Representations of Bend, Oregon and Peer
Tourism Destinations on Social Media:
A Content Analysis of Instagram Content
THE STUDENTS OF
GEOGRAPHY 368: GEOGRAPHY FIELD SEMINAR
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-EAU CLAIRE
Department of Geography & Anthropology
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
105 Garfield Avenue | Eau Claire, WI | 54701
Table of Contents
2 About Us: the UW-Eau Claire & the Department of Geography & Anthropology
3 Overview of Geography 368 and the Oregon Field Seminar
4 Purpose of this Study
5 Introduction: Why Social Media Matters for Promoting Place
7 Content Analysis as a Research Method for Analyzing Social Media
8 Methodological Framework
9 Sampling Methods
10 Coding Methods and Interpreting the Imagery
11 Bend and its Peers: A Comparison
14 Vignettes: Essential Themes in Place Promotion
15 Outdoor Activities
20 Indoor Activities
22 Food and Drink
26 The Arts
36 Vignettes: Making Place Promotion More Inclusive
44 Persons with Special Needs
46 Summary of Vignettes
49 Appendix: Coding Data
Overview of UW-Eau Claire
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an institution of
approximately 11,500 students and 1,200 faculty and staff, is
consistently recognized as a top comprehensive university in
the Midwest and is widely known as a leader in faculty-
undergraduate research and study abroad. We strive for
excellence in liberal education and select graduate and
professional programs through commitment to teaching and
learning and dedication to our core values of diversity,
sustainability, leadership, and innovation.
Overview of the Department of Geography & Anthropology
The Department of Geography and Anthropology is home to
nine permanent faculty, two permanent staff, and four visiting
faculty. The Geography program is one of the largest in the
Midwest, with more than 150 majors working towards degrees
in liberal arts, environmental, geospatial, and transnational
The mission of the department and its programming is to equip
undergraduate students with a comprehensive geographical
foundation and to prepare students with the knowledge,
understanding, perspectives, motivation, skills, and tools to be
competent participants in addressing contemporary societal and
environmental challenges and engage in local to global
community issues. This is done this by offering a balanced,
complementary, and progressive range of human, physical,
human-environment, regional, and geospatial courses, as well as
high impact opportunities (research, fieldwork, internships,
immersions, and applied experiences). The department is
committed to providing a program of high quality and relevant
content, accessible and welcoming to all students, with attention
to groups historically underrepresented in geography.
Overview of Geography 368: Geography Field Seminar
The Geography Field Seminar is a required course for most Geography majors at UW-Eau
Claire. Although the area of interest varies by semester, each course includes in-class lessons,
readings, and exercises that provide students with an understanding of various physical and
human geographies of the area of interest. In addition, an emphasis on research methods and
techniques is included provide students with a field-based learning experience that will
deepen their appreciation and knowledge of the destination. As a result, students develop
abilities to observe, analyze, and think geographically about the area of interest. The course
requires students to synthesize knowledge from a wide range of subdisciplines in Geography
as well as related disciplines. At the end of the course, students publish a website that
includes a daily overview of activities conducted during the field excursion and complete
individual or group research projects. The course receives substantial funding from the UW-
Eau Claire through the Blugold Commitment. These funds are vitally important, as they make
the course and its field excursion component more affordable for students.
Overview of the Oregon Field Seminar
The Oregon Field Seminar, instructed by
Dr. Ezra Zeitler with the assistance of Dr.
Doug Faulkner, emphasizes aspects of
physical, environmental, and human
geography in the context of northwestern
Oregon. Specific topics vary by course
offering but typically include the
following: the Columbia River Gorge
(physical geography and agriculture), the
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
(tribal sovereignty and management of
natural and cultural resources), the
Bureau of Land Management (restoration Map depicting the field trip itinerary and places visited
of riparian zones impacted by grazing), during the ten-day Oregon Field Seminar in late
tourism in Bend and its environs September and early October 2018. By Ezra Zeitler.
(including a meeting with Visit Bend), Crater Lake (physical geography and management),
cartography (including a meeting with Cartographers at the University of Oregon), Willamette
Valley agriculture (with tours of Rogue Farms and Keeler Estate Vineyard), environmental
hazards and emergency management on Oregon’s coast (led by UW-Eau Claire Alumnus
Patrick Corcoran of OSU-Extension in Astoria), transit-oriented development in the Portland
Metropolitan Area, and redevelopment and gentrification in Portland’s Pearl District and Eliot
Neighborhood (highlighted by a visit with Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of Portland
Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc).
Purpose of this Study
This study was proposed by Ezra Zeitler in the summer of 2018 after Valerie Warren, Vice
President of Operations and Policy at Visit Bend, agreed to discuss the myriad ways in which
the organization markets the city for tourism with the Oregon Field Seminar class during their
fall field excursion. The project was designed to integrate the following:
+ The study of tourism, an inherently geographic economic activity that has become an
integral component of communities like Bend and Eau Claire;
+ Content analysis, a research method commonly used in Geography and other social sciences
to investigate the frequencies and meanings of visual and textual information;
+ Instagram, a social media platform that has grown to become one of the most popular in the
world. As such, this platform has become a staple for destination tourism marketing
This project provided students with the opportunity collaborate on a high-impact group
research project and produce an informed, client-oriented report with the potential to inform
organizational decisions that benefit the Bend community.
Students and faculty of the 2018 Oregon Field Seminar hope that your organization finds this
report informative, constructive, and valuable as you analyze past social media marketing
efforts and consider new approaches to sharing the physical beauty and vibrant culture of
place you work and live.
Haley Churchill Dr. Douglas Faulkner Chase Mohrman Caroline Saksefski Katlyn Wettberg
Carissa Dowden Emily Manthei Kayla Moothart Paul Schmitt Dr. Ezra Zeitler
Kristina Emery Andrew Moen Adria Slade
Introduction: Why Social Media Matters for
By Adria Slade and Katlyn Wettberg
This literature review focuses on how social media and the promotion of spaces interact
with Instagram’s influence on where people travel. The goal of this review is to explain how
social media is increasingly utilized by tourism agencies to promote a place. However, there
are both positives and negatives to promoting places on social media.
The rapid rise in popularity of social media over the past decade has resulted in new
modes for people to plan their travel planning. Instead of compiling guidebooks, papers, maps,
and using travel agencies to navigate their trip, increasing numbers have turned to an array of
instantaneous information from across the web in many different forms. One of the most
popular methods is social media. Through social media platforms, such as Facebook and
Instagram, friends and family can share photos and experiences of trips and tourist hot spots.
Cities across the United States also use social media to attract tourists by promoting their
city. To accomplish this, they share photos across popular social media sites of things offered
in their city such as recreational activities, nature, events, food and drinks, and places to stay.
Worldwide, more than 3 billion people use social media to communicate, share, network
and stay up to date on news or current events (Guzman, 2016). Instagram, a photo-based
social media platform, has become an integral part of society with over 1 billion users logging
onto the application monthly - a figure that has increased by 200 million since 2017 and is
projected to continue growing (Statista, 2018). Social media, especially Instagram, is primarily
used by younger generations of user. For instance, 41% of users are 24 years old or younger
and it is more popular with this demographic than Twitter or Facebook (Guzman, 2016). The
high user engagement on Instagram and its primary focus on images render it as a valuable
marketing tool that reaches a broad audience.
Travelers tend to rely on and trust word of mouth experiences from their peers as a
valuable source of information. According to Chung and Koo (2014), social media allows for
people to become more engaged with each other while gaining interest in pictures, videos and
blogs containing information about different topic, such as travel. These forms of social media
also lead to greater consumption of information by viewers. Social media is increasingly being
used to share travel experiences and reviews compared to people talking in person. It also
reaches a higher number of people.
Tourism is also important to geographers in many aspects. There are many branches of
geography that tie into tourism, including human and environmental geography. Tourism
occurs in places, involves movements and activities between places, and involves landscapes
and people. Environmental impacts and concerns are also a topic of interest in geographers
that relate to tourism. Overall, tourism is inherently geographical in nature, as it regards the
temporary migration of people and services through time and space. The specific branch of
tourism geography studies topics such as tourism infrastructure (transportation,
accommodation), spatial distributions of tourist phenomena, tourist impacts, planning for
tourism and spatial modeling of tourism development, and the effect of scale.
Although the rise of social media has many positive aspects to it when it comes to
tourism, there are also negative aspects to it. There is tension between wanting people to
explore the outdoors more, but also preserving fragile ecosystems and places that cannot
handle large numbers of visitors. With the rise of social media and sharing photos of
experiences, places such as national parks are struggling to keep up with the demand of
people (Solomon, 2017). In too many instances, tourist activity has extended beyond marked
trials and posted boundaries to seek the perfect selfie and therefore damaging fragile
ecosystems by exploring where they are asked not to, having prohibited fires, littering, and
In order to better understand how tourism and social media tie together, the geography
field seminar class at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire conducted an analysis of
different Instagram accounts whose purposes are to promote their city and attract tourists.
