by Nena Pascariu
The usage of Social Media has become an integral part of our society. On average, every internet user has more than seven Social Media accounts. This fact is reflected in the time we spend on Social Media, which was in 2017 according to Statista 135 minutes per day. Statistics show that in this over two hours on Social Media we are not only interested in our friend’s activities, but also just to be informed and entertained. Pictures and posts of travelling satisfy all these reasons by keeping us entertained and inspired by places all over the world. That’s why Instagram is used by around 40% for checking out pictures to certain themes as travelling. So how does this intense use of Social Media and these impressions of staging beautiful places from all over the world influence our choices and opinions about travel destinations?
A study from Im Focus Spezial shows that the most used channels for planning a trip are rating portals and networks on the internet, followed by blogs. Travel agencies or travel guides play a subordinate role by gathering information about the next trip. This shows the importance of Social Media in forming opinions about travel destinations, and the trend lies in a more intensive usage.
Another blog focuses on Instagram as a leader Social Media platform for travel pictures. It emphasizes the importance of the “#” by searching for travel destinations. With this option you can inspire yourself by different places and get an impression of the real time situation there. The main factor for inspirations on Social Media you get from friends or family, not from the agencies themselves. It turns out that the users are not primary interested in the activities they can do there, it’s more about the location itself, special moments and culture. Also travel influencer are getting more and more important by their range of followers. It can be stated that Social Media plays an active role in gathering information and planning a trip. The aim of my research is to put the focus on the choice people make for their travel destination based on Social Media posts.
A conflict that could arise in my research is that the travel pictures are just a showing off of places that may not look like this in real. For example a place where it rains most of the time and a picture was taken by an influencer on that one only day in months without rain. Without further information about that spot you would consider to check that place out and be disappointed.
In my point of view Social Media has unconsciously a bigger impact on our tourism behavior than we are aware of. Every day we are flooded with impressions in all sorts of ways and that builds an opinion about places in our mind. You might consider to travel to a little island in the middle of the ocean, you have maybe never heard about it before but now as you saw a post of your favourite influencer it becomes a must.
So what about you, does Social Media play an active role in your travel choice? Have you ever got inspired by your friends post from their holidays?