#hashtags for tourism businesses

What the # are they?

hash·tag: A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message on social media sites to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it.

They are how people search, collect and curate information in Facebook, instagram, twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

They were first used by Chris Messina, a former Goole employee in 2007 – they took a while to catch on, but now they are used everywhere.

Chris Messina hashtag post

They are a way to get your posts found by other people & find what other people are posting about you.

In instagram you can search for all the images with the tag #visitshellharbour – there are 261 posts.


So how do you use a hashtag?

It’s as simple as adding the ‘#’ symbol before a word or phrase in your social media posts.


Image: IG/Australia

There is no set list of #hashtags and you don’t need to register one anywhere. You can create your own simply by putting the has before a word or a series of words.

There are a few guidelines to know about:

  • Spaces are a no-no! If your hashtag contains multiple words group them all together like #visitshellharbour or you can use caps to differentiate between words (#VisitShellharbour). Using uppercase won’t alter the search results
  • Numbers are supported, but punctuation marks and special characters are not, so leave out the ! , * & .

When using hashtags you will want to make sure they are:

  • Simple
  • Relevant
  • Specific and provide
  • Context

For tourism businesses, destination (#visitnsw) and activity specific (#whaleon) hashtags are more effective than generic hashtags (#family).

You can use a combination of both, just make sure they are relevant to your post.

Don’t #hashtag #bomb #berestrained & #relevant

What #hashtags should you use?

Try your destination hashtag and the hashtags of Destination NSW and Tourism Australia, then create a tag for your business. Here’s a few to get you started



#restaurantaustralia (that’s Tourism Australia’s food & wine campaign’s hashtag)







# ‘insertyourbusinessnamehere’

Tourism Australia and Destination NSW curate their social media content. This means they are searching for content that they can share – using their hashtags will make you more likely to be found by them and shared to their millions of fans!


Keep in mind that the @ symbol does something completely different.

Using @ before a person’s Twitter or Instagram handle will let them know you have posted about them.

Using @ before a facebook page name (@shellharbour)will create a link to that facebook page in your post and is a great way to promote other business and experiences within your destination.

A hashtag will not. A hashtag just makes your post searchable. You can use both a hashtag and a tag in a post like this one from @Australia

tags and hashtags

Using hashtags is simple and an effective way of grouping together content for your destination.

Everyone using the same hashtag in their posts, across all social media platforms, increases the amount of searchable content.

So what are you waiting for, choose your hashtags and start posting!