From looking to booking: how social media is taking over tourism

Travel October 4, 2018

john

Featured in the Telegraph and on BBC Radio 

A wise man once tweeted: “pics or it didn’t happen.”

And nowhere is this mantra more evident than the social media feeds of travel fanatics.

Log onto your own channels and it often seems like everyone is holidaying 24/7, 365. Then you’ve got the strange, sun-soaked world of vloggers and Instagram influencers (#vanlife, #hotdogsorlegs). And then, of course, there’s more high-definition, #nofilter pics of mountains, oceans, deserts and yoga retreats than anyone could ever need.

But is social media impacting how we travel?

In short, yes. So much so that this year’s World Tourism Day was dedicated to that very topic.

Also, we did a whole report on it. It’s called Travel for the Gram and you can read it in full by clicking here. Or, you can read all about it on the Telegraph’s website

Or, you can read on and we’ll give you a summary ourselves.

23% of UK adults will search potential holiday destinations on social media.

23% of UK adults will search potential holiday destinations on social media.

So, is social media impacting where we go?

Big time.

Where once we might flick through the travel pages, ask a travel agent or, long, long ago, look on teletext (millennials, ask your parents) to decide where to holiday, now many of us head to our social channels for inspiration.

23% of UK adults will search potential holiday destinations on social media, with 16% using actual associated hashtags (think #fullmoonparty2k18 or #mardigras or #Guernseyflowerfestival).

23% agree that travel bloggers and influencers inspire their holiday choices, while 18% of people have actually booked a holiday because of things they’ve seen on social media.

And in a warning to Wi-Fi-free resorts, 15% of people say they wouldn’t go to a destination if they weren’t able to use social media while there.

15% of people say they wouldn’t go to a destination if they weren’t able to use social media while there

15% of people say they wouldn’t go to a destination if they weren’t able to use social media while there

Marcus, WeSwap User

Marcus, WeSwap User

What do WeSwap users think?

“My partner and I love going to places that are off the beaten track. When researching our holidays, we find that search engines often display the most popular sights, meaning we might miss a hidden gem. Social media allows us to keep up with travel bloggers that have similar interests to us and get ideas for our next holiday.” 

 

Is social media impacting what we do while we’re there?

20% (6.3 million) of the nation say the ability to post beautiful images and videos when they are on holiday influences where they travel to

20% (6.3 million) of the nation say the ability to post beautiful images and videos when they are on holiday influences where they travel to.

Yep.

Sharing the holiday with friends, family and followers online seems a pretty big part of people’s holidays these days. 37% of people want to share their holiday experiences online and 16% of people said that posting pictures online is just as important as the holiday itself.

When it comes to recommendations, 17% of UK holidaymakers trust social media over magazines, television and TripAdvisor reviews.

 

Mercedes, WeSwap User

Mercedes, WeSwap User

What do WeSwap users think?

“Although I don’t use social media to figure out the destination of my holiday, I definitely turn to Twitter and Instagram for inspiration on what to do when I am there. The community of people online, whether they are travel bloggers or not, allow me to see where the best places to visit on a city break are. For sightseeing holidays and city breaks, social media is a great source of knowledge. However, if I am going on holiday somewhere relaxing, where I will be sat by the pool all day, I hardly ever reach for my phone except for the obligatory pool-side selfie.” 

Whose holidays are most influenced by social media?

Unsurprisingly, it’s the millennials. The 18-34 year olds.  Our report showed that there was often an almost 20% rise in how many millennials felt their holidays were shaped by social media.

37% (11.5 million) of people want to share beautiful or important holiday experiences online. This rises to 61% for 18-34 year olds.

37% (11.5 million) of people want to share
beautiful or important holiday experiences
online. This rises to 61% for 18-34s.

How has social media influence how you holiday? Let us know in the comments section below.

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