We looked at different indicators within the various photos posted across multiple Instagram
accounts, including details about the types of landscapes and people posted.
Guzman, Alejandra, and Farida Vis. 2016. "6 Ways Social Media Is Changing the World."
World Economic Forum. Accessed December 17, 2018.
Namho Chung, Chulmo Koo. 2015. “The Use of Social Media in Travel Information Search.”
Telematics and Informatics 32, no.2 (May): 215-229. Accessed December 3, 2018.
Solomon, Christopher. 2017. "Is Instagram Ruining the Great Outdoors?" Outside Online.
Accessed December 12, 2018. https://www.outsideonline.com/2160416/instagram-
"U.S. Population with a Social Media Profile 2018. 2018. " Statista. Accessed December 12,
Content Analysis as a Research Method for
Analyzing Social Media
By Ezra Zeitler
Content analysis is a research technique that utilizes qualitative and quantitative methods to
analyze words, phrases, or photographs in a text in a replicable and valid manner. The goal of
this research method is to understand the symbolic qualities of texts or imagery and the way
that elements within them symbolize aspects of culture, from the policies of social institutions
to the values of individuals. Two general approaches to content analysis exist: manifest
content analysis and latent content analysis.
Manifest content analysis involves a general
quantitative assessment of the surface or visible
content of a photo or text. This may include the
use of specific words or phrases in text, the
inclusion of specific features in photographs, or
the physical space dedicated to a theme (i.e,
column inches in a newspaper or travel magazine
or time in a video). For example, a clustered
sample of 15 Visit Bend posts (Figure 1) include
15 outdoor photos and videos, 1 documenting
inclement weather and 14 documenting pleasant
weather, 10 depicting a type of outdoor activity,
and 5 depicting the natural environment without
Latent content analysis involves a more nuanced Figure 1. Fifteen outdoor photos and videos posted
qualitative analysis of the underlying or implied on the Visit Bend Instagram account between July
themes within a text, including ideologies or 12 and August 16, 2017 promote the environs of
beliefs of the author, photographer, or editor. Bend as a beautiful natural playground but for
For instance, the examples on the right do not persons of a particular demographic categories.
include photos of Bend itself, present the
weather as ideal for a variety of outdoor
activities on nearby public lands that are
beautiful and unspoiled by human activity or
environmental hazards, and suggest that these
natural amenities are easily accessible to young,
able-bodied people with the financial resources
and time necessary to travel to Bend and
participate in such activities.
By Ezra Zeitler
The growth in the use of Instagram in recent years has made the application an increasingly
relevant option for the promotion of place by destination tourism operators. This study of posts
on the Visit Bend, Visit Central Oregon, Visit Big Sky, and Visit Eau Claire Instagram accounts
includes photos and videos posted over the past four years. Although the average Instagram
user is unlikely to scroll through years of posts, understanding the evolution of the posts can
reveal historic trends and paradigm shifts in content. Understanding that recent posts likely have
a greater influence on tourist decision-making, however, the sampling method used to select
photos and videos for analysis was weighted to include a higher proportion of recent posts and a
declining number of posts as their age increased. The study included photos posted between
January 2014 (when the youngest of the four accounts analyzed made its debut) and November
A Google Trends search for travel-related topics in Bend reveals an insightful look into when
Google users search for the city over the past fourteen years. Although it cannot be assumed that
all searches were conducted by non-residents, the highs and lows of interest over time associate
themselves well with seasonal tourism demand (Figure 1). The overall trend indicates that
Google searches for Bend have increased steadily since 2014 but peaks during the summer
months of June, July, and August and wanes during the fall months of October and November.
Small peaks emerge during the winter months of December and January, presumably due to non-
resident interest in Bend’s winter amenities.
Figure 1. Graph indicating travel-related internet searches for Bend, Oregon on the Google search engine between
January 2014 and November 2018. Interest peaks during the summer months and wanes in the late winter months
each year. Source: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?cat=67&date=all&geo=US&q=%2Fm%2F0zchj
In this study, a mixed-sampling approach was utilized to collect samples of Instagram posts to
analyze. The first step involved stratifying photos in each Instagram account by month and then
employing a systemic sampling method by coding the first x number of posts in each month. The
number of sampled posts decreased as they aged. Only two posts per month were sampled in
2014, the first year that each of the four accounts analyzed co-existed. Three posts were
sampled from each of the months in 2015 and 2016, and four were sampled January to
November 2017. Five posts were sampled each month from December 2017 to November 2018,
when the analysis was conducted. This methodology resulted in approximately 200 photos for
analysis in each of the four accounts (Table 1). In a few instances, the number of monthly posts
did not match the sample rate, resulting in a lower number of posts analyzed. As a result, 17.3%
of all Visit Bend posts , 22.8% of all Visit Central Oregon posts, 25.3% of all Visit Big Sky posts,
and 25.4% of all Visit Eau Claire posts were included in the analysis.
Table 1. Sampling schedule for Instagram posts between January 2014 and November 2018.
Once photos and videos were identified as samples, members of the Oregon Field Seminar class
used shared Google Tables to collect basic information about them, including the date and
season they were posted, the number of likes and comments they had received. Next,
information about its content was collected. If the photo or video was taken indoors, information
about its location (public or private space, urban or rural space, type of commercial space),
information of persons in them (if they were present), if present, the types of activities they were
doing, and whether or not a pet was in tow. If the photo or video was taken outdoors, similar
location data (with some additional land use and activity information) and data about persons in
them were collected. See Appendix 1 for a complete list of coding categories and cumulative
statistics for each of the four Instagram accounts included in this project.
Interpreting the Imagery
Once photos and videos were identified as samples, basic information about them were
collected, including the date and season it was posted, the number of likes and comments it had
received. Next, information about its content was collected. If the photo or video was taken
indoors, information about its location (public or private space, urban or rural space, type of
commercial space), information of persons in them (if they were present), if present, the types of
activities they were doing, and whether or not a pet was in tow. If the photo or video was taken
outdoors, similar location data (with some additional land use and activity information) and data
about persons in them were collected (see Appendix 1 for a complete list). Below is an example
that illustrates how the coding categories and interpretation methods were used to produce
data that were incorporated into the overall analysis.
Photo URL: https://www.instagram.com/p/BppRxfZAC1e/
Date posted: 11/1/18
Date interpreted: 11/24/18
# of likes: 1,005
# of comments: 4
Placement of Subject: foreground and background
Location: outside of host community
Camera position: ground
Time of day: golden hour
Site of photo: rural public space
Natural Landcover: barren, exposed rock
Water: still water
Weather: clear sky, evidence of precipitation event
People: no people present
Bend and its Peers: A Comparison
By Carissa Dowden and Caroline Saksefski
The University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire’s Geography’s field seminar class has coded more than
eight hundred Instagram posts from Visit Bend, Visit Central Oregon, Visit Big Sky and Visit Eau
Claire in order to compare Visit Bend with the other three accounts. First calculated is the
frequency at which each Instagram account posted between the months of January 2017 to
October 2018. Visit Bend averaged 15.45 posts per month, which is similar to that of Visit Eau
Claire (15.54 posts), followed by Visit Central Oregon (13 posts per month) and Visit Big Sky (11
posts per month). Generally, Visit Bend is not posting more or less frequently than the three
other accounts. User engagement with the pictures as measured through the amount of likes and
comments of each post revealed a strength of the Visit Bend account. Visit Bend ranked the
highest among the four accounts with an average of 986 likes and 10 comments per post. Visit
Eau Claire averaged 188 likes and 2 comments per post, followed by Visit Central Oregon with
an average of 169 likes and 5 comments.
However, the class to look not at the amount of post and interactions, but at the content of the
posts: what do the pictures capture, advertise or convey about Visit Bend? Most importantly,
how is Visit Bend advertising their town through Instagram, and could it possibly increase its
range of where their visitors are from.
In order to develop one’s social media presence on Instagram, comparison across ‘similar
destinations’ branding is necessary. For example, in Romain, Gaudette, auger, and Adjizian in
“Site Management and Use of Social Media by Tourism Businesses: The Case of Quebec,” they
surveyed 2,393 Quebec tourism enterprises to identify how social media is used by different
businesses. The results showed that most companies are aware of the importance of
information and communications technology for the development of their activities, but some
financial, human, geographical and training aspects slow down the process. Social media has
revolutionized how tourism agencies interact with consumers, and has transformed how
individuals search for travel options, as discussed by Ellie Moultrup in “Destination Marketing
on Instagram: How Social Media Has Revolutionized Tourism.” Moultrup predicts that the vast
majority of marketing will take place on social media platforms like Instagram in the near
future, and that destination marketing capitalizes on simple and efficient campaigns through
In our analysis of Visit Bend’s account, we are juxtaposing it to Visit Central Oregon, Visit Big
Sky, and Visit Eau Claire. Visit Central Oregon represents a larger geographical area, but also
contains the city of Bend, and presents the opportunity to illuminate any possible gaps in Visit
Bend’s post subjects (e.g. recreation, human activities). Visit Big Sky is a account originally
suggested for analysis by Visit Bend, and represents an ideal brand of theirs to follow in terms
of style and similar topics posted about. Visit Eau Claire is an account added by the researchers
of this report, due to similar population and economic histories, as well as shared interests into
media presence of the arts. Furthermore, Eau Claire is similar to Bend in its proximity to larger
urban centers, as well as destination in cultural and outdoor tourism. By presenting this array
of sources, a well-rounded social media content analysis can be made. Looking at other
accounts, not just the three offered in comparison to Bend’s, allows the subject to see gaps in
their own social media.
