How to get your guests to hashtag your content on Instagram

This article teaches those in the business of Tourism how to get free publicity by showing their guests how to use hashtags.
First published on August 25, 2015
Last updated on August 20, 2021

Liz and I are presenting at the 2015 Tourism Summit in Bundaberg (Central Queensland) this week. My presentation is about how to save time by making your guests give you free publicity (using Instagram). I always get a lot of interest when I start to show tourism businesses how they can use technology to save time – so I thought that I’d share the key elements with you this week.

Instagram is a tool that allows you – or anyone – to post photos and short videos to the Instagram community. Fine I hear you say – I already know that. I know I have to use it, but I am running out of hours during the day. I totally agree with you on that one. What I want to show you is how you don’t need to use Instagram yourself – your clients are the ones who are going to use it and it will benefit you!

Why hashtags?

With Insta comes hashtags. It’s a weird word but it is oh so important. Without them, all that content disappears in a big black void, never to be seen again. Hashtags are actually one of the easiest ways for you to gather free content for your business – they are the magnet! This is how it works: when your guests snap pics of your business or your destination and post them on Instagram (using their own account), they have the ability to ‘label’ these images with what we call a hashtag. The hashtag groups them together under one label. If your guests don’t know your business’s hashtag and your destination’s hashtag, they the content they create won’t benefit you.

So, how do you I share my hashtags with my guests?

By now you would have realised that you must be familiar with at least 2 hashtags – your own and your destination’s one (that’s the one that will appear on your tourism organisation’s website). In order for this to work you need to share your hashtags with your guests.

Here is the crux – do not write your hashtag on your welcome letter (do you know anyone who actually reads those??). Write it where people can see it – or better even – let them know when they check in!
Here’s Elvis from the lovely 1770 Getaway sharing his hashtag with his guests – on the blackboard below the coffee machine.


You could also invest in Insta-flags like Agnes Water (QLD) did – in a few weeks they doubled their content for their region. Simple but effective.


Where do I display all that content?

Great, there is now a ton of pictures of your destination and your business on the internet. But how do you actually gather them in one place and showcase them on your website?

Using one of the many tools available online, you can easily pull that ‘feed’ (that’s the techie word for the content labeled with your hashtag) and display it on your website! You can do this on your own website however your tourism organisation is probably also doing it on their own website – showcasing your product and region.

It looks a bit like this:


Where to learn more?

The Instagram course in is where you need to start – it also has a free, downloadable hashtag-slip for you to get started. Make sure you also pay attention to the forum posts at the bottom of the tutorial.
Have a great day!

PS: get back to us with your business and destination hashtags so that we can follow you!

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