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Is social media ruining authentic travel experiences for your guests?

The true desires of travellers: Survey reveals demand for more realistic travel content with influencers under too much pressure to be ‘social media worthy’

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has unearthed what it describes as 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 experience findings.

Revealing the results of a poll focusing on consumer sentiment on social media content of travel brands and traditional travel influencers, Kimpton canvassed more than 4,000 people from Australia, Japan, the UK and US with the results showing a large discrepancy between travel content currently on social media and the true desires of consumers.

Key global and regional findings from the survey include:

  • 85 percent of respondents think travel industry brands’ social media content should be more inclusive of all kinds of travellers, and 84 percent of respondents think travel brands could do more to support a diverse set of travel creators – especially those in Australia (86 percent) and millennials (88 percent).
  • 76 percent of respondents feel that more realistic depictions of travel from content creators on social media would be more valuable than existing travel content.
  • More than half (51 percent) of Australian respondents disagree, or are unsure if travel creators’ content depicts travel realistically – making them the most likely market to say so​.
  • Respondents in Australia and the UK are most likely to say that the travel industry content on social media makes them feel jealous (29 percent each).
  • Overall, Australian respondents are the most inclined to feel negatively (bored, jealous, left out, etc.) when viewing travel industry content on social media with over half (53 percent) saying so. ​
  • 15 percent of Australian 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 percent).
  • Nearly half of survey respondents have some negative feelings (jealous, self-conscious, etc.) towards the current travel industry content seen on social media (46 percent).
  • One-third of respondents (33 percent) feel that their travel style or personal needs are not being met or might not be met by offerings from travel brands, and 21 percent are unsure that travel content from creators on social media is inclusive of different travel styles.

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 Chief Commercial Officer, Kathleen Reidenbach said the brand takes pride in being a different type of hotel.

“Our founding principles have us rooted in human connection and delivering a ‘Stay Human’ experience,” she said.

“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.”

The key commitments of the Kimpton ‘Stay Human’ Global Campaign include:

  • We pledge to work with creators that reflect the diversity of the wonderful world around us. This pledge will extend to the content on our brand channels and the UGC we share. To do this Kimpton is expanding our existing representation commitment 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.
  • We pledge to address current gaps in travel content – beginning with a commitment to present zero digital distortion of individuals and enhancing how we share information that is critical for travellers with disabilities and ensuring all content is truly accessible to all. To start we 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.
  • We pledge to create our 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. We pledge to continuously consult, engage and evolve the Collective.
  • We pledge to be the first brand to throw away the traditional brand-issued “creator content brief.” Rather than dictating what creators should create, we’ll 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.
  • We pledge that at least 75 percent of our Kimpton brand-contracted creators will reflect our 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.

To help shape these commitments and advise on how they can come to life in the guest experience, Kimpton worked with a select group of diverse creators with varying interests and passions from across the globe to form its first-ever ‘Stay Human’ Creator Collective. ​

The creators, including two Australians, gathered in London last month at the Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel, where they collectively took part in experiences rooted in and inspired by human connection. The group explored varying travel styles and discussed what fuels their individual and authentic passions.

Kimpton’s 2022 ‘Stay Human’ Creator Collective includes:

Shayne Tino (@shaynetino), Australia – Shayne is an Australian art director, designer, model and creative authority who has launched retail campaigns across the world, and founded and directed his own fashion brands Rimagind and C&talyst. 

Dan Brown (@simplydanbrown), Australia – Dan Brown is a Sydney-born and based fashion model signed to Chadwick Models. Featured in GQ AUS 2021, Dan has been credited for inspiring Aussie men to dress differently.

MYRNE (@myrne), Singapore – MYRNE is a DJ, Producer and Artist from Singapore. In addition to playing sold-out home crowds, MYRNE has an impressive history of live shows; In 2018, MYRNE was the first Singaporean act to play at dance festivals Ultra Miami and Tomorrowland Belgium.

Anna Whitehouse (@mother_pukka), United Kingdom – Anna Whitehouse is a journalist, editor, author and Heart radio presenter. Anna hosts a hugely successful podcast, Dirty Mother Pukka, and is the founder of Mother Pukka, a portal for news, events and honest reviews on parenthood trials and tribulations. She lives in London with her husband and their two children Mae and Eve.

Tess Daly (@tess.daly), United Kingdom – Tess is an Influencer from Sheffield who just so happens to have a disability. Her content centres around fashion, beauty, and lifestyle from a unique perspective of somebody who lives life in a wheelchair.

Rei Shito (@reishito), Japan – Rei is a Tokyo based street style photographer and journalist featured in Vogue 2020. She worked for a number of publications including ‘Street’, ‘Fruits’ and ‘Tune’ magazine, before launching STYLE from TOKYO, a blog centred on the street style of Harajuku.

‘Stay Human’ Hotel Packages

In January 2023, Kimpton will roll out bookable Stay Human packages at select hotels around the world catering to diverse travel styles and personalities. The packages will all be informed by real insights from Kimpton’s global consumer survey and its ‘Stay Human’ Creator Collective.

In addition to these bookable packages, Kimpton guests across select international properties will be invited to enjoy activities that bring Kimpton’s ‘Stay Human’ campaign to life, including curated social hour menus, themed pop-up events, social media contests and more. Starting in late January, guests can view and book the packages at

This campaign serves as a continuation of IHG Hotels & Resorts commitment to fostering a diverse culture where everyone can thrive.


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