Photos posted to the Visit Bend Instagram account between January 10 and January 13, 2017.
Looking at change over time in Bend’s posting patterns can yield information about the
evolution of their perspective towards social media and previously valued post subjects. While
the vast majority of their posts have the photo subject in the distance, before late 2015 there
was more variation in subject placement. In comparison, Big Sky, Central Oregon, and Eau
Claire all tend to have foreground subjects in posts. In terms of post locations on Visit Bend, the
account has gone through phases in posting equally inside and outside of Bend, though most of
2016 and the beginning of 2017 were almost entirely shot outside of Bend. For camera
position, Visit Bend has, from genesis, favored a ground-based camera shot, in addition to time
of day shown in photos. In the four years of data gathered on indoor vs. outdoor shots, Visit
Bend only had 4 photos taken indoors: one in late 2018, one in early 2014, one in late 2015, and
one in late 2016. Out of 190 photos taken outdoors, 182 were taken on rural public space.
Furthermore, 142 were of clear or partly clear weather conditions, though variation in weather
occurs from early 2014 to 2016. Only 3 of those include cultural amenities from 2016 and
2015, and 124 had no people featured. 141 feature some change in terrain, but the 47 that
feature flat terrain are relatively dispersed throughout the dataset.
The account historically has favored depicting forested scenes with no bodies of water, but had
more variation in scenery from late 2017 to mid-2016, and water imagery in 2014, mid-to-late
2015, and 2017. Due to this propensity to depict rural outdoors scenes, 124 out of 190 photos
have no people in them, but photos with people are also evenly dispersed throughout the
dataset. Of those people depicted, the majority are presumably 21-49 years old, and equally
show men, women, or both genders throughout the data set.
Generally speaking, throughout the history of the account’s posts, Visit Bend tends to post the
same subjects under the same conditions (e.g. outdoor shot on rural non-flat land with no
people), and posts about other topics much less, albeit equally distributed throughout the other
Roult Romain, Gaudette Marilyne, Auger Denis, and Adjizian Jean-Marc. 2016. Site Management
and Use of Social Media by Tourism Businesses: The Case of Quebec." Czech Journal of Tourism:
Journal of Masaryk University 5(1): 21-34. Accessed online November 13, 2018.
Moultrup, Ellie. 2017. Destination Marketing on Instagram: How Social Media Has
Revolutionized Tourism. Medium. Accessed online November 14, 2018.
Vignettes: Essential Topics in Place Promotion
Selected photos posted on the Visit Bend, Visit Central Oregon, Visit Big Sky, and Visit Eau Claire
Instagram accounts between 2014 and 2018. Collage produced by Rachel Roth.
By Paul Schmitt
A prominent aspect of imagery throughout all Instagram accounts analyzed in this report falls
under the category of outdoor activities. Displaying the natural landscape of a tourist
destination in a photo can be a highly influential in making people interact with the given post
while also forming their conceptual idea of that location. Gilbert, Smith, Berkel, and Zanten
(2016) state that this information can be applied to land management. For example, the
information can be used to inform decisions about how management dollars are allocated. It
can also be used to provide managers with a better understanding of how and why people are
attached to their favorite outdoor places (Gilbert, Smith, Berkel, Zanten, 2016).
To fully report on outdoor activities present within the Visit Central Oregon, Visit Bend, Visit
Big Sky, and Visit Eau Claire Instagram accounts, a specification of necessary selected photos
for analysis was defined. First, collective outdoor photos were added for each account and
reported on further. Second, outdoor photos with people included and specifically “active”
people included were separately delineated to form an understanding on the ratio of strictly
landscape photos or images with only natural settings in comparison to the number of images
showing people participating in some form of outdoor activity. This is an important
separation because a majority of the imagery for these accounts is solely landscape
photography which remains a powerful class of photos to boost user interaction but, doesn’t
directly portray an activity in the outdoors that an account user could have a connection
with. Third, the sub-coding category “People: Activity” was utilized to pull images for further
identification of what outdoor activities each account is displaying. Selected imagery was also
pulled using the same methodology in the original data collection with a greater sample size
of photos originating from the present day and a smaller size originating from around the
start date of each Instagram page. Results are presented on the following page.
Photos posted to the Visit Big Sky Instagram account between March 26 and March 28, 2018.
By the Numbers: A Comparison of Outdoor Photos Among Instagram
Visit Bend 191 Visit Big Sky 175
Collective Outdoor Photos Collective Outdoor Photos
Outdoor photos with people included 60 Outdoor photos with people included 50
Outdoor photos with "active" people Outdoor photos with "active" people
included 15 included 2
Cultivated Landscape: 0 Cultivated Landscape: 34
Ski hill Ski hill
Golf course 59 Golf course 46
People: Activity People: Activity
People active (silent outdoor sport - 9 People active (silent outdoor sport - 14
People active (motorized outdoor sport - 0 People active (motorized outdoor sport - 0
ATV, pontoon) ATV, pontoon)
People not active (eating, relaxing in a People not active (eating, relaxing in a
Visit Eau Claire 143 Visit Central Oregon 157
Collective Outdoor Photos 30 Collective Outdoor Photos 71
Outdoor photos with people included 1 Outdoor photos with people included 9
Outdoor photos with "active" people 0 Outdoor photos with "active" people 16
included 4 included 12
Cultivated Landscape: Cultivated Landscape:
Ski hill 29 Ski hill 70
Golf course 1 Golf course 1
Cropland/orchards 25 Cropland/orchards 12
People: Activity People: Activity
People active (silent outdoor sport - People active (silent outdoor sport -
People active (motorized outdoor sport - People active (motorized outdoor sport -
ATV, pontoon) ATV, pontoon)
People not active (eating, relaxing in a People not active (eating, relaxing in a
Out of the photos that were further pulled from each account, defining categories of outdoor
activities range but there are identifiable patterns across the Instagram pages with Visit Eau
Claire being the only outlier for what they can offer pertaining to outdoor amenities. The
most common outdoor activities across the board that these Instagram pages depict with
people involved follow as such in order of highest frequency: hiking, downhill skiing,
snowboarding, cross country skiing, whitewater rafting, tubing, and stargazing. With skiing
and snowboarding coming in at the very top with rate of frequency, this can be attributed to
the billion dollar industry these outdoor hobbies bring into communities with ski hills or easily
accessible trails for people wanting to go backcountry (Statista, 2013). Cultivated landscapes
was also included in the data table to further display the amount of ski hills these photos
incorporated into their feed. It should also be noted that Visit Bend had the most photos with
people doing night hiking, offering professionally-developed imagery with views of the stars
that resulted in substantial increases to the amount of likes received for such photos.
"Other" activities include:
- Concert/promotional event
- Mountain biking
The economic motivation behind portraying outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding
are unmatched, yet this targets only one niche tourist group.
Some of the other highlight outdoor activities marketed on the other three Instagram pages
corresponds with the following table.
In this section of the report, Visit Eau Claire remained to be an outlier simply due to the fact of
being located in a different climatic zone than the other accounts, thus account managers
need to portray a somewhat different set of outdoor activities to interact with the audience.
Although, in their account there is a substantial increase in images with outdoor venues and
promotional events such as Eaux Claires Festival and the Lake Hallie Food Fest. Directing
their audience towards more events that are taking place in the surrounding community
focuses the attention on what Eau Claire is able to offer its residents as well as visitors that
are coming through the city. This is a beneficial model that numerous tourist Instagram pages
follow if their community isn’t surrounded by picturesque landscapes.
An asset that accompanies photos of outdoor activities on Instagram which is relevant to
address in this section of the report is the photographic responsibility of photographers and
various social media account managers behind the posts of outdoor activities. There is a
phenomenon that is being increasingly observed in hidden and secluded natural locations
with the rise of Instagram as one of the world’s most used social media platforms. An influx of
visitors to places that were once known by only a small proportion of people is occurring and
with a lack of infrastructure or resources, human activity poses a substantial threat.
On the application, geotagging allows the user to share the location where a photo was taken.
Tap on a tag - say, Yosemite - and you’ll see all the public photos associated with that locale.
But geotagging can also get specific, and that’s where the real issues start (Schiffer, 2018).
