Belmond has introduced a new Instagram function as it looks to capitalise on its “higher than ever” social engagement.

The brand has launched the ‘Travel Dreams’ feature – an augmented reality filter which will allow users to place themselves in a scene from one of Belmond’s hotels, trains and boats.

Arnaud Champenois, senior vice president of marketing and brand, said he believed Belmond was the first luxury travel brand using the function on the social media platform.

He said: “This is designed to engage all our followers around the world in the virtual world of Belmond. With Instagram being the new Lonely Planet – a place people go for travel inspiration, we wanted to create a very playful way to keep the dream alive.”

Followers can download the ‘add-on’ and a randomised filter photos them in Belmond properties around the globe.

The new features comes as the brand gets ready to re-open several properties. Italian hotels Belmond Hotel Splendido and Hotel Cipriani will report on June 19 and the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will resume operations on July 8.

Among the next properties to open will be Belmond Charleston Place on June 25; Belmond Hotel Caruso and Grand Hotel Timeo on July 1; Belmond Cadogan Hotel on July 4; and Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons on July 14.

Champenois said that during the lockdown period the brand had worked hard to ensure it was able to connect with guests and showcase Belmond’s array of experiences. The brand has been sharing cookery workshops with Raymond Blanc, poetry readings, bouquet making and musical performances.

He said the lockdown period had unleashed “lots of creativity” among his marketing and branding team.

He said: “Until our guests can travel again with us we decided that somehow we needed to travel to our guests and thanks to the power of social media to bring Belmond to the comfort of their homes. We were one of the first brands to host events on Instagram TV and we bring our experiences online.

“Home entertainment has brought a bit of ‘me time’ to everybody and our brand has become a little BBC – the Belmond broadcast company. I think the desire for culture, nature and entertainment will grow and we wanted to play a role to continue inspiring global travel around the world.

“Through social media, we wanted to make sure our exceptional experiences could reach a lot of people. I believe that especially now, the world needs a bit of fantasy, Belmond fantasy – some joyful escapism and we will keep going.”

He added: “What is important is that since lockdown, we have really seen incredible engagement – higher than ever and this is really important for us because it’s helped us to democratise the brand and helped us to grow followers who share a passion for travel.”

Belmond had already launched the Belmond Care Package, a digital guide providing tips on wellness and wellbeing.

He said the brand was also working on a short film which he described as a “love letter to Italy”. The film will be unveiled at the beginning of June.

Earlier this month, Belmond introduced the Belmond Tomorrow Time Pass, aiming to encourage guests to buy vouchers for future travel. The vouchers have no expiration date and Belmond tops up the vouchers with an extra 20%.