How a Swiss hotel pool made a global splash

Stunning views over Lake Lucerne and surrounding mountains in central Switzerland. Villa Honegg

A short Instagram clip by a Brazilian travel blogger that paints Switzerland’s mountains in a dramatically stunning light has gone viral. A coincidence? Not quite.

Philipp Meier,

The video begins unspectacularly. And that’s an important part of its success. After an unremarkable shot of someone stepping into the new pool at the Hotel Honegg over Lake Lucerne, the viewer’s attention is grabbed by the range of mountains in the distance, and for a short moment the pool appears to become part of the lake way down in the valley.

It’s always easier to explain why something has gone viral after it has done so. For example, the Pokémon Go clip by Basel Tourism that generated great interest around the world. The post by was clicked on 30 million times on the Chinese social media platform Weibo alone.

But why is that so important? Why do marketing professionals strive so hard for a viral success? And why, despite so much effort, do relatively few actually go viral?

Many branches are going through a fundamental shift. Connected to this, one often hears the terms “digitalisation” and “disruption”. The trigger of this upheaval is the mobile internet, especially with access to smartphones but increasingly connected to digital chips in objects, devices and machines.

This rapid development has resulted in the disappearance of countless old business models, means of communication, brands and institutions. It’s not just the media or the taxi industry that have been affected (by Buzzfeed and Uber, for example), but also tourism.

With the mobile web boom, within a few years many travel agencies and agents disappeared – along with the popular travel prospectuses they offered. And so, just as we journalists have to think about how and where to reach people with our content, travel destinations and hotels have had to come up with new ways of making themselves known.

This is why tourist regions stopped inviting only traditional journalists long ago. Now, they target so-called influencers or opinion leaders. These people are often completely unknown to a wider public, but they move in niche communities and spread certain opinions with great credibility. Faced with often interchangeable and impersonal brands, these influencers stand out as people and therefore come across as more authentic.

There’s also the fact that the clip by the travel blogger doesn’t appear to be professional: the picture quality is relatively modest and the camera wobbles a fair bit.

Ultimately what counts is the credibility of the small and large influencers. And in this context, friends’ holiday photos on Facebook and Instagram are not to be underestimated.

According to, every year Lucerne Tourism, with Swiss Tourism, invites 700 journalists and travel bloggers. If the viral hits were the only things that counted, this expense would never be worth it.

Which, by the way, is typical for the clip shot by the Brazilian travel blogger: the Swiss landscape is a huge star around the world on social media – especially on Instagram. Not for nothing is the landscape one of the most successful subjects of Swiss Instagrammers with the most followers.

Give global Switzerland a face! Label your Instagram photos with the hashtag #WeAreSwissAbroad. Here at, we’re eager to showcase you and your experiences in the form of portraits, videos and anecdotes. We’ll repost a selection of them via our Instagram account. We hope to meet lots of interesting Swiss citizens abroad while browsing the #WeAreSwissAbroad stream!

Where do you get inspiration for your travels? Send us your comments.

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