How Does Social Media Impact on Tourism and Travel?
After the wheel, the industrial revolution and Apollo missions that changed the frontiers of human possibilities, the internet is probably the most important invention in our history. The Internet changed everything.
We are today living and working in the virtual world. We are now exchanging experiences quicker than ever before, and every segment of our lives has its virtual side. For people who lived in the middle 20th century, this is a distant future; for us – this is a reality. The internet is a tool of globalization that produced equality of labor across the globe. To gain different points of successes, both, people and industry use social network platforms to link individuals and groups with common interests. Tourism is no exception.
Shea Bennett (2012) in the text for Mediabistro website explained the impact of social media on travel and tourism. Social media made a huge impact on every major industry across the world, and the business of travel and hospitality has reaped the rewards as any other commercial venture. He concluded that social platforms allow customers to share tips and suggestions easily and that some 92 percent of customers stated that they trusted earned media. Recent studies showed that more than half of respondents changed their travel plans after researching tips on social media. Moreover, 52 percent of people have used friends Facebook holiday photos as an inspiration for their vacation choice.
Those are not surprising facts. With millions of users, social media platforms are the best choices for every company to advertise its offer, and for every traveler to obtain data needed for the journey. This impact of social media on tourism is a very interesting topic for researchers from around the world to collect precise data on the importance of this impact. In 2013, US research at Stanford University tried to measure ways people use natural areas for tourism and recreation through photo sharing site Flickr.
The Economic Times (2013) article pointed that comparing data from an on-site survey of 836 recreational sites around the world showed that Flickr information can serve as a reliable indicator of some people visit tourist attraction each year and what is the most visited part of the year. The lead author of research – Spencer Wood stated, “Information from crowd-sourced social media is revolutionizing the way we study people and understand their choices.”
Collected and analyzed data will be an indicator of a connection between social media and tourism, but also answers on what exactly attract people to some destinations (natural areas) in terms of visitation rates.
And people really love to travel, meet interesting places and foreign cultures and then present their holiday choices to the world. About 54 percent of US travelers after booking a trip immediately update social networks with related posts, showed PhoCusWright trends study, presented by Amy Chen (2013) in her article from Travel and Leisure website. The interesting fact is that interested are not only friends of travelers, but also travel companies who monitor the market. For travel companies, this is the way to improve customer services, special deals, and thoughtful surprises.
The traveler can in a few minutes add the Twitter handles of an airline, hotel and destination’s tourism board.
Impact of social media on tourism and travel is really huge. Research is showing us that the future for social media travel is quite bright. With the growth of the computer literacy rate, worldwide, social media travel record positive outcomes. The next important question is – who will be more creative in presenting the tourism offer through social media – because creative companies will reach the best results and people will use that data to plan the trip to a certain destination.
Mediabistro (2012). The Impact of social media on travel and tourism. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-media-travel-hospitality_b24679
The Economic Times (2013). Social media helps advance tourism studies. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-10-22/news/43288768_1_natural-areas-flickr-social-media.
Travel + Leisure (2013). Social media tips for travel. Retrieved June, 2013, from http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/social-media-tips-for-travel.