Norway's Trolltunga, a now instantly recognisable slab of rock shaped like a trolls tongue, jets out over the fjords of Hordaland county.

Last year 80,000 tourists arrived to take a picture of the impressive landmark. Perhaps more impressive is the fact just 10 years ago it was virtually unknown.

Once one of the world's unknown natural wonders, it has been unearthed by social media; namely by Instagram.

There is something like 103,000 picture results on the website for the hashtag #trolltunga.

#Trolltunga: Unknown a decade ago, there are a staggering 103,000 pictures of Norway's Troll Tongue on instagram. Photo / supplied,
#Trolltunga: Unknown a decade ago, there are a staggering 103,000 pictures of Norway's Troll Tongue on instagram. Photo / supplied,

Similarly a search for #eiffeltower delivers a grid of close to five million identical pictures of carefully composed millennials pointing at the Parisian structure.


Not that originality or the desire to tread the path less trodden is a concern for these twenty somethings. Over sixty per cent of millennials admit to having their travel plans influenced by the potential for social media snaps.

A survey was conducted by the foreign currency exchange WeSwap into the travel habits of over 2000 adults between 18 and 35.

The findings provide a shocking insight into the state of travel and the fickleness of social-media obsessed travellers.

A third of travellers will not book a holiday without seeing pictures of it on Instagram first and about the same proportion see the pictures they can take to be as important as the holiday itself.

It's not just holidaymakers for whom social media is shaking things up. Many holiday destinations have observed the rise of the "influencer" with some trepidation.

Social media has become a currency for "Influencers" who have taken to exchanging "exposure" for stays at top hotels.

Luxury resorts and hotels have noticed a rise in cheeky requests from self-styled chancers, asking for free room and board in exchange for social media exposure.

Kate Jones who works for a five-star resort in the Maldives said she receives around six such requests a day.


"These people are expecting five to seven nights on average, all inclusive. Maldives is not a cheap destination," she said in an interview with

If this survey is to be believed, the bad news is that this may be the tip of the ice berg.

As marketeers catch on to the trend, more people are being paid to feature their holidays online.

#NoFilter: Influencers can get away with charging between $8,000 and $20,000 for a single picture on Instagram
#NoFilter: Influencers can get away with charging between $8,000 and $20,000 for a single picture on Instagram

In a recent interview in GQ, "influence agency" founder Stephanie Abrams Cartin revealed that – armed with a smartphone and an audience of 500,000 followers – you could get away with charging between $8,000 and $20,000 for a single picture on Instagram.

Hotels and tourism boards have taken a big gamble on paying this kind of money to social media personalities.

However with 40 per cent of travellers admitting to looking to "influencers" for holiday ideas, this survey might once and for all prove it is money well spent.

But you shouldn't be taken in by every #instaworthy picture they see on Instagram.

UK influencer Claire Menary has revealed there is an art behind creating the perfect travel snap, and that it is this expertise that brands are paying for. (#nofilter? Yeah, right.)

In an interview with Telegraph Travel, the London-based Instagrammer said:

"Some influencers do present travelling in an unrealistic way – they make some of the world's biggest tourist hot spots look deserted or really play with the colours to make a place look more vibrant and colourful than it actually is."

"Using certain editing tools – like playing with the exposure, shadows, contrasting or saturation for example – really can have a big impact on the final image," she added.

"It's important to remember that influencers only ever portray the best version of their lives on social platforms so there is an element of 'un-reality' to it," she said. "But saying that, if you follow travel influencers who are in fact photographers who like to capture the daily life and scenes of a place, then I do think you get a more realistic picture."

Influencer: Social media's part in holiday planning

37% of millennials

have had their holiday destination influenced by social media

34% have actually booked a holiday

because of content seen on social media

41% agree that travel bloggers

and social media influencers inspire their holiday destinations

37% say the ability to post beautiful images

and videos when they are on holiday influences where they travel to

61% of people want to share

beautiful or important holiday experiences online

36% will search potential holiday destinations

on social media before visiting

31% will search hashtags

associated with a holiday destination before visiting

28% trust social media over magazines

, television and Google and TripAdvisor reviews

43% won't go on holiday without checking

in, making sure their followers can see their travels

31% said that posting holiday pics

online is just as important as the holiday itself

29% wouldn't choose a holiday destination

if they were not able to post on social media while there

Research on booking behaviour of 18-34 year-olds carried out by WeSwap