Outdoor photographers active on Instagram now labeled, “outdoor influencers” and other
accounts that have extensive audiences such as the tourist pages analyzed in this report play a
considerable role in the visual marketing of destinations and with this comes a level of
responsibility that cannot be disregarded. The provided additional reading reinforces these
Schiffer, Zoe. 2018. How the Rise of Outdoor Influencers is Affecting the Environment.
Hiemstra, Graham. “How Social Media Perpetuates Cliché Photography.” Field Mag. (October
Gilbert, Lael; Smith, Jordan W.; Zanten, Boris van; and Berkel, Derek Van. 2016. Mapping
Landscape Values Using Social Media. All Current Publications. Paper 1747. Accessed
December 9, 2018. https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/extension_curall/1747
“Revenue of ski & snowboard resorts (NAICS 71392) in the United States from 2008 to 2013
(in billion U.S. dollars).” Statista. (December 2013). Accessed December 9, 2018.
Photos posted to the Visit Eau Claire Instagram account between July 23 and July 27, 2018.
By Haley Churchill
Of the 72 indoor photos analyzed 5
across all four Instagram accounts, 4
only ten photos were taken indoors 3
and did not include food and drink or 2
art and music. Of the photos sampled 1
from the tourist accounts, Visit Bend 0
did not include any indoor photos
unrelated to food and art. Visit Big Visit Bend
Sky displayed five indoor photos, one Visit Big Sky
of which was not related to food or Visit Central Oregon
art. Visit Central Oregon displayed Visit Eau Claire
twenty indoor photos, four of which
were not related to food or art. Three
of these photos were taken at the
High Desert Museum, and the last
was taken at Camp Abbot Trading
Company. Finally, Visit Eau Claire
displayed the most indoor photos
with 44, five of which did not involve
food or art. These included photos of
people playing table tennis, cheering
on the Green Bay Packers, and
participating in other games like
Number of Photos
Based on previous research on tourism and social media, tourist destinations tend to be rated
based on how “Instagrammable” they are (Arnold 2018). The criteria for this tends to fall on
outdoor landscapes rather than indoor activities. An exception to this is food and beverages,
which tend to be a popular subject for Instagram posts. Although these aspects of tourists
locations significantly contribute to tourism marketing, advertising indoor activities could
provide a more well-rounded impression of tourist destinations. On days when weather is not
inviting to outdoor recreation, tourists will likely want to do something outside of their hotel
rooms. For individuals who do not drink alcohol, it would also be helpful to advertise more
indoor activities that are less revolved around alcoholic beverages.
Arnold, Andrew. 2018. "Here's How Much Instagram Likes Influence Millennials' Choice Of
Travel Destinations." Forbes Magazine. Accessed December 04, 2018.
Photo of the WWII Exhibit at the High Desert Museum posted on the Visit Central Oregon Instagram account.
Food and Drink
By Krista Emery
Figure 1 shows the percentage of sample size
from several related travel accounts based on
the number of posts that fit within the
category of eating and dining establishments
from our sampling method. Of the total
sample of 44 images, Visit Bend (VB) had only
one image from the sample that fit the food
and drink category, Visit Big Sky (VBS) had 6,
Visit Central Oregon (VCO) had 12, and Visit
Eau Claire (VEC) had 25.
From that initial sampling, the images were Figure 1. Percentage of sampled photos from four
further analyzed and separated into three Instagram accounts that included food and/or drink in
categories: photos that portrayed both food them.
and drink options, photos that showed only
drinks or drinking establishments, or photos Figure 2. Percentage of sampled photos in four Instagram
representing only food in their image (Figure accounts that included photos of food, photos of drink, and
2). Based on the data we collected, it is safe to photos of both food and drink.
say that Visit Bend could use more posts
regarding food and drink across the board.
Figure 2 shows the proportion of the variety
of content options and their representation
within each account. Visit Bend only had one
viable sample, leading to its significant
polarization compared to other tourism
Instagram accounts. Visit Eau Claire has a
relatively even distribution of posts with each
condition. Visit Central Oregon and Visit Big
Sky have similar distributions to one another
with a majority of food and drink posts
dedicated to drink-based posts.
Most photos in the food and drink PAGE 23
analysis represented similar patterns
across different ‘Visit’ accounts in Figure 3. Frequency of sampled photos in four Instagram
other categories. The average number accounts that included photos of food and/or drink and their
of comments on images in all accounts location (taken outdoors or indoors).
ranged from 2-3.33 comments per
post. The typical location of photo
was a ground-based image with its
geolocation within the host
community represented. Most images
are outdoors rather than indoors, as
displayed in Figure 3.
Demographics Figure 4. A cluster sample of twelve photos posted on the
Based on a study by the Travel Industry Visit Eau Claire Instagram account between March 1
Association of America (2006), culinary March 16, 2018 includes six instances of food and drink.
tourists are typically younger, more
educated, and currently woman-
dominated – at a growth rate of around
65% in the female demographic (Getz,
Robinson, Andersson, & Vujicic, 2014).
While the Visit Bend account has
targeted the young adult demographic,
which makes up most culinary tourists,
several demographics have not been
catered to. These younger culinary
tourists tend to prefer more culturally
diverse and interactive experiences –
even in their dining experiences. (Getz,
Robinson, Andersson, & Vujicic, 2014).
The study also found that unique and
memorable experiences, local cuisines,
farmers markets, traditional artisan
products, culinary festivals, and local
winery sampling/touring were some of
the most popular activities (Getz,
Robinson, Andersson, & Vujicic, 2014).
Figure 4 features aspects of the culinary
experience that Visit Eau Claire regularly
highlights on their Instagram account.
Tourism and Food Research
Typically, tourists are seeking a combination of eating and drinking establishments to spend their
time and feed their appetites. (Getz, Robinson, Andersson, & Vujicic, 2014) Of the sample from
Mandala Research, most traveling participants cited that yes, they do consider themselves as
someone who travels to learn about or enjoy unique and memorable eating/drinking experiences.
Eighty seven percent of the people who responded to the previous question with ‘deliberate’
motivation towards picking locations. This statistic is noted to be statistically significant. Deliberate
motivation to partake in culinary activities is defined in the study as “the availability of culinary
activities was a key reason that I chose to take the trip” and/or “the availability of culinary activities
helped me choose between potential destinations.”
Areas for improvement
Areas where VisitBend could improve their online viewership and visits include but are not limited to
promotion of more local businesses, featuring different style culinary environments, and simply
posting more images of food and drink options for those visiting and may be unfamiliar with the area.
Giving tourists an idea of what kinds of dining and drinking establishments are available is important
when they are making decisions on where to stay and visit while on their trips.
Seeking out shares and visits from culinary travelers by using giveaways or discounts are a sure way
to increase buzz around both VisitBend, as well as the businesses partnering with VisitBend.
Businesses such as coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, wineries, breweries, or farmers markets can
benefit from tourism spending as well as keep tourists interested and invested in local attractions.
People are more likely to post about aesthetically pleasing meals and drinks they were served, any
memorable experiences they’ve had, and discounts that they have been provided. (Rodriguez 2017)
The more a business can cater to its visitors, the more satisfied its customer base will be, and the
more likely the customers will post about their positive experiences on social media. This is free
advertising for Bend and associates!
Culinary tourists are typically known to crave culture and authenticity from their dining experiences.
This feeling of culture and authenticity can vary – and it should. Different visitors will have different
interests, requiring a variety of atmosphere options. For instance, a quiet café can help tourists start
the day off relaxed, but a bustling diner may be more their style before they head out on a day of
exploring. Even just the interior decoration of these places can influence visitors’ decisions. To
convey a realistic view of dining locations, photos taken from the inside and with people in it can
provide a sense of atmosphere when culinary tourists are looking for places to spend their money and
have a good meal. (Getz, Robinson, Andersson, & Vujicic, 2014)
Getz, D., Robinson, R. N., Andersson, T. D., & Vujicic, S. 2014. Foodies and Food Tourism. Oxford:
Goodfellow Publishers Limited.
Mandala Research. 2013. The American Culinary Traveler Report. Mandala Research, LLC.
Retreived from http://mandalaresearch.com/wp-
Miller, C. 2017. How Instagram Is Changing Travel. National Geographic. Retrieved from
Rodriguez, V. 2017. Social Media and Tourism Marketing: A Match Made in Digital Heaven. Uhuru
Network. Retrieved from https://uhurunetwork.com/social-media-and-tourism-marketing/
A cluster sample of 54 photos posted to the Visit Bend Instagram account between August 16 to November 1, 2016
includes zero instances of food and drink (less for three appearances of drinking vessels).
By Kayla Moothart
Instagram can promote various cultural amenities such as events, music, history, and art for
tourists. Cultural amenities are a way for people to develop ideas and feelings about a place
because they are engaging in an activity within the community, engaging with people of the
community, and even learning more about themselves (Americans for the Arts, 2018). Cultural
amenities gives the sense to visitors and locals the greatness of the place they are residing in
(Project for Public Spaces, 2008). According to the Project for Public Spaces, the National Travel
Survey in 2001 showed that two-thirds of travelers include cultural amenities somewhere along
their trip. Travelers will even spend more time in a place due to cultural amenities (Project for
Public Spaces, 2008).
