City Cruises

Published on Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Social media: not all it's cracked up to be

With all the widespread hoopla over its fast-growing influence, those who dismiss social media might as well express heresy at a religious convention.

But according to a report by Conrad Advertising, it might not be as influential as many have been predicting.

Its study, Mapping the Travel Mind - The Influence Of Social Media, in association with YouGov, found that while travelers pay attention to social media ratings, they are not slavishly following their recommendations.

Some key findings were:

---A single negative review would only definitely stop 11% of people from booking a hotel of interest to them. An amazing 82% said they would investigate further.

---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.

---Holiday-goers 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%).

The UK-based Conrad concludes that social media influence might be less important than we think.

The group also concludes that Facebook and Twitter influence do not extend to travel.

"The role that Facebook and Twitter play in day-to-day social life does not appear to be replicated during the holiday planning and booking process," the study found.

Travelers did say that they value the recommendations and advice of friends and family (61%) more than those of unknown web users or companies when using social media (19%).

"This qualitative benefit should not be ignored, but the findings suggest that few people have actually used or benefited from this potential source of advice," the study concluded.

By David Wilkening

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