Contiki challenges travel influencers to disconnect from social media


Contiki, a global leader in social travel, has partnered with socially-led creative agency We Are Social Australia for an initiative that flips the script on traditional travel influencer marketing.

Contiki campaign

“Switch On Social Travel” is a social-first campaign that encourages creators to disconnect from their social platforms, and fully immerse in the travel experience.

The campaign took a diverse group of 17 influencers from the US and Australia, boasting a combined following of 20 million users predominantly aged 18-35, for an epic trip through Portugal and Spain.

But in a category awash with the same tired travel content, Contiki sought to redefine the travel experience by doing the unthinkable; challenge these travel influencers to completely unplug from social media for the entirety of the trip.

Freed from the pressure of posting and seeking validation on social media, the influencers delved deeper into cultural experiences, formed meaningful relationships, and rediscovered the joy of living in the moment.

“As we continue to evolve the travel experience, we’re inspiring travellers to truly engage with the world around them,” said Melissa DaSilva, North America President, Contiki.

“This campaign redefines the conventional use of social media in the tourism industry. It’s about inspiring the audience to rediscover the real essence of travel – connections made, cultures explored, and memories created away from the digital gaze.”

Throughout the social experiment, Contiki’s channels provided fans with sneak peeks of the trip through engaging video content, capturing the essence of the journey and the authentic connections made by the participants.

The 7-day journey was documented with over 30,000 photos and 40 hours of footage produced, which were edited into short and long-form videos, from casual vlogs to beautifully edited films that highlight the joy of immersive travel.

After reconnecting online, the creators shared their experiences, enriched by their time offline, with their followers, sharing their stories and answering questions from the audience.

The campaign has been rolled out globally across Instagram Reels, YouTube, TikTok, and other digital platforms, published across Contiki and the influencers’ channels.

Ben Clare, Executive Creative Director at We Are Social, said: “For younger generations, never before has the pressure to immortalise a holiday or experience into a flawless social media post been so great. But doing so ironically detracts from the joy of travel and being fully present in the moment.

“It’s obviously pretty unconventional to engage travel influencers in a way that actually reduces their time online, but so far it’s proven to be a powerful message: travel is more enriching when you live in the moment, not just capture it.”