Tourism and the arts go hand in hand especially for those who cannot participate in the outdoor
sports and when it is the off-season. Art, specifically, draws people into the community that are
willing to spend money (Tourism & More, n.d.). That being said, there should be art for all, not just
accessible to those with the funds to enjoy such art (Tourism & More, n.d.). Tourism should help
people cultivate an experience that will leave them wanting to come back for many more visits.
Music and tourism also have more commonalities that can work together (Advance Travel &
Tourism, n.d.). When there are music festivals in the area, the surrounding city should have reasons
for the music festival goers to explore the town and promote the city. When the city tourism office
and event coordinators work together, revenue can be brought into the area even more so with
promotion of place and cultural experiences, even if it is just an evening event.
Cultural amenities provide the experience and identity to a place rather than just a photo
(Americans for the Arts, 2018). Oregon has a vast array of cultural amenities that have not
necessarily been depicted to the full extent via social media. With Instagram, the audience is
endless. If promotion of cultural amenities is done on Instagram, the audience is endless and so are
Advance Travel & Tourism. “Music’s Growing Influence on the Tourism Industry.” Accessed December 2, 2018.
Americans for the Arts. “Americans Speak Out About the Arts in New Public Opinion Poll.” Last modified September
Project for Public Spaces. “How Art Economically Benefits Cities.” Last modified December 31, 2008.
Tourism & More. “The Arts and Tourism.” Accessed December 4, 2018. http://www.tourismandmore.com/tidbits/the-
Analysis Figure 1. Percentage of sampled photos for four Instagram
accounts that included cultural amenities (art, music, etc.) in
Cultural amenities including music, them.
events, and art were analyzed in the
four different Instagram accounts. 12% Figure 2. Percentage of sampled photos for four Instagram
of the photos sampled on the Visit Eau accounts that included cultural amenities (art, music, etc) by
Claire Instagram account featured their location indoors or outdoors.
photos with cultural amenities such as
art, events, and music (Figure 1). Visit
Big Sky included cultural amenities in
9% of its photos, Visit Central Oregon
included these amenities in 4% of its
photos, and Visit Bend had the least
amount of cultural amenities in the
photos analyzed at 3%.
A majority of Instagram photos that
were analyzed had more photos of
cultural amenities in the outdoors than
indoors. Photo captions frequently
explained what was taking place and
included a link to a website to get more
information/tickets. Statuses for music
activities usually had the Instagram
account or name of the musicians
tagged on the photo or in the caption
as well to give them credit. If there was
a photo with art, there was typically an
event or trail associated with it which
then was typically addressed in the
status. Visit Eau Claire had the most
variety of cultural amenities in the
sampled photos with Visit Big Sky
following. Visit Central Oregon and
Visit Bend had about the same amount
of variety of cultural amenities.
After analyzing the photos between Photo from Visit Eau Claire Instagram page to highlight local
the Instagram pages, Visit Bend could artists in a gallery space.
incorporate more of the local artists
and musicians that are in the area. For
example, an art activity to highlight
would be the RoundAbout Art that is
all throughout Bend.
There are also other events such as
concerts on both the small and large
scale, local art galleries and artists,
and other cultural amenities that Visit
Bend could promote to bring more
tourists to the area in the off-season
as well as throughout the year since
not all people can participate in
Photo from Visit Bend Instagram page to promote an event while giving credit to the musicians on stage.
By Andrew Moen
The presence of nightlife alone is most likely not the sole reason people travel to Bend, Oregon.
However, as noted by Visit Bend’s Volunteer Coordinator and Welcome Center Assistant Manager
Valerie Warren, about 30% of people traveling to Bend partake in the Bend Ale Trail. The Bend Ale
Trail is a popular tour of the breweries in Bend, and represents the nightlife scene. In visiting Visit
Bend’s website, the promoters claim they have the “largest beer trail in the West,” and have the
most breweries per capita in the United States.
However, upon observation of Visit Bend’s Instagram, there was little promotion of the Bend Ale
Trail or any other variations of nightlife activities. Visit Bend might be missing a critical audience
due to the lack of marketing their nightlife. Atkinson et. al (2017) discuss how young people are
influenced by social media advertising of local nightlife economy, and how young consumers view
local nightlife marketing as “meaningful” and “relevant.” While Atkinson writes from the
perspective of young people interacting with brands of alcohol in the local nightlife, the same idea
could be applied when talking about marketing Bend and their breweries as “brands” (i.e. market
the brewery scene, more young people may be drawn to the area).
The importance of social media in tourism marketing has been well documented. Within the last
ten years, social media has become an important tool in marketing certain destinations in the
industry (Kavoura and Stavrianeas 2014). With regards to pictures of a tourism destination, photos
are important in attracting attention to the consumer of the image, while the images themselves
determine the marketing of said tourist destination (Wang and Sparks 2016). The whole basis of
Instagram’s platform is for profiles to share photos. The purpose of tourism-based profiles is to
market their destinations based on pictures of their area to maximize their popularity and brand
(Hanan and Putit 2017). Utilization of Instagram is important for tourist agencies because they can
market themselves as a viable tourist destination, in turn boosting traffic as well as the local
economy. Young people interact with brand accounts that promote the local nightlife, which would
also help local businesses.
In this analysis pictures from Visit Bend, Visit Central Oregon, Visit Big Sky, and Visit Eau Claire
were used to compare what kinds of nightlife activities they promote. Photos categorized under the
designation “night” and “product being promoted were viewed to visualize the kinds of nightlife or
potential nightlife being promoted.”
Manifest Analysis Two examples of potential
In analyzing the Visit Bend, Visit nightlife representations on
Central Oregon, Visit Eau Claire,
and Visit Big Sky Instagram, not the Visit Bend Instagram
many of the Instagrams
highlighted their nightlifes. Out of A graph of the total number of nightlife pictures per Instagram
the four Instagrams, Visit Eau
Claire highlighted their nightlife
the most. Out of 199 pictures
analyzed, 21 pictures were judged
to be at night, while 9 were judged
to be highlighting specifically their
nightlife. Nightlife consists of 42%
of Visit Eau Claire’s night
Instagram pictures, while around
4% of the total pictures.
Visit Central Oregon highlighted
their nightlife the second most
from our sample. Of the 188
pictures analyzed, 13 pictures
were judged to be at night, while 4
were judged to be highlighting
specifically their nightlife.
Nightlife consists of 30% of Visit
Central Oregon’s night Instagram
pictures, while around 2% of their
Visit Big Sky highlighted their nightlife the third most. Out of the 193 photos analyzed, while two
were judged to be highlighting specifically their nightlife.
Nightlife consists of 25% of Visit Big Sky’s night pictures, while around 1% of their total pictures.
Visit Bend highlighted their nightlife the least. Of the 208 pictures analyzed, 34 pictures were
judged to be at night, while 1 was judged to be highlighting specifically their nightlife. Nightlife
consists of 3% of their Visit Bend’s night pictures, while around .4% of their total pictures.
The “subject is a product being promoted” row was also analyzed to see if potential nightlife activities
were being promoted (i.e. breweries, music). Out of the 4 Instagrams, Visit Central Oregon highlighted
the nightlife most in this section. Out of the 188 pictures analyzed, 32 pictures highlighted a product
being promoted, while 8 were judged to specifically highlight potential nightlife activities.
Visit Bend highlighted the nightlife second most in this section. Out of the 208 pictures analyzed, 4
highlighted a product being promoted, while 2 were judged to specifically highlight potential nightlife
Visit Big Sky and Visit Eau Claire both had low numbers for promoting a product being sold, but
neither had photos that were categorized to specifically spotlight potential nightlife activities.
Through comparison of the total number of pictures, Visit Central Oregon had 12 pictures featuring
nightlife activities overall, while Visit Eau Claire had 9. Visit Bend had 3 pictures highlighting nightlife
activities, while Visit Big Sky had 2. Ultimately, all four Instagram accounts lack an emphasis on their
nightlife scene, however some Instagram accounts highlight them more then others.
In analyzing the Instagram accounts, it makes sense why nightlife isn’t overtly promoted in any of the
four Instagram accounts. Bend, Central Oregon, and Eau Claire are all mid-sized areas population
wise, (Big Sky has a population just over 2,000, therefore they have less to promote for their nightlife).
The draw to these areas are not nightlife traditional nightlife opportunities (i.e. dance clubs), but other
activities like breweries. It seems also seems that, and not just in Visit Bend’s Instagram, but all the
Instagram’s analyzed that traditional “nightlife” activities were promoted during the day. Activities
like attending concerts, frequenting bars or breweries were generally depicted during the day, which
might reinforce the mid-sized nature Eau Claire, Central Oregon, and Bend.
