The beautiful glow of “authentic” pictures

Turkey, Mallorca or Dubai? In the past, you had to rely on glossy pictures and tips from the Roseboro for the holiday decision. Today there is the Internet – with supposedly authentic photos and reports. But often the impression is misleading.

The times when you had to catalog catalogs before the holiday and leave the tips of the travel agency employees are over. Today, there are countless ways to get around the world on the web.

More than ten websites are looking at vacation maturity on average before their journey, says Michael Buller, board member of the Association Internet Travel Sales (VIR). But while in catalogs they show only the most beautiful, many of Facebook and Instagram expect authenticity – a hope that is not always fulfilled.

On Facebook, for example, you are more likely to be inspired by inspiring contributions about travel – especially when friends post their holiday pictures. About every second picture published on Facebook has something to do with travel, says Buller. However, contributions from friends and acquaintances as well as advertisements and contributions from tourist companies, for which the user has shown interest, are now running in their own timeline.

Therefore, it is advisable to look closely. Is there a commercial interest behind a travel tip? “This becomes relevant when friends share images, or even when social media already has something like a social relationship – for example, idols,” says Niels Bruggen from the Institute for Media Education (JFF) in Munich. Especially in the case of contributions from their personal environment, users expect unstained information. This is often not the case. For example, when the friends are sharing or sharing advertisements from travel providers and booking pages, the user is shown in the timeline.

On Instagram, there are mainly optical impressions of destinations. How do you find them? Simply enter the desired place of the search in the search mask, advises Maximilian Munch, professional Instagram, who earns money by posting travel photos. So you usually find a variety of different pictures. The advantage: the whole new photos show whether the castle you want to visit is hidden behind a scaffolding – or how the weather at the travel destination is just. In addition, the pictures are more authentic than, for example, photos in high-gloss images, says Munch.

But caution is also needed. After all, tourism destinations and organizers have been increasingly engaging so-called influencers, users with, particularly large reach. They pay them the trip – and in return, they expect pretty photos on the profiles of the digital opinion makers.

Niels Bruggen warns: Someone who publishes money on a travel destination for money probably shows the beautiful view rather than the ugly stain. “In the case of information that is fed with a financial interest, the question is justified whether it is neutral,” he says.


Some influencers mark paid posts with a hashtag like #sponsored or write the official name of the campaign to their picture. But, “There is no clear definition of how this type of advertising needs to be labeled,” says Bruggen. One could still make a picture of Instagram. “But you must look at other sources, for example about the location of a hotel, to be sure that your own impression will not be completely different,” advises the expert.

Hotel reviews also play an important role in travel planning. The online reviews were very authentic, says Niels Bruggen. Counterfeits are not excluded. Therefore, one should rather believe scores based on a lot of opinions, Buller emphasizes – and also really read what other holidaymakers write. “The reviews are very subjective.” For example, someone may give a bad rating to a keen hotel because he prefers mild food. For others, sharp food might even be an argument to drive straight into this hotel.

What does it all mean for holidaymakers? The network, on the other hand, makes them more independent from the presentation of the tour operators and tourist destinations. On the other hand, there is of course also a lot of advertising on the Internet – it is often not as easy to recognize as on other channels.