- Instagram's mission, being owned by Facebook, is to " “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” A travel product would make sense vis-a-vis bringing the world closer together.
- Instagram has a lot of content from around the world that is usually geo-tagged. A travel product (again, without getting into what that means precisely yet) is feasible.
I'd start by asking more about what the interviewer has in mind. If this is just a broad question with no additional details, here's how I'd approach it.
Instagram users are probably 18-40 year olds, tech savvy (must at least have a smartphone and camera). This profile overlaps with the type of user who travels (whether for business or pleasure) a lot. One persona would be Sam the salesman who travels all over the country for work and likes to stay at local establishments, and eat at local restaurant; he loves posting food photos on Instagram. Another might be Taylor the techie, she is young, with no kids and loves traveling and meeting new people at her destinations. Third persona would be Larry the local business owner who is already on Instagram posting a lot of content about his local bicycle renting business.
Of these three personas I'd focus on Taylor since a business-facing product would likely require more resources before getting a signal and I feel a lot of Sam's needs might be answered by a solution built for Taylor. She is also very active on the platform so we can quickly get feedback about the product/features we build.
I will now list some ideas for products, contrast them with existing products and the gaps they do not fill.
- The ability to reach out to an Instagram user who posted content tagged nearby, whether or not you follow that user.
- A feature that shows events happening nearby which have been promoted on Instagram recently
- A feature to find local Instagram users who have a similar profile to you (age, hobbies, etc.)
- A feature allowing user to create some signal that she is interested in meeting new people in this city
Some existing products that come to mind are Eventbrite for finding local events (limitation - mostly organized events, just going out for a drink with some locals is unlikely to be an "event"), TripAdvisor (mostly reviews after the fact), Tinder (must be in location at the time, dating/sexual context, only 1:1).
#1 above is already possible via a DM, #2 is interesting but would require some engineering work and is dependent on users providing enough details for Instagram to understand it's an event, where it is, when it is scheduled etc., #3 raises the privacy alert and requires very careful planning, #4 is interesting and different, has a casual vibe to it and is relatively low lift.
In summary, I would build a travel product on Instagram aimed at helping travelers meet locals when they travel. I'd focus on a couple of features that are easy to test and similar to existing behavior such as adding templates to DMs if the user is nearby and adding a checkmark option indicating user is looking to meet new people locally when user posts a photo (or Story) that s/he is in a specific town/place.