Fess up. Have you ever posted a photo of your hotel on social media to make your friends jealous?
Congratulations! You’ve posted a “braggie” — identified recently as one of the hottest trends in travel in the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2014.
The most popular subjects of vacation “braggies” are the view from your window, your bed and the hotel grounds, according to Hotels.com, which coined the term last year.
The “braggie” is a cousin of the “selfie,” Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 word of the year. While the “selfie” involves the taking a photo of yourself, the “braggie” is ostensibly about showcasing your destination instead.
And with more than 1.7 billion worldwide social media users, according to the WTM report, hotels and destinations have been quick to recognize guest-captured beauty shots as marketing gold.
The report says an increasing number of travel brands are tapping into the “braggie” trend with promotions that offer incentives to guests who tag their hotel on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, as well as other social media platforms.
Major travel brands have been quick to embrace the digital influencers in their fan bases. Last year, American Airlines offered one-day VIP lounge passes to passengers with a score of at least 55 on Klout.com, which measures social media influence.
Earlier this year, InterContinental Hotels ran an Instagram contest with a grand prize of a trip to New York City, and Hilton gave away two-night stays and smartphone covers to guests who shared experiences on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the #HiltonStory hashtag.
In the unlikely event that you should need help finding a photogenic backdrop in Paris, you can book the “Selfie in Paris” package at the ultra-plush Mandarin Oriental. You’ll receive accommodations, daily breakfast, free Wi-Fi, a three-hour excursion with a private car and driver and — the kicker — a list of the most selfie-worthy places in the City of Lights. The hope is that you’ll also enter the hotel’s photo contest on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+ with the hashtag #MOselfiecontest for a chance to win a future one-night stay. The promotion runs through next January.
Perhaps the best example of unabashed “braggie” baiting is the 1888 Hotel in Sydney, Australia, aka the “Instagram Hotel.” Guests with more than 10,000 Instagram followers are automatically granted a free overnight stay. Even Instagrammers with more paltry followings can be entered to win a complimentary night simply by sharing photos tagged #1888hotel.
Want to snag a gift card, loyalty points or other nice perks on your next vacation? Start following your favorite travel brands on social media platforms and keep an eye out for promotions. Examples of current and upcoming U.S. travel promos that incentivize the “braggie” include:
--Expedia.com is offering a round trip for two on Delta Airlines plus a $2,000 travel voucher for a hotel stay or package. To enter, post a photo on Instagram that shows why you love flight, with the hashtags #iloveflight and #expedia. Ends Nov. 30.
--Carnival Corporation launched a Twitter contest on Monday designed to use cruise fans to win over folks who have never cruised. To enter, follow @CarnivalPLC and tweet your favorite reason to cruise, ideally with a photo and using the hashtag #LoveCruising. The top prize? One hundred days of cruising for a random winner and a guest on any of Carnival Corporation's cruise lines.
--Gaylord Hotels (properties in Orlando, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Grapevine, Tex.; and National Harbor, Md.) is inviting guests to post photos from their holiday-season stays to Instagram with the hashtag #MyGaylordHotelsHoliday for the chance to win a $500 American Express gift card. Ends Nov. 30.
--Sheraton Hotels & Resorts encourages guests to post city views to Instagram taken during their stays with the hashtag #sheratonclubsweeps. The prize is a whopping 100,000 Starpoints that can be redeemed for future stays. Ends Nov. 30.
Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is the family vacations expert at About.com.