A woman overlooking the window in Paris with the caption "Current mood" gets more than 50,000 likes and 500 comments. The young lady pictured gets US$1,000 plus three free nights (plus flights) at the hotel she includes in the picture. This is the world of travel influencers.
Tourism trends are heavily shaped by influencer marketing within the travel world. The relatability users experience as they scroll through their favorite influencers' feeds and see their envy-inducing experiences fuels wanderlust. According to Forbes, Instagram is the guide when it comes to the decisions that millennials make when choosing travel destinations.
We have covered some studies on the effects of social media on travel:
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts divulges the InterContinental ICons Research Study, an analysis of a global survey of 7,083 respondents and a social media audit of seven markets across the world: London, New York, Dubai, Paris, Mexico City, Shanghai and Sydney.
According to the study, there is an increased continued focus on social media for travel inspiration as well as gratification for posting on the 'Gram while traveling. The most desired option is the desire to experience each city like a local, yet global luxury travelers also feel that they need to experience the "must-see" or most popular sites in each place and largely miss out on the true depth and culture of each place they visit.
Thirty-nine percent of global luxury travelers are said to put more focus on social media when traveling in 2020, while 55% of luxury travelers believe capturing social media content on destinations increases their ability to have a meaningful experience. 77% of global luxury travelers feel that they're supposed to see the most popular sites. Meanwhile, 75% of global luxury travelers wish they could experience each city like a well-informed local. 46% of luxury travelers globally believe visitors see some of the best of the city, but there are certain sights and experiences that they miss out on. Four in ten luxury travelers globally believe that social media posts from people who visit their home city do not necessarily reflect the depth and culture that exists there.
One of the oldest travel companies, Cox & Kings, included in their travel trends for 2019 that millennials travel to influence. Millennials are more likely to make their travel decisions based on the travel posts of their peers on social media because social media is a more authentic source of information. The best travel stories through photos and videos are curated to inspire their circle of friends and colleagues to take up travel.
Meanwhile, 0.75% of bookings made for independent hotels and B&Bs originate from social media - compared to 74% of bookings which emanate from travel websites and OTA's, said data from a study for independent hotels and B&Bs by Eviivoonly.
According to travel blogger Kate McCulley who blogs at AdventurousKate.com, she wants to see influencers branching out more and not going to the same destinations. She adds that mainly because of Instagram, over-tourism is happening in places like Iceland, Bali, and Barcelona.
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