An example of breweries
promoted in Visit Central
Oregon's Instagram (left) and a
concert during that day in Visit
Bend's Instagram (right)
Another example of a concert outside in Visit Central Oregon's Instagram
With regards to Bend, it seems like there’s a small nightlife scene located in downtown, however their
downtown isn’t what is drawing people in. It seems the breweries are drawing people in, with Bend
boasting 22 breweries alone, the breweries being one of the main draws Visit Bend promotes on their
website, and Warren stating breweries account for some of Bend’s tourism (Warren 2018). However,
very little pictures on Visit Bend’s Instagram were dedicated to the promotion of their breweries or
the Bend Ale Trail. Bend’s breweries might not be considered traditional “nightlife,” considering most
close at 10:00 PM anyway. However, compared to Visit Bend’s counterpart Visit Central Oregon, Visit
Central Oregon promotes more breweries in the area. In Visit Bend’s Instagram, there could be more
pictures promoting the local brewery scene, which might promote brand loyalty, especially with
brewery brands and the Bend Ale Trail (Atkinson et. al 2017).
Atkinson, Amanda Marie et. al. 2017.An Exploration of Alcohol Advertising on Social Networking Sites: An Analysis of
Content, Interactions and Young People’s Perspectives. Addiction and Research Theory 25(2): 91-102.
Hanan, H., and N. Putit. 2013. Express Marketing of Tourism Destinations Using Instagram in Social Media Networking.
Hospitality and Tourism: 471-74.
Kavoura, Androniki and Aikaterini Stavrianeas. 2015. The Importance of Social Media on Holiday Visitors' Choices - The
Case of Athens, Greece. EuroMed Journal of Business 10(3): 360.
Wang, Ying and Beverly A. Sparks. 2016. An Eye-Tracking Study of Tourism Photo Stimuli. Journal of Travel Research 55(5):
By Haley Churchill
Tourism is heavily dependent on seasons, both natural and institutional. Natural seasonality
provides tourists with a general sense of the type of weather they are likely to experience in their
destination of choice. Weather, and thus seasons, influence tourists’ decisions of where to travel
for their vacations, particularly if they have certain recreational activities in mind like hiking or
skiing. Institutional seasonality revolves around socially constructed times of the year that people
tend to take vacations, like school-related or calendar holidays. In the United States, these
holidays tend to be concentrated in the winter, summer, and spring.
Social media plays a large role in tourism today, specifically when it comes to the likes and
comments of photos. According to a study performed by Schofields, an insurance provider based
out of the United Kingdom, forty percent of millennials base their vacation destination choice on
how “Instagrammable” the place is (Arnold 2018). The more “Instagrammable” a place is, the more
likes photos taken in these places will get, which will boost tourism due to more millennials
wanted to take “Instagrammable” photos.
In a 2007 study, Amelung et al explain that climate change has and will continue to influence
natural seasons around the world, and that this change in seasons is likely to have an impact on
where tourists decide to travel. Seasonality in general has a significant impact on tourist activities
in terms of natural and institutional seasons. Natural seasons include spring, summer, fall, and
winter and tend to revolve around weather. Institutional seasons revolve around holidays and
school breaks, which typically fall during the summer and winter. Because summer and winter
tend to be the most desirable seasons for tourist activities, environmental and community stress
is higher in these seasons. Amelung et al argue that off-seasons like spring and fall allow for both
“ecological and community recovery” (2007).
Although the main focus is on European destinations, the study extends its findings to global
tourist destinations as well. Researchers use the Tourism Climatic Index to measure how
comfortable the climates of different destinations are based on temperature, humidity,
precipitation, sunshine, and wind (Amelung et al 2007). However, the TCI does not consider the
availability of recreation and tourist activities, which means it cannot be used to determine the
level of tourism each destination receives (Amelung et al 2007). The study finds that leading up to
the year 2100, seasons across the world will shift, thus affecting the comfort of destinations’
climates. Based on the figures presented in this study, Amelung et al predict that by the 2040s, the
number of “good” months to travel to the Pacific Northwest could decline to four to six months
out of the year.
Mount Bachelor - photo provided by Visit Bend
Visit Bend displayed an inconsistent number of photographs across each of the four natural
seasons. Winter photographs were the greatest with 64 photos, followed closely by 54 summer
photographs. Photographs depicting spring and fall seasonality were significantly lacking. These
trends can be attributed to many factors, including institutional seasons and recreational tourists.
Tourists likely choose winter and summer months to travel to Bend because these are times when
people tend to have vacation time. As for recreation, Bend is located just outside of the Cascade
Mountain Range, and Visit Bend heavily advertises these mountains as prime destinations for
winter sports. The same can be said for advertising summer recreation in that Visit Bend advertises
National Parks and natural spaces in the surrounding area as quality places to hike, rock climb, or
participate in water sports.
Spring and fall are off-seasons for vacations and recreational sports. Schools do not have long
breaks for students or families to plan vacations, and there are few nationally-recognized holidays
to explain taking long vacations during these seasons. One exception is that most schools have a
spring break in March or April. However, tourist destinations during this time tend to be in warmer
climates than Bend. In addition, spring and fall do not offer as many opportunities for outdoor
activities and sports as summer and winter.
After analyzing the content of Chippewa River - photo provided by Visit Eau Claire
each tourist destination’s
Instagram photographs, Visit
Bend has the most polarity
between on-seasons and off-
seasons. Visit Bend supports the
Leave No Trace Center for
Outdoor Ethics, which is an
organization that advocates for
responsible outdoor recreation
and refraining from geotagging
natural areas on social media in
order to preserve them (Leave No
Trace n.d.). Therefore the lull in
tourism during off-seasons allows
for necessary environmental
recuperation. However, putting
more emphasis on activities
available during the fall and
spring could boost tourism during
the off-season, thus boosting the
economy in Bend. However, as
the weather associated with each
season begins to change with
climate change, natural seasons
will start to change in terms of
temperature and precipitation,
which could alter the desirable
months for tourists to travel
(Amelung et al 2017).
Leave No Trace Organization. "About Us." Accessed December 1, 2018. https://lnt.org/about
Amelung, Bas, Sarah Nicholls, and David Viner. 2007. Implications of Global Climate Change for
Tourism Flows and Seasonality. Journal of Travel Research 45(3): 285–96.
Vignettes: Making Place Promotion More Inclusive
Selected photos posted on the Visit Bend, Visit Central Oregon, Visit Big Sky, and Visit Eau Claire
Instagram accounts between 2014 and 2018. Collage produced by Rachel Roth.
By Chase Mohrman
Instagram is a powerful tool that can
be used to promote tourism and
express the civic pride and identity of a
location. In turn, media outlets such as
Instagram also shape the perceptions
of a particular place held by both
tourists and locals. It’s important to
look at the content being expressed
with a critical eye towards issues of
intersectionality. As others involved in
the content analysis have pointed out,
the bulk of VisitBend’s content
revolves around outdoor activities and
destinations. Outdoor recreation and
the National Parks system has been a
racially-influenced public space
throughout US history. This has been
extensively documented in various
academic writings. Carolyne Finney, in her book Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the
Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (2014) describes this issue:
Along with environmental organizations, environmental participation in outdoor recreation appears to
have primarily a “white” face. There have been a number of national studies over the last twenty years
that have addressed African American participation in outdoor recreation areas" (p. 26).
Finney goes on to support this claim. A 1985 study found that ninety-four percent of National
Park and National Forest visitors were white and only two percent were black. In 2002, under
three percent of the 44,000 National Forest Service employees were African American (Finney
2014, p. 5-28).
The theories for this discrepancy are many and enjoy varying degrees of acceptance. Firstly, there
is a racial wealth gap that prevents many low-income minorities from visiting parks. Additionally,
there is a geographic component to the low attendance of minorities to National Parks, as
analyzed by Weber and Sultana. For example, African Americans live predominantly in the
southeast of the country and in northern cities, and are largely absent from the rural western US
where most of the largest and most popular National Parks are located (Weber and Sultana 2012).
Thirdly, one’s relationship with nature and the outdoors varies by culture. Weber and Sultana
describe it as such, rather than freedom and fun, parks might represent servitude, hard work, and
fear of violence due to their associations with slavery and the Jim Crow era. These values are
perpetuated in magazine advertisements showing only whites in wilderness or park areas (Martin
2004). As a result, African Americans might still feel uneasiness in the wilderness. (2012)
This will become an economic land-use concern for the National Parks Service as the
demographics of the United States transition to a majority-non-white population. Given that Bend
is surrounded by National Parks, National Forests, National Grasslands, and other tourism-based
federal land it behooves Visit Bend to play a part in redressing racialized past of the Federal Land
System, while understanding that people of color are a very important future funding base.
