2 December 2015
The role of social media in the tourism industry.
A new report from VisitBritain has revealed the role that social media has to play in the context of holidays. The use of social media has become much more accessible over the past ten years and has provided holiday-makers and the hospitality industry with opportunities to engage directly with each other at all stages of the holiday experience.
The research commissioned by VisitBritain studied four markets including the USA, Germany, India and South Korea to show the role of social media in overseas travel. The study highlighted that the most commonly used platform was Facebook in all stages of a holiday process. Content posted by holiday-makers onto their social media platforms was deemed to be more motivating and encouraging for other users looking to holiday in certain destinations, compared to professional posts direct from businesses in the destination.
The study also revealed that while professional content was appreciated by users, reviews and advice from recent holiday-makers were found to be more useful. The use of social media while on holiday is high with 67 per cent of the study’s respondents saying that they had logged on to social media while on a foreign holiday.
The study found that 39 per cent of holiday-makers logged onto social media while on holiday to keep in touch with family and friends and 35 per cent of users to upload their holiday images. Only 16 per cent of holiday-makers went on social media to share their own advice or recommendations.
The most popular device used to access social media on holiday is with a Smartphone; however other devices including laptops and tablets are also commonly used. These findings show that it is important to have content that is optimised to work on all devices as 64 per cent of respondents said that they would leave a website if it did not work properly on their chosen device.
The results also show that having readily available and free Wi-Fi was high up on the agenda when choosing places to stay, eat and drink with 82 per cent of the respondents saying free Wi-Fi would encourage them to book or visit.
Social media is proving to be beneficial in promoting the industry and with continued engagement with audiences and the right encouragement, Britain will move from a ‘travel to soon’ to a ‘travel to now’ destination.