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Reel in the Views: 5 Tips For Creating Engaging Instagram Travel Reels

Updated January 25, 2024

Most likely you’ve done some experimenting with Instagram Reels, and maybe even integrated them as a regular part of your Instagram strategy.

But have you noticed lately that your Instagram Reels get less views and engagement than they did a few months ago?

While I never recommend using social media as a main way to build your business for this very reason, social media can be a valuable way to grow your email list and provide social proof for your business.

That means having a robust social media presence is definitely worthwhile.

So, while posting an Instagram Reel or two isn't the surefire way to grow your audience that it used to be, there are still ways to create engaging content to attract more people to your travel accounts.

And you don't need to be a film director to make a splash with your video content. It's all about capturing the essence of travel – the sights, the sounds, the vibes – in a way that's authentic, engaging, and yes, a little bit fun.

So, whether you're a seasoned travel reels creator or just dipping your toes into the world of travel marketing, get ready to 'reel' in your audience with the right combination of creativity, inspiration, and strategy.

Tip 1: Craft a narrative with visual storytelling

When it comes to creating travel reels for your Instagram account, think of yourself as a storyteller.

The key? Crafting a narrative that transports your followers from their couches straight to the heart of your destination.

Keep in mind that not every reel or social media post needs to tell a story. A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words, and a great travel video can be worth a thousand pictures. Mix it up a bit by using both single-shot reels and combining multiple short video clips into a single reel.

Start with a Bang: Every great story has a captivating beginning. Kick off your travel reel with something that grabs attention – a breathtaking view, a lively local festival, or maybe a tantalizing local dish.

This is your hook, your “hero shot”, the “wow” moment that makes viewers want to keep watching.

The Heart of the Story: The middle of your reel is where the magic happens. This is where you unfold the story of your destination. Show clips of bustling markets, the serene sunsets, the laughter of locals, or the clink of coffee cups at a quaint café.

It's not just about showing places; it's about sharing experiences. Let your followers really feel the vibe of the place.

End with a Memory: As all good things must come to an end, so should your travel reel. Conclude with something memorable – it could be serene landscapes, a peaceful night view, or even a teaser of what's to come next.

Leave your followers with a lingering sense of wonder, an invitation to explore more, both in their imaginations and, hopefully, in reality too.

Remember, reels can be short stories – and every frame counts. Your goal is to create a narrative that not only showcases a destination's beauty but also tells a story that resonates with your audience.

Tip 2: Use eye-catching visuals

High-quality visuals in travel reels are like the secret sauce that can turn a good story into an unforgettable one.

It's not just about finding pretty places. It's about capturing them in a way that feels authentic and mesmerizing.

Quality Over Quantity: First things first, focus on clarity and quality. A shaky, blurred video of the Eiffel Tower at sunset? A big no-no.

Invest in a good stabilizer or tripod for your phone or camera. Clear, stable footage is more than just pleasing to the eye; it's a nod to your professionalism.

Find Your Angle: Sometimes it's all about perspective. That hidden alley adorned with street art, the local market bustling with life, the silhouette of a city skyline at dusk – these are the scenes that tell a story.

Experiment with different angles and viewpoints to give your audience a fresh take on familiar sights.

Lighting is Everything: Good lighting can be the difference between a mediocre shot and a masterpiece. The golden hour – just after sunrise or before sunset – is your friend. It's nature's filter, casting a warm, soft light that can make any scene look magical.

Authenticity is Key: Yes, we all love those postcard-perfect shots, but realness resonates. Include the unexpected – the hustle and bustle, the quiet moments, the laughter and chatter. Show the destination as it is, in all its glory and imperfection.

Edit with a Light Touch: When it comes to editing video, less is often more. Enhance your visuals with a video editor to bring out their best, but avoid overdoing it. Let the natural beauty of your scenes shine through.

Keep transitions simple and functional unless you're going for a full, epic cinematic approach.

The goal is to create a visual journey so compelling that your viewers can almost feel the breeze on their faces or smell the street food.

Tip 3: Embrace local flavors and showcase unique experiences

When it comes to travel reels, it’s all about capturing the essence of a place – its culture, people, and unique experiences.

This is where your reel transforms from a visual journey to an immersive cultural experience that highlights a travel destination.

Highlight local culture: Let your reel showcase the vibrant tapestry of local culture. From traditional dances on cobblestone streets to artisans crafting wares using age-old techniques, these moments capture the authentic travel experience your audience craves.

Embrace authentic sounds: Music is the universal language, and every destination has its own melody. Incorporate a trending song or audio clip into your reel that sets the mood and transports viewers straight into the heart of the destination. Make sure the audio you select complements the visuals instead of competing with them.

