Jeremy Drake

Have we just witnessed the future of the Agent Fam? Our first Insta-Fam with Visit California & United rewrote the rule book on how to craft the perfect itinerary that inspires the agents and their clients in real-time.

It started out like any other fam, with 8 excited agents from around Australia all invited by Visit California, United Airlines & KarryOn to experience a region of the Golden State not on the usual tourist trail.

However, this fam instead focussed on a group of creative agents who specialise in using their social media channels as critical sales tools for booking trips.

All of the agents on this trip all use Instagram and Facebook to specifically look for destinations, within destinations and to interact with other online influencers to help them find hidden secrets. Time to Dream Big on this one!

Our all-star cast of Insta-agents included – Jake Cassar (@thiswildtime), Tessa Wong (@travel.with.tess), Claire Sheridan (@claiirebella), Charlotte Bolter (@charliebolter), Lena Nielson (@TheDiaryofaDreammaker), Dana Brown (@wildheartedworld), Peta McConachie (@postcardsfrompeta) and Kate van Bennekom (@KultureKate).

With an already packed itinerary that stretched from San Francisco and then into the regional areas of Chico, Redding and stunning Sonoma County, it became clear early on that these agents wanted to discover even more for their followers from their visit.

The original itinerary quickly morphed into an exciting ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ style photography and content creation road trip.

In San Francisco, there were no cable car rides or obligatory visits to Fisherman’s Wharf. Instead, this was replaced by late-night wanderings of hidden Tiki Bars, fortune cookie factories in one of America’s oldest Chinatowns and dawn starts to get that perfect shot of the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

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I’ve just been on the most incredible adventure through Northern California, thanks to @visitcalifornia, @united & @karryontravel 😍 . . On this trip, I met a bunch of talented, passionate and fun-loving travel agents who share my love of photography, social media and travel. We were lucky enough to experience so much in a short amount of days and this trip really highlighted how diverse the Golden State is. If you’ve been to Californja before, what are your thoughts on it as a travel destination? For those who haven’t been, watch this space as I share some of the amazing things you can see and do 🙌🇺🇸 . . #sanfrancisco #sanfran #sf #goldengatebridge #onlyinsf #presidiopark #california #cali #visitcalifornia #visitusa #usatravel #sunrise #travelinfluencer #travelphotography #travelgram #viewpoint #girlslovetravel #gltlove #alwaystravel #lovetotravel #travelagent #openmyworld #flightielife #wanderlust #cedartree #framing #amazingview #sunrisephotography #shotoniphone

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These 8 masters of Instagram and Facebook know exactly how to find the best spots by speaking with other travellers online. On this trip, one such location not on Visit California’s original itinerary ended up as the official crowd favourite.

After some hefty online research and group consultation (followed by another pre-dawn wake-up), the agents piled into their SUVs and journeyed into Mount Lassen National Park in search of secret volcanic geysers reminiscent of those in Yellowstone National Park – but without the crowds.

As this group of intrepid Insta-agents descended into a secret Northern Californian valley, the sulphur smell hit and their excitement levels grew. And once they rounded the final corner, plumes of steam billowing from turquoise sulphur pools greeted them.

volcano-Visitcali-karryon

With cameras ready it was as if they had discovered a new planet. A destination no one had ever been before. This detour became the perfect ingredient for an intrepid agent looking to sell an already very popular destination. All made possible through their social media.

Then there was Hot air ballooning and Yoga with Goats in Sonoma (yes really!), plenty of wine tasting and Whiskey tasting Napa Valley and some serious road trippin’… the shotlist went on and on…

And the results?

Over the 7-day trip, our team of Insta-agents collectively amassed hundreds of thousands of likes and engagement on their posts and naturally, some fantastic awareness for the regions of Northern California they visited.

Together they shone a light on lots of different places that piqued travellers interests beyond the usual icons.

“After being in California for a week, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you can really have 7 different holidays in 7 days. It’s such a diverse place and you can have lots of different experiences such as waking up in the morning to go hot air ballooning, to ending up having a picnic in the redwoods. One of the biggest tips and tricks I have for coming to California is just to hire a car and make your way around California at your own pace”

Tessa Wong (@travel.with.tess)

“To be honest, before I arrived in San Francisco I didn’t have a lot of expectations. I’d sent a few clients but they tended to be a bit older. I probably viewed it as a place as older people visit. But I think when I get back to the shop and I’m talking to people about the city, I’m going to tell them there’s something here for everyone. Wonderful history, amazing art, the food is impeccable and the cocktails are pretty good as well!”

Kate van Bennekom (@KultureKate)

Do you use Social media in your business to inspire travellers and spruik your services? Email us at [email protected] and tell us more.

To recreate this same itinerary for your own clients, or for yourself check out: https://www.visitcalifornia.com/au/feature/northern-california-explorer