Social media sites such as Instagram are now the key factor in determining where and why young people travel, Student Flights spokeswoman Lucy Caskey says.
The sites allowed influential peers to have an impact on travel plans.
Tourism WA’s content marketing manager Chris Amson agreed, and said using social media and user generated content was now a crucial part of marketing to target people in a pre-planning or planning stage of an Australian holiday.
“It’s such an immediate way to do that peer-to-peer research and it’s such an immediate way to find and discover real stories, real people and real experiences from the places you’re looking at,” he said.
According to social media analytics company Sprout Social 64 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds use Instagram, with one billion monthly active users and more than 100 million photos posted every day.
The #travel on Instagram had over 413 million posts alone.
Perth marketing company Bang Digital social media manager Maddy Ringelstein said these social media platforms were often the first port of call for millennials as they felt most comfortable online.
“[They] were brought up using social media almost as a search engine so it’s really not uncommon to go to Pinterest or follow Instagram influencers or even to Facebook for recommendations and follow those people,” she said.
Ms Ringelstein said Perth businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry could use visual elements as a tool to attract travellers.
She said: “If it doesn’t have really nice styling features or even really nice places for people to take photos and selfies in the facilities then no one is going to know about it because you don’t have that online presence.”
Influencer Catherine Coomans from Instagram’s Adventures in a Bus has been travelling for 18 months.
She said this picture perfect travel phenomenon, and the community behind it, helped her and partner Tom decide where to visit on their trip around Australia.
“I definitely see spots on Instagram and think ‘oh that is amazing, we have to go there’ so I had about 20 spots earmarked for the state that I knew I wanted to go to,” she said.
However, the sensation of these picture-perfect experiences being so prevalent comes with a downside.
Daniel Casadio documents his travels on the blog Failing Forward and said he aimed to break out of the overly filtered movement and disclose the real experiences and lessons that came from travelling.
Mr Casadio said he found the balance between documenting his travels and experiencing the moment through making deliberate choices and unpacking this aspect of society.
“Beautiful places are everywhere and the problem about those Instagram photos is that they build up an expectation,” he said.
“I feel like people always have that one standard of beauty and people compare it that photo and that’s completely wrong.
“Sometimes the camera would force us to be more courageous and do things we actually didn’t want to, but we knew it would make good quality content.”
Ms Ringelstein said Western Australian businesses in the industry could also engage in this movement through an influencer marketing.
A Tourism WA spokesperson said Western Australia attracted record numbers of interstate and international visitors in 2018 because of Perth’s development and regional beauty widely shared on social media as well as a two-year action plan.