I love my apps – Facebook, WhatsApp, assorted Messengers – and they dominate my waking hours! No wonder social media has emerged as a pervasive digital phenomenon with millions of participants across the globe. The various avatars of social media include video sharing platforms, photo sharing services, microblogging sites, and comment and opinion platforms that have entered the mainstream; now they are a threat to traditional electronic and broadcast media.
I think, in the present day, certain aspects of social media have moulded our perceptions – of travel, for instance… the very notion of travel and the various modes of planning travel itineraries. Thanks to social media and its expansive outreach, we, as a species, stand far more exposed to travel destinations and the wonderful sights, sounds, and experiences that await.
Surfing through the Internet, I found market research that indicates digital mobility has combined with social media platforms to transform leisure and business travel practices. An estimated 85% of leisure travellers now use smartphones and connected tablets to plan and execute holiday travel itineraries.
I pondered a bit and realized this trend stems from the fact that the travel industry is actively working to woo travellers through digital interfaces; these include mobile apps, online ads, electronic coupons, and website-borne traveller reviews. The average citizen is widely exposed to visually attractive content via these interfaces and wishes to participate in the great get-away!
Digital advertising campaigns further reinforce the close connections between social media and modern commerce. I noticed that travel-centric businesses often advertise their services and special offers on social media platforms to capture the viewer’s attention. This form of commercial interaction gains impetus when social media users digitally share advertised information with friends and associates. Advertisements that carry alluring images and video clips of remote holiday destinations often gain higher levels of online traction. Small wonder my cousins created a WhatsApp group to brainstorm future travel plans!
Let’s face it – for the average citizen, social media has enabled unprecedented access to the opinions, views, narratives, and travel experiences of their friends, associates, co-workers, and social acquaintances.
Research indicates that a significant number of users share travel-related content and post vacation images on social media. These actions trigger new travel ideas that coalesce into travel plans customized for individual travellers and those working to build group travel itineraries. Photos and comments allow the new-age traveller to share their experiences; these people act as influencers for modern Internet-borne audiences!
The visual medium continues to fascinate the human race. I am no exception – and the observer in me realizes that user-generated content has emerged as a shining source of inspiration for modern travellers. A cursory analysis of online photo sharing services offers the best insights into how social media affects contemporary travel ideas and plans.
These days, travellers invariably click travel photographs on smartphones and upload these on social media. They may attach brief comments about their travel experiences. I am convinced these images and commentary provide the proverbial fodder for online viewers and general audiences to plan and make budgets for similar itineraries at various exotic locales. In addition, the fear-of-missing-out phenomenon plays a significant role as a trigger for such actions. In light of this, I think social media acts as an enabler for the modern travel industry.
Social media – when mated with the core impulse of commerce – dominates the mental landscape of the aspiring traveller. Social media feeds play an important role in shaping certain actions related to modern travel. New travel operators may feature on the social media feeds of millions of users in a bid to raise awareness. We may say that social media feeds represent the new billboards that pepper the highways of digital commerce.
If you are also heavily dependent on your smartphones and laptops for our travel plans, you might want to check out these travel planning apps that will help you in every stage of your travel planning.