Travellers want more inclusive, authentic content on social media

Kimpton diverse people.

Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

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Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Luxury & Lifestyle Collection, has released findings from a new global survey on consumer sentiment on social media content of travel brands and traditional travel influencers.

Kimpton polled more than 4,000 people from Australia, Japan, the UK and the US and found an overwhelming need for more authentic and varied travel content as well as a high demand for travel brands to do more to feature inclusive and diverse content creators and experiences. 

Kathleen Reidenbach, Kimpton’s chief commercial officer, said: “At Kimpton we take pride in being a different type of hotel. Our founding principles have us rooted in human connection and delivering a ‘Stay Human’ experience. We want our guests and our employees to be comfortable and embraced for being their most authentic selves, no matter their pronoun, skin colour or body type.

“However, we know that social media and marketing content within the travel industry hasn’t always reflected the people and experiences that truly make up our global community. That’s why we are committed to diving deeper into the foundation of our Stay Human brand ethos with new brand commitments that will continue to change the way we work with creators, the imagery we share and the experiences we offer.”

Overall, the survey found a large discrepancy between travel content currently on social media and the true desires of consumers, who reported that the pressure to be “social media-worthy” negatively impacts their travel experiences. Consumer feedback from the survey further indicates a desire for more inclusive social media content from travel brands that is suitable to all personal travel styles and reflective of all types of individuals. 

Kimpton’s key global and regional findings from its survey include: 

  • 85% of respondents think travel industry brands’ social media content should be more inclusive of all kinds of travellers, and 84% of respondents think travel brands could do more to support a diverse set of travel creators – especially those in the U.S. (88%) and millennials (88%).
    • 42% of UK respondents are unsure, or disagree, that travel content from creators on social media is inclusive of a variety of demographic groups.​
    • 90% of U.S. respondents believe that travel industry brands’ social media content should be more inclusive of all kinds of travellers.
  • 76% of respondents feel that more realistic depictions of travel from content creators on social media would be more valuable than existing travel content.
    • American respondents are the group most likely to say that the content makes them feel self-conscious (24%). 
    • Respondents in the UK are most likely to say that the travel industry content on social media makes them feel jealous (29% each). 
    • 15% of US respondents say that travel industry content on social media makes them feel left out. 
  • When it comes to demographic factors such as gender, race, disability, age and body size, more than one-third of survey respondents feel that they are not well-represented or are unsure if they are well represented in the content they see from travel creators (34%).
    • 38% of UK respondents say they are unsure, or do not feel well represented demographically in the content they see from travel creators. 
  • Nearly half of survey respondents have some negative feelings (jealous, self-conscious, etc.) towards the current travel industry content seen on social media (46%). 
  • One-third of respondents (33%) feel that their travel style or personal needs are not being met or might not be met by offerings from travel brands, and 21% are unsure that travel content from creators on social media is inclusive of different travel styles. 

‘Stay Human’ Global Campaign

Today, in response to the traveller pain points uncovered in the survey’s findings, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has introduced new brand content commitments that pledge to show more diverse and inclusive creators and experiences in its brand-level social media and marketing content moving forward, including:

  • It pledges to work with creators that reflect the diversity of the world. This pledge will extend to the content on our brand channels and the UGC it shares. To do this Kimpton is expanding its existing representation commitments to diversity in race, gender and sexual orientation to include a pledge to feature more creators, guests and models with diversity in ethnicity, religion, language, size, age and disability. 
  • It pledges to address current gaps in travel content on social media – beginning with a commitment to present zero digital distortion of individuals and enhancing how it shares information that is critical for travellers with disabilities to ensure our social media content is truly accessible to all. To start, it will require all of those in the Kimpton Creator Collective to post on social media with alt-text and image descriptions to increase the level of accessibility for disabled audiences.  
  • It pledges to create its first-ever Kimpton Creator Collective made up of creators with diverse perspectives who will serve as consultants to the brand advising on brand content and property experiences. It pledges to continuously consult, engage and evolve the Collective.
  • It pledges to be the first brand to throw away the traditional brand-issued “creator content brief.” Rather than dictating what creators should create, it will empower and encourage creators to showcase travel their way while also embracing the Kimpton brand rather than limiting them within the confines of strict creative requirements. 
  • It pledges that at least 75% of our Kimpton brand-contracted creators will reflect its commitments to increased inclusivity and authenticity of perspectives and experiences (i.e., race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, size, gender, age and disability) to better reflect the diversity of real travellers. 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

Tags: diversity, Social Media

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