There was a negligible representation of non-white people in all the Instagram accounts analyzed
by the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire field seminar. This is most likely due to the fact that all
locations (Bend, Central Oregon, Big Sky, and Eau Claire) are some of the whitest areas of the
country. Furthermore, the outdoor tourism promoted by these places tend to attract white people
disproportionately, due to both the socioeconomic disadvantages of non-whites and the history of
racial discrimination associated with outdoor exploration and recreation, as discussed by Finney.
These are the most dominant factors, although there may be other factors that require further
analysis, such as racial differences in Instagram use and social media habits in general. VisitBend
should strongly consider representing more non-white people in their media, both for VisitBend’s
own benefit and to redress the historic discrimination tied to outdoor recreation in the United
Finney, Carolyn. 2014. Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to
the Great Outdoors. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Weber, Joe and Selima Sultana. 2012. Why Do So Few Minority People Visit National Parks?
Visitation and the Accessibility of “America’s Best Idea”. Annals of the Association of American
Geographers 103(3): p. 437-464. https://doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2012.689240
By Rachel Roth
Gender representation in outdoor recreation tourism media
The wilderness has been dubbed a masculine space for most of American history (Weatherby
2018). As Cronon (1995) states, “the mythic frontier individualist was almost always
masculine in gender: here, in wilderness, a man could be a real man, the rugged individual he
was meant to be before civilization sapped his energy and threatened his masculinity”.
Through the late 1800’s, it was common for women to avoid venturing into the outdoors for
reasons of safety or even for fears of corruption of body and spirit (Weatherby 2018).
However, the introduction of nature and outdoor recreation tourism has aided in
degendering the wilderness.
Although more women than ever are now Women's Hike in Bend, Oregon - 04/01/2018
participating in outdoor activities, men
are still the dominant face of outdoor
recreation. Socialization forces, such as
the media, can perpetuate this trend
(Kling 2017). Gender representation in
the media has been known to not equally
present men and women since its
creation. Although much progress has
been made in western media, women are
still underrepresented, particularly in
outdoor recreation tourism media (Kling
2017). Participating in outdoor recreation
has a multitude of health and emotional benefits, so when fewer women participate in outdoor
activities, not everyone is accessing these benefits equally (Avery 2015).
Studies have proven that in traditional tourism media, women are often shown in stereotypical
roles, like visiting a spa or taking care of children (Kling 2017). When women are presented in active
roles, the roles are usually in short duration or lack physical endurance. When men are presented,
their roles are comparatively more challenging and require more strength (Kling 2017).
Additionally, men are more often presented than women in photos overall, even though both
genders travel in equal proportions. Studies have shown that women are also more likely to be
presented with a man than be presented alone. This perpetuates the stereotype that women are
necessary companions to men (Kling 2017). Ultimately, women who notice that men are more often
presented in outdoor recreation media may be dissuaded to participate themselves (King 2017).
However, in a study analyzing how women present themselves in wilderness spaces using
their personal social media accounts, opposite trends were discovered (Weatherby 2018). In
many photos, women are depicted in power poses, are shown flexing their muscles, and are
engaged in rigorous physical activity. “By actively putting themselves in these powerful and
dynamic poses, women are framing the way they see themselves in wilderness and are
changing the way others see them as well” (Weatherby 2018). Through comparing the
representation of women in outdoor recreation tourism media to the photos women post of
themselves in the outdoors on their personal social media, tourism media often misrepresents
Overall, every Instagram account the class analyzed presents more men and boys than
women and girls (Figure 1). These results align with literature suggesting that men are
presented more often than women in tourism media (Kling 2017). Figure 1 below shows the
representation of both sexes in number. The average number of total women represented is
16.75, the average number of total men represented is 24.75, and the average number of total
men and women presented together is 28.75. The largest gap between representation of sex
is Central Oregon’s Instagram account, with 11 women-only and 32 men-only presented.
However, there are 30 posts of women and men together. This aligns with literature
suggesting that, in tourism media, women are more likely to be presented with a man than be
presented alone (Kling 2017).
Figure 1. Representation by sex in among sampled Instagram posts on the Visit Bend, Visit Big Sky,
Visit Central Oregon, and Visit Eau Claire Instagram accounts.
Visit Bend’s Instagram has the smallest gap between men and women represented. Notably,
there is a photo included in the class’s sample that features a group of women who completed
a women’s hike in Bend. This is an effective way to show that Bend welcomes women hikers.
However, of the 20 posts with women-only represented, 10 feature the same woman, who is
the wife of one of the primary photographers for Visit Bend. One woman is not necessarily
representative of the diversity in the Bend community.
There were several limitations to this portion of the study. Firstly, the sex of the person
represented was difficult to identify in many photos. Some students chose to not code a sex at
all when the sex of the person was unclear, while the students analyzing Visit Oregon added
an explicit “sex unclear” coding category. Being unable to identify the sexes of some people
may have skewed the results. Due to the students having to guess each person’s sex in
general, there could be miscoding error there, too.
Avery, Mary Allen. 2015. “The Gendering of Outdoor Recreation: Women's Experiences on
Their Path to Leadership.” Master's Thesis, Texas State University. Accessed November 28,
Cronon, William. 1995. “The Trouble with Wilderness: or, Getting Back to the Wrong
Nature.” In Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. W. W. Norton &
Company, p. 69-90.
Kling, Kristin Godtman, Lusine Margaryan, and Matthias Fuchs. 2018. "(In) Equality in the
Outdoors: Gender Perspective on Recreation and Tourism Media in the Swedish
Mountains." Current Issues in Tourism. DOI: 10.1080/13683500.2018.1495698
Weatherby, Theodora, and Elizabeth Vidon. 2018. "Delegitimizing Wilderness as the Man
Cave: The Role of Social Media in Female Wilderness Empowerment." Tourist Studies Vol.
18(3): 332-352. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797618771691
Women are partaking in active outdoor persuits are commonly featured on the Visit Bend Instagram account.
By Emily Manthei
There are nearly 10.7 million LGBTQIA+ adults in the US (LGBTQ Family Fact Sheet 2017).
Yet, of all Instagram accounts and photographs sampled in this content analysis, there was no
indication of the LGBTQIA+ community by flag, persons, or otherwise. Targeting LGBTQIA+
tourists is important because many do not have children and therefore may have additional
disposable income for travel and spending while at their destination. Those that have the
opportunity to travel tend to be more ambitious and take more adventurous trips (Kutschera
2018). Bend could fit perfectly into this description. Technology, particularly social media,
allows people to more easily find travel destination that are LGBTQIA+ friendly (Kutschera
One excellent example of a city that markets itself as LGBTQIA+ friendly is Fort Lauderdale,
Florida. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau began a LGBTQIA+
focused marketing campaign in 1996 know as their “rainbow” campaign (Peltier 2015). The
term rainbow was used in tourism literature as a covert method of attracting LGBTQIA+
tourists while not abandoning established strategies of marketing to heterosexual tourists
(Peltier 2015). In 2001, Fort Lauderdale incorporated the term LGBT into marketing material
after noticing no change in LGBTQIA+ tourism rates with the rainbow campaign (Peltier
2015). Peltier states that in 2014, “the 1.5 million LGBT travelers who visited Fort Lauderdale
spent $1.5 billion compared to the city’s overall 14.3 million travelers who spent $11.4 billion”
(2015).That information is from just three years after including LGBT into tourism marketing
materials. In 2006, LGBTQIA+ tourism was projected to be worth $76.5 billion nationwide
(Robinson, Heitmann, and Dieke 2011). Focusing on LGBTQIA+ tourism has had an impact on
tourism revenues in Fort Lauderdale, as LGBTQIA+ tourists tend to spend more than others.
The managing director of this campaign, Richard Gray, says he is not taking any shortcuts like
other ad campaigns. Gray says that his advertisements feature people actually in the
LGBTQIA+ community (Peltier 2015).
Similarly, the state of California advertises itself as a LGBTQIA+ “getaway” destination. Visit
California’s website has an article featuring “6 LGBT Getaways”. The article recommends San
Francisco, Palm Springs, San Diego, West Hollywood, Laguna Beach, and Guerneville in the
Bay Area as some of the top LGBTQIA+ travel destinations in California (“6 LGBT Getaways”).
For each city, Visit California highlights unique aspects of the city along with specific places in
Bend would benefit from an increase in LGBTQIA+ tourism, and Instagram is an efficient mode
of informing members of this community of Bend's cultural and environmental amenities.
Examples of advertising include promoting the Central Oregon Pride Festival or posting
pictures from the event. In addition, following Fort Lauderdale’s precedent and making sure
individuals pictured are actually part of the LGBTQIA+ community will make these efforts more
"6 LGBT Getaways." Visit California. Accessed November 27, 2018.
Kutschera, Stephanie. “LGBTQ Tourism: Travel trends and opportunities 2018.” Trekk Blog.
May 29, 2018. Accessed November 27, 2018. https://www.trekksoft.com/en/blog/lgbtq-
"LGBTQ Family Fact Sheet." Family Equality Council. August 2017. Accessed December 4,
Peltier, Dan. "How to Improve LGBT Tourism Marketing Efforts, According to a City That
Knows." Skift. July 01, 2015. Accessed November 06, 2018.
