How social media is influencing travel decisions
Travel brochures and adverts in newspapers were once the only means of enticing people to travel, but not anymore.
As social media advances, it's users are actually leaning on posts, whether from their close-knit group or influencers, to inspire their next travel adventure. Nowadays, a single post about a beach getaway is enough to fuel the wanderlust in anyone. Knowing that other people have enjoyed an experience is more than enough reason for travellers to plan one themselves.
Natalia Rose, the director of Big Ambitions in South Africa, believes social media has opened a platform for bloggers and influencers to showcase destinations to their legion of followers.
“With social media growing by the day, people who travel to different destinations share their adventures with their followers. This, in turn, inspires people to want to experience the destination almost the same way their influencers have,” she said.
Rosa said with the influx of posts on social media, users have no choice but to consume the media. Often, those posts lead to people booking a holiday.
“The travel menu online is vast and there are lots of content to choose from. Social media platforms like Instagram filters content for individuals according to their online behaviour,” she said.
Travel influencer Jared Ruttenberg, famous for his @jaredincpt social media account, said social media had opened the door for him to share his travels. He was recently invited as a media influencer to join TV travel host and tour guide Gerrie Pretorius on one of his Botswana trips. His social media posts from the trip garnered over 100 000 views on various platforms within just a few days.
“As a travel influencer, I am continually profiling places and spaces. I recently asked my 43 000 followers on Instagram whether they had gone to a place that I had recommended. Around 68 percent said they did.
“Those stats serve as a powerful reminder of the potential social media has,” he said.
Conrad Travis David, Founder and Managing Director of Hashtag SA, a digital media technology company, said with the increase of travel also comes the demand for more flights, accommodations and activities of a particular destination.
“When people are attracted to a particular destination, they tend to plan their holidays centred on what they had seen on social media.
“This has a big impact on tourism in that particular destination as it means more travellers want to visit,” he said.