Cicchetti in Venice, Italy. The small sandwiches are stacked in a case, ready for purchase.
Food shots can be very popular on Instagram

Food is a feast for the eyes: Food is more than sustenance; it's a cultural journey. Showcase the local cuisine in all its glory – from steaming street food to exquisite local delicacies. Let viewers almost taste the flavors through their screens. Remember, food is not just about eating; it's about the experience, the preparation, the joy of sharing.

Capture customs and traditions: Every place has its unique customs and traditions. Share these special moments – be it a local festival, a traditional holiday, or a daily ritual. These experiences offer a genuine glimpse into the local way of life and add depth to your reel.

Engage with locals: Interaction with locals can add an authentic voice to your reel. A smile, a greeting, a shared moment – these are the encounters that bring warmth and authenticity to your travel reel.

Tip 4: Engage and connect by inviting interaction

Creating a great travel reel isn’t just about showcasing stunning destinations; it's about creating a two-way street of interaction with your audience.

Ask a question: Questions are the simplest yet most effective way to spark engagement. At the end of your reel or in the caption, include a question related to your content. "Have you ever visited this beach?" or "What's your favorite local dish?"

It doesn’t work every time, but questions can spark comments, interaction, and ultimately get your travel reel seen by more people.

Include a call to action: A call to action (CTA) is your cue to the audience to take the next step. It can be as simple as "Follow us for more adventures" or "Tag a friend who would love this."

If a reel goes along with a blog post on your website, use a CTA to drive people to your travel blog.

Thing of CTAs on your Instagram posts as a gentle nudge to get viewers to engage more deeply with your content.

Cross-post in your Instagram Story: Don't let your content live in isolation. Cross-post between Reels and Stories to maximize reach and interaction.

Use Instagram Stories to highlight a reel. You can also create a poll or quiz that complements your reel. It's not just fun and interactive, it's an excellent way to understand your audience's preferences and tailor your content accordingly.

Respond, relate, repeat: Engagement is a two-way street. When your audience takes the time to comment, make sure to respond. This helps build a community around your content and makes your audience feel heard and valued.

Also make sure you spend time searching for and engaging with other people’s content as well. It's important to give as much (or more) than you'd like to receive, and the Instagram algorithm seems to lean heavily toward rewarding accounts that spend a lot of time engaging with others.

By actively inviting interaction and engaging with your audience, you're not just creating content, you're fostering a community. This approach both extends the reach of your travel reels and builds a loyal audience that is more likely to engage with and share new posts.

Tip 5: Build a consistent Instagram Reels strategy

In the ever-evolving world of Instagram, one rule remains unchanged: consistency is vital. Consistent posting keeps your audience engaged, which means the Instagram algorithm is more likely to show them your new content.

Here are a few ways to help maintain a consistent posting schedule.

Set a realistic schedule: Start by setting a posting schedule that is realistic and manageable. Whether it's twice a week or every other day, choose a frequency that works for you and your content creation process.

Consistency doesn't mean posting every day; it means posting regularly.

Plan ahead: The key to consistency is planning. Use a content calendar to map out your reels in advance. This helps in maintaining a steady stream of content and avoids last-minute scrambles.

Consider seasonal themes, upcoming holidays, or local events that align with your travel niche.

Batch create: Embrace the art of batch creation. Dedicate time to shoot or edit multiple reels. This approach not only saves time but also ensures you have a stash of content ready to go, keeping your posting schedule on track.

Quality over quantity: While consistency is crucial, never compromise on quality for the sake of quantity. It's better to post less frequently with high-quality content than to post mediocre content just to stick to a schedule.

Monitor and adapt: Keep an eye on your engagement metrics. What time of day does your audience engage the most? Which reels are getting more traction?

Use these insights to fine-tune your posting schedule and content strategy.

Stay flexible: While consistency is important, so is flexibility. Be ready to adapt your strategy to new trends, feedback from your audience, or changes in the Instagram algorithm.

Building a consistent reel strategy is not just about keeping up with a schedule. It's about creating a rhythm that resonates with your audience. By staying consistent, you not only maintain visibility but also establish your brand as a reliable source of captivating travel content.

The bottom line: Your Instagram travel reels

As you create your travel reels, experiment with different styles and techniques, and discover what makes your content uniquely you.

Play around with different ideas, and see what resonates with your audience and feels true to your travel brand. Remember, it's about telling your story, your way, and watching as it unfolds into something truly beautiful.

The world is waiting to see your stories unfold.

Looking for more posts to help you take your travel agency Instagram to the next level? Check out our other posts to elevate your Instagram presence.


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