04 November 2011
Nick Henley, media and planning director of Conrad Advertising, outlines the agency-¬™s latest research into the role played by social media in the travel and holiday research and booking process
-¬---Claims that social media plays an increasingly important role in holiday planning are often supported by statistics about the number of people using these media. Every week we hear about the number of page views on Facebook, Tweets or reviews on TripAdvisor.
Our research sought to look beyond page views and site visits and to focus specifically on the influence of the different media upon people-¬™s holiday planning and booking behaviour. We wanted to understand not just which social media people use, but how and why they use them. With better understanding and information we can make better decisions about where to allocate media investment and so improve return.
This research is highly relevant to travel marketers and advertisers as it demonstrates that whilst social media does have a part to play in the travel consumer-¬™s planning and buying process, it has a limited role and value beyond holiday review sites.
The significant role that social media plays in day-to-day social life does not appear to be replicated during the holiday planning and booking process. Only 8% of respondents said they had used Facebook in planning a holiday in the last 12 months, compared to 57% of people who use it regularly for other purposes.
Twitter is even less prevalent, with only 5% of people mentioning the site/service as having been used when planning a holiday.
Our research also produced a number of other key insights including:
- TripAdvisor is the single biggest social media used in holiday planning, with 50% of UK holiday makers using the site in some way or other. The next most relevant social media was reviews on companies-¬™ own websites, used by 35% of respondents
- 39% of people surveyed claimed that they were not influenced in any way by any one of 12 types of social media outlined
- a good easy-to-use website and brochure are much more important influences than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to planning and booking a holiday
- only 19% of respondents said that they like to receive advice and recommendations on social media from -¬---unknown others-¬~ or companies - but even so, 37% of respondents said that advice received from people other than friends and family was still likely to lead to further investigation
- holiday 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, for example other web users holiday reviews."
For more information about this research or for a copy of the full report, please email Nick Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org -¬~¨