Home Social Media Gains Ground on Travel Experts

Social Media Gains Ground on Travel Experts

Peer recommendations have overtaken specialist knowledge as a make-or-break point for online purchases. A new study shows the same process is taking place in travel, and even within the online sphere peer-to-peer reviews have more heft than the authority of travel experts.

The study, by World Travel Market, in advance of this month’s conference in London, found that social media is still not a majority tool in planning and making travel purchases, but that it is a factor. Further, recommendations that come from a peer process are more influential than those that come from experts.

The study surveyed 1,000 British travelers who had taken a trip in 2010.

According to Kevin May at the tnooz blog, the proportion of those who used social media to plan or purchase versus those who did not was about 36% to 64%. Not a majority, but a healthy minority.

The most interesting conclusion to this study was on the nature of authority when it comes to the truths of travel. 28% of those who used social media consulted forums and chat rooms, where peers talked about their personal experiences with destinations, airlines and hotels. Only 9% of social media travelers consulted travel blogs, run by either professional or amateur experts.

Among the study’s other conclusions:

  • The most popular networks consulted for travel were TripAdvisor, 66%; Facebook, 34%; YouTube, 20%; and Twitter, 17%
  • 48% of respondents intended to use social media to plan their next trip; about 25% said they would not
  • 35% of social media users wound up booking a different hotel after vetting that decision via social media
  • 15% changed their destination, airline or travel agency/tour company after consulting social media

Story via Jean-Luc Raymond | rose window photo by kokorowashinjin

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