take stunning photos, they offer personal stories and anecdotes, giving their pics a lot of extra personality.

4 | Visit Denmark

Visit Denmark’s Instagram is literally breathtaking — and it’s 100% curated UGC or social media takeovers. From nature to expansive skies, art, and architecture, Denmark’s feed gives you everything you’re looking for when you think “European charm”.

5 | Visit Kent

Visit Kent’s feed is an excellent balance of both the majesty of the castles, seaside cliffs, and quaint country homes, and the life of the locals. They also use their platform to stage giveaways that  feature local goods and attraction.

What a wonderful picture of Leeds Castle in winter. Perfect in time for Christmas!

A post shared by Visit Kent (@visitkent) on

6 | Visit Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a quaint town on the coast of California, that’s stunning thousands on Instagram. There is something charming, romantic, and unmistakably fairytale-esque about this destination’s feed.

Easy like Sunday. #visitcarmel . 📷: @tru_adrian

A post shared by Visit Carmel (@visitcarmel) on

7 | Visit Brasil

From the mountains to the cities to the coast, Visit Brasil features almost exclusively UGC, along with explanations about each photo, including historical information on museums, parks, famous buildings, and more

8 | Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism

This Instagram feed conveys a very clear experience: adventure in the great Canadian wilderness. From jumping snowboarders to gorgeous white snow landscapes and mountain biking shots, Nelson Kootenay Lake is calling to all the adventurous at heart with their visual influence.

8 | Discover Hong Kong

With bright colors and bold photography, Discover Hong Kong’s Instagram captures the energy and fast-paced lifestyle that defines the dense city. From street food to cityscapes, alleys, and mountainous terrain, they showcase more than just the polished side of Hong Kong, but the true local lifestyle too.

9 | Morocco Tourism

The use of color in this DMO’s images gives their feed an unforgettably eye-catching, consistent flow. Showcasing cities, local events, and the country’s natural beauty, Morocco is a destination with lots to explore and experience.

10 | Visit Connecticut

Visit Connecticut does a fantastic job of curating beautiful UGC, with serene shots of the natural land, as well as its distinct colonial buildings. This account shows a side of Connecticut that a lot of people outside the state don’t know yet.

Beautiful fall shot of Saville Dam flame by @davidlong3653! #VisitCT

A post shared by Visit Connecticut (@visit_connecticut) on

Key Takeaways for Your Instagram Feed

  1. Take advantage of great user-generated content. Your locals and visitors are taking amazing shots — don’t let them go unnoticed! Having a hashtag exclusively for photos of your destination is a great way to encourage people to share photos, and gives you a way to keep track of them. 
  2.  Tell a story. Don’t forget the caption! Offer engaging insights into your location, like fun things to do, historical facts, etc. with each photo you share. The more context you offer, the easier it is for your potential visitors to envision themselves at your location.
  3. Consistent colors create a beautiful look. Focusing on featuring clusters of warm and cool colored photos at the minimum together can create a consistent visual flow when a visitor looks at the full grid of your photos.
  4. Takeovers can really up engagement and offer a local perspective. Let the people have their say! Allowing visitors, local photographers, influencers, bloggers, and more to share the story of your location from their perspective offers a diverse range of insights and experiences that may not have otherwise made it onto your Instagram feed.

Now it’s your turn to shine

Show your audience that you can be counted on to show them the best there is to see in your destination, by building up your visual influence on Instagram.

That means curating on-brand UGC in addition to posting your own photography, and inspiring your followers with the best of both worlds.

Take inspiration from these DMOs. Keep sharing and capturing what makes you extraordinary, and your audience (and visitor count!) and visual influence will continue to grow

Interested in other ways DMOs are building their visual influence? Here’s an eBook featuring 10 DMOs using visual content in really creative ways.





10 DMOs Getting Creative with Visual Content - Visual Influencers




Header image creds: @chinpua