How much influence does social media really have?

Social media influence on travel might be less important than believed, according to a survey presented by EyeforTravel, a media company that specializes in business intelligence for the travel and tourism industries. A survey of 2,100 people in the U.K. shows only 8% of online adults who have taken a holiday (vacation) in the past year have discussed their holidays or read other people’s advice and recommendations on Facebook. This compares to 57% of all online adults who use Facebook each week.

Survey respondents report few social media conversations and exchanges concerning holiday planning over a 12-month period with one big exception – comparing holiday and destination alternatives.

The key findings of “Mapping the Travel Mind – The Influence Of Social Media” by Conrad Advertising, in association with YouGov:

  • Holiday (vacation) reviews are by far the most important type of social media content used when planning a holiday, with 58% of people agreeing they are the most important source of independent advice available; 32% of people who have been on holiday abroad in the last 12 months say they have been influenced by independent travel reviews on their choice of booking.
  • A negative review would only definitely stop 11% of people from booking a hotel in which they are interested; a further 82% would investigate further and may still book.
  • Advice and recommendations from unknown web users or companies, while not liked (only 19% of respondents who have been on holiday abroad in the last 12 months say they like to receive such advice from these parties), is likely to create further investigation by 37% of people.
  • Holidaymakers using social media sites or services do not talk about prices and offers that much (only 20% of holiday makers mention this as a topic) whereas holiday destination and hotel are discussed over twice as frequently (43%).
  • Social media content including photographs (43%) is most frequently used by people who have talked about/read about or been offered advice about holidays and travel on social media sites. This seems particularly important for those people who take specialized or more unusual holidays.
  • Word-of-mouth (26%), a good, easy-to-use website (24%) and holiday brochures (23%) are the most important influences on people’s decisions when planning and booking a holiday.

TripAdvisor is mentioned by 37% of people in the survey.