Robinson, Peter, Sine Heitmann, and Peter Dieke, eds. "LGBT Tourism." In Research Themes for
Tourism, 218-31. Cambridge, MA: CAB International, 2011.
San Francisco Travel, the City of San Francisco's destination tourism organization, curates an Instagram account
with the handle "onlyinsf." The Only in SF account includes photos and videos that make overt references to the
city's LGBTQIA+ community, thereby promoting the city as a place that is friendly to members of this community.
Persons with Special Needs
By Kayla Moothart
Accessible tourism is allowing all people to experience and partake in activities of tourism
(United Nations, 2018). Social media is a way that those who cannot visit a place can gain
access to that area, but everyone should have the right to be able to see a place if they wish
and those who are disabled should feel encouraged through social media to visit those places.
The United Nations adopted a policy to call for countries to include access to the
environment, transportation, information, and services for people with disabilities so they can
participate equally as do others (United Nations, 2018).
For example, the Kannapolis Intimidators, a Minor League Baseball team in North
Carolina,introduced a sensory friendly space in their ballpark that provides a quiet and
calming space for children who are on the autism spectrum to can enjoy the sport while
feeling comfortable in a space free of the crowds and the noise (Minor League Baseball
Kannapolis, 2018). Barrier free travel, if marketed, can improve a travel economy because
adults in the United States who have disabilities or mobility issues spend about 13.6 billion
dollars on travelling. Physically disabled individuals in Germany were asked in a survey their
ideas of travel. Sixty percent of individuals with physical disabilities said that they would pay
more money to go places that have better accessibility for them. Then about thirty-seven
percent of individuals with disabilities do not choose to travel because there are not
accessible arrangements made, but forty-eight percent said they would travel more if there
were arrangements already made for easy access to the place of interest (Adventure Travel
News, 2013). Barrier-free travel begins to help bring people together and form welcoming
communities that are inclusive to all.
Understanding the needs of physically disabled people and implementing places that are
equally accessible to them that give them what they need to enjoy the activity or event are
extremely important. It provides physically disabled people the fundamental right they have
to see and experience a place (United Nations, 2018). The internet, especially social media, is
the way to start a barrier-free future by promoting the places all individuals can visit and
access with ease (Adventure Travel News, 2013).
Although there were no photos in any of the four Instagram pages that were analyzed that
included person(s) with a physical disability of any kind, there are personal Instagram pages that
show people with disabilities enjoying outdoor activities and travel but there are not many
destination Instagram pages that show photos of persons with disabilities. Displaying photos
with persons with disabilities as the subject can promote the place as a destination that those
with disabilities can find accessible and barrier-free activities to do.
Ten of the Best Cities in the U.S. for Wheelchair-accessible Travel
Accessible and Disability-Friendly Travel Destinations Around the World.
Adventure Travel News. 2013. “Barrier-Free Tourism: An Underrated Market With High
Growth Potential.” Last revised January 5, 2013.
Minor League Baseball. 2018. “Intimidators Announce MiLB’s First Fully Dedicated Sensory
Friendly Space.” Last revised April 2, 2018.
United Nations. 2018. “Promoting Accessible Tourism for All.” Accessed December 4, 2018.
Summary of Vignettes
By Emily Manthei, Andrew Moen, and Chase Mohrman
Outdoor activities pertaining to Visit Bend, Visit Big Sky, and Visit Central Oregon followed
consistent patterns of image marketing directed towards the alpine or mountainous
environments and the lucrative industry of skiing and snowboarding that comes with it. Visit
Eau Claire became an identifiable outlier in this section due to a difference in their climatic
region yet the page’s promotion of outdoor, event-based activities is a good model that the
other three destination marketing organizations could gain valuable insight from.
Incorporating photos of other niche outdoor activities apart from the snowy mountain tops
like, fishing, mountain biking, canoeing, picnics, and even outdoor photography ventures can
attract additional people that aren’t apart of the skiing/snowboarding community yet still want
to visit the given location. Outdoor activities is one of the the main amenities promoted on Visit
Bend’s Instagram page, which is important because it is one of the main draws in visiting Bend.
Most indoor activities revolve around food, alcohol, and art. Advertising indoor activities that
don’t relate to these things would provide tourists with things to do on days when the weather
isn’t great. It would also provide people who don’t drink with more things to do. Visit Bend
highlighted indoor activities the least out of the four Instagram accounts, which is
understandable given the local geography and the fact rainfall is scarce there.
Food and Drink
Tourists need to eat. Most tourists need recommendations for places to experience the
culinary aspects of their destinations. Promoting local businesses such as coffee shops,
wineries, restaurants, and brew pubs though the popular social media platform Instagram,
tourists can gain insight into atmosphere and experiences they may be able to have while on
their excursions. Comparatively, Visit Eau Claire promoted food and drink the most, while Visit
Bend promoted it the least. While people probably aren’t traveling to Bend for only food and
drink, local business might benefit from being promoted on Visit Bend’s Instagram.
Promotion of cultural amenities like art is important because those activities help tourists
engage with the community. Comparing the four Instagram accounts, Visit Bend promoted arts
the least. Because Visit Bend promotes arts the least, they might be missing a marketing niche
by not promoting their arts, music, and history more.
There isn’t much nightlife promotion on any of the Instagram pages sampled in this study,
however Bend has the unique opportunity to promote their breweries more. Promotion of
Bend’s breweries is important because it might develop brand loyalty, which increases the local
economy. However, there is very little brewery promotion on the Visit Bend page. More
brewery and Bend Ale Trail promotion might boost tourist visits.
Visit Bend had the most variation in photos in each season, with winter and summer having the
most photos. These seasons are the most popular for tourists, so the lack of advertisement
during off-seasons might actually be beneficial for environmental recuperation. However,
studies show that seasons are changing and will continue to do so due to the effects of climate
change, so Visit Bend might want to start advertising during off-seasons. Visit Eau Claire and
Visit Central Oregon share fairly even numbers of photos during all seasons, which may be
helping their tourism industry.
There was a negligible representation of non-white people in Visit Bend's Instagram history. It is
important for Visit Bend to represent people of color both for its own sake and to redress the
historical imbalance of outdoor recreation being primarily marketed and accessible to white
Women are generally underrepresented in media, especially in representation of outdoor
recreation. Men still dominate representation in outdoor recreation tourism media. Women are
often portrayed in stereotypical roles. Despite this, more and more women are participating in
outdoor recreation and present themselves in powerful roles on their personal social media
No LGBTQIA+ person(s) or symbols were featured in any photographs of any analyzed
accounts. Other cities have seen great results and large income influx by advertising to the
LGBTQIA+ community. Suggestions to Visit Bend include inclusion of LGBTQIA+ person(s) or
symbols in photographs.
People with Disabilities
The promotion of place on Instagram is important for drawing tourists, and representing
accessibility tourism is important because there is a market of people who want to travel, but
need special arrangements. In all of the Instagram accounts analyzed, there were zero pictures
promoting accessibility tourism, in which all four places might be missing a broad audience for
marketing their destination.
Using social media is important for the promotion of place. Social media, especially Instagram,
has grown exponentially in the last six years, with over one billion users monthly (Statista
2018). Because user engagement has grown, Instagram is a prime marketing medium that
reaches a global audience (Statista 2018).
Lots of tourism organizations seem to be capitalizing on Instagram’s popularity by creating
profiles dedicated to promoting place, which helps us geographers study tourism.
Studying tourism from a geographic lens is beneficial for tourism promoters because one of
the major themes of Geography is “place” (Pattison 1964). Place is an area of geography that
we characterize, and it is one of the focal points in geographic education at the University of
Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In relating geography to tourism, the purpose of tourism is to promote
a place for economic benefit, so it makes perfect sense to study tourism through a geographic
lens because understanding place is a main component of our discipline.
As geographers, one of the methods we use to study place is the content analysis. The
purpose of a content analysis is to both quantify cultural texts (in this case, pictures from the
Visit Bend Instagram), but also provide some qualitative analysis on why certain photos are
represented more than others (Rose 2006). As geographers, we believe using a content
analysis to understand how Visit Bend promotes their city is beneficial because we quantify
the tourism entities represented, but also provide some analysis on why certain places are
represented more than others.
Hopefully you all take our analysis of the Visit Bend’s Instagram page into consideration, we
appreciate the time and effort Valerie Warren spent in talking about her role within the
organization. Thanks for your time and consideration!
Pattison, William D. 1964."The Four Traditions of Geography." Journal of Geography: 211-16.
Rose, Gillian. 2006. “Content Analysis: What You (Think You) See.” In Visual Methodologies: An
Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. 2nd ed. 59-73. Thousand Oaks: Sage
"U.S. Population with a Social Media Profile 2018." Statista. Accessed December 12, 2018.
Appendix: Coding Data