Summer’s around the corner and so are the holidays! We’re sure many of you are looking forward to your well-earned getaway. But before you board that plane, coach, or cruise, chances are you have already embarked on another journey around the Internet planning your vacation.
The Dreaming Stage: Getting Inspiration from Social Media
In a 2014 study commissioned by Google, 65% of leisure travellers research online before deciding to travel. This includes collecting ideas and getting inspiration from social media, such as travel blogs and vlogs during the Dreaming stage.
In the same year, Pinterest reported that a whopping 660 million pins were posted to the travel category! 52% of Facebook users also said that looking at their friends’ photos inspired their travel plans, sealing social media’s status as an invaluable source of inspiration that can influence a customer’s decision making process.
Researching and Planning: It Starts at Google
According to Deloitte UK’s Travel Consumer 2015 report, search engines are the most popular online planning source, with 57% respondents surveyed starting travel and booking processes with search.
Research also becomes more focused on two things:
- Competitive services: comparing the prices of airline tickets and hotel accommodation to find the best bargains
- Complementary services such as travel insurance and guided tours to get the most out of the their vacation
Confirming and Comparing: Trawling Forums for Information
While social media is a major source of inspiration for travellers, it’s not enough to post a status on Facebook asking for one’s friends for recommendations.
This is where platforms like TripAdvisor and Reddit travel subforums come in handy. Think of them as online discussion rooms, where people come together to share their experiences and advice on a specific destination, transportation or service. It’s also more authentic and current than travel blogs, as conversations are happening in real time as opposed to a static post that might contain outdated information or skewed views.
The Booking Stage: Are Social and Mobile the New Travel Agents?
Internet Marketing Inc. predicts that by 2018, 35% of online travel bookings will be made via mobile, and nearly 50% of hotel companies to have a booking widget on their Facebook pages. This is hardly surprising considering that social and mobile penetration have reached an all time high in recent years.