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The influence of social media in travel may be overstated, or so says Directline Holidays after commissioning a study to understand what inspires consumers when choosing a destination.
The study of 500 UK travellers found out that less than 1% of people use social media when looking for inspiration when selecting a destination for their annual trip.
Family members came out on top, according to the survey, with 30% of respondents citing it as an influential source.
Friends accounted for 12%, while general web content featured in just 10% of the minds of those in the study, carried out for Directline by One Poll in June this year.
Traditional media (newspapers, TV and magazines) grabbed 13% between them and 7% relied on work colleagues.
Directline CEO Maria Whiteman says the results are “intriguing” as many consumers “still prefer a personal recommendation” despite the importance of sites such as TripAdvisor.
“While only a small percentage admit to being swayed by social media, it may be that some of our respondents have been unconsciously influenced when making a decision about what product to purchase.
“Other internal statistics do show that bookings definitely emerge from customers clicking through from other websites but our research shows that the influence of social media may be overstated.”
Such research flies in the face of countless other studies, not least this recent piece which indicated that over half (52%) of consumers use social media for inspiration about destinations.
Ironically, Directline made a fair bit of noise about a partnership with TripAdvisor in the summer of 2010 when user reviews were added to the online travel agency’s hotel pages.
But, compared to other UK travel brands, it’s presence in various social media channels is low-key – the company currently has just over 3,000 followers on Twitter and 6,200 fans on Facebook.
NB: Dislike image via Shutterstock.
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