The buzz is around: social media is going to play an important role in the travel industry. But is it a new thing? Probably not. Since the advent of social media, it has been used by travelers to share their experience with the world. Almost 38% of the US travelers and as much as 64% of the non-US travelers use social media while traveling. They share pictures and videos, and also blog about their trips on social media. So, to say that the relationship between social media and travel is new would surely be incorrect. However, something new is of course there. Social media is finding increasing use in marketing these days. And it is opening up new horizons for both – social media platforms as well as the travel industry. Remain in Touch with Close Ones while Traveling No matter where you are going, you can always remain in touch with your family and friends. And it is not even dependent on which social media tool you are planning to use. This is a significant change that social media has brought about in the travel industry. However, it is not going to be limited to the travelers only. The travel agents and the tour organizing companies are also going to make full use of the social media websites. And as these websites offer the opportunity to connect to millions of people, they are likely to be a great platform for marketing travel plans as well. Social Media – Emerging Travel Marketing Channel Millions of people are already there on social media sites, such as Facebook Twitter and others. More and more people are joining other websites, such as Pinterest, Instagram and so on. And they are sharing almost everything on these websites. In fact, it has been observed that social media is emerging as the most important marketing channel for the travel industry. It is becoming the perfect medium for the trip organizers as well to connect with their prospective clients with excellent deals on travel. The Perfect Place to Know Client Requirements The concept of social media marketing, which is seen in other businesses, holds true for the travel industry as well. However, as a travel organizer you need to remember a few things. Although you might find it a great marketing tool, never ever think of it as a megaphone to shout aloud about your business. It is, in fact, more like a telephone. Always keep in mind the interactive aspect of the social media platforms. Join travel forums. Engage in discussions with your target audience. Reply to their queries. It will help you communicate with them more effectively. This will help you design your trip plans according to the requirements of your target audience. The result: more number of travel enthusiasts will respond to your travel plans. Influencing Decisions to Travel Social media is emerging as one of the most important deciding factors in the travel industry as well. As much as 52% of the Facebook users admitted that photos posted by their friends helped the design their travel plans. With the large number of registered users sharing their experiences and pictures from different trips, it is becoming the perfect platform for prospective travelers to research for their travel destination. People looking to travel to a specific place can research about that destination in detail from the social media websites. From reviews of places and lodging options to that of restaurants and places of entertainments, they can get almost everything on social media platforms. So, if the tourists want to book a hotel or rent a timeshare at their favorite destination, they can always read in detail about it on social media. Engaging the Travelers to a Great Extent Most of the tourists prefer posting reviews about the places they have traveled on their social media accounts. This influences travel booking of as much as 48% of those who are planning to make a trip in near future. In fact, only 48% of the people stick to their earlier travel plans after researching on the social media websites. And it continues playing a major role after they return from the trip as well. Almost 76% of the social media users share photos on the social media after they return from a vacation. Social media is influencing the decisions of tourists in selecting the destinations, hotels and other associated things to helping the travel organizers market their plans, social media is playing an important role to take the travel industry a long way forward. Images: “Worldwide connections/ Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. 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