How often do you get marveled viewing the spectacular vacationing pics and videos posted by your friends in social media? How often you feel irresistible to hit the “Like” button and share those curiosity-rising posts among your circles? Perhaps, quite regularly.
Let me not put up the stats of social media engaged population which is swelling every second shooting the popularity graph of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, tumblr to unimaginable levels. With the booming tourism sector and the changing demography of travelers, social media is playing an important role in vacation planning and decision making.
A research conducted by Redshift Research has come up with few interesting stats:
· About 1/5th of the global leisure travelers turn to social media channels to derive inspiration for their travel planning in different categories as follows:
– Hotels (23%)
– Vacation activities (22%)
– Attractions (21%)
– Restaurants (17%)
· Of all social media channels, Facebook continues to top the list regarding traveler search and audience engagement. A research says that about 70% update their Facebook status while on vacation.
One thing is sure it is the travel industry that has been reaping the maximum benefits from the swelling social media culture. 50% of travel companies surveyed admitted the role of social media in generating direct bookings.
They get instant updates about the recent traveling trends through smart in-built tools and come up with more attractive vacationing options and features greatly influencing the travelers’ psyche.
But this is not all. People engaged in social media are greatly swayed by the regular postings and updates from their friends and relatives, which affects their decision making to a great extent.
The survey goes on to reveal that:
· 52% of travelers changed their previous touring plans based on social media postings.
· 33% decided to change their hotel preferences.
· 10% switched to other resorts.
· 10% even changed their agents/providers and websites to get better valued packages.
· 7% chose to tour in a different country
· 5% shifted their airline preferences as well.
Recent traveler habits reveal that most tourists book their flights to travel destinations through social media sites like facebook, Twitter, instagram etc. People have multiple social media accounts and their range of exploration unarguably is quite vast. Travel companies too prefer customers booking tickets through social media in which case they proffer special benefits to the customers.
Social media tools and apps leading the change:
Social media has entirely metamorphosed the tourism industry by bringing it closer to the public by a plethora of information tools like check-ins, status updates, selfies and many other ways exposing the traveler to innumerable options.
The free apps offers countless options of real-time postings as a tourist gets to experience new things in a new destination. The excitement is not confined within him/her but is being spread to many.
Social media is sharing experience not mere information:
Widespread use of internet has caused the world to shrink by making things easier for travel both domestic and international. It helps the travelers in a big way by offering them significant pieces of information relevant to their choice.
But what web portals most often fail is to share the experience which social media platforms do much effectively. Travelers exchange their valued information and experience both sweet and bitter, which spread in a flash of seconds. People grab these as the ultimate source of authentication and decide their traveling plans accordingly.
The best thing in social media sharing is that there is always someone at anytime of the day to ask anything and there is always someone to comment on it. The running string of comments sums up the entire experience of the traveler allowing others to make an informed decision about the destination or hotel or resort.
Social media posts are not only rich in text but are also adorned with spectacular pics and videos, thanks to the latest android based cams. These presentations uploaded on real-time basis create magical waves among the friends and followers.
These contain almost every bit of experience like how beautiful the place is, the expenditure profile, the mode of transport they have chosen, the type of hotels they had checked in, the kind of food they enjoyed and what not?
And who doesn’t know, in travel, it is these experiences that sell more. This is an unarguable truth which the tourism industry has realized it well. Today, will you find any travel/tourism/hospitality provider not engaged with social media platforms? Surely not.
These platforms are also serving as a sort of public forum where tourists interact and even lodge complaints in case they had not been served well on a trip.
Likes and shares are great inspirers:
Recently, one of my friends shared a video of an exotic destination which showed how he enjoyed various site seeing and other fun filling activities. Within minutes of posting, this video earned more than 100 likes and shares and was flooded with comments and queries about the destination and resort. This clearly shows how the prospective travelers value such social media postings.
If you have liked or searched anything related to a destination, you get to see a long list attractive ads and posts whenever you log in to your social media account. No doubt, Facebook rules the roost here too.
Unraveling the lesser known destinations:
This is another great contribution of social media where it lures the travelers to visit less trodden exotic destinations, which is the trend now-a-days. Places which were unknown or appeared inaccessible due to their remote locations and other logistic factors might have just come to your doorstep through some social media postings.
Who knows someday some interesting travel posts on social media may arouse your wanderlust spirit and compel you to taste the excitement of exploring an unknown destination.