The national tourism agency’s ‘The role of social media in the context of holidays’ report focused on markets in the USA, Germany, India and South Korea, discovering that 89 per cent of those surveyed use social media at some stage of their holiday.
Social media plays a ‘key role’ at all stages of the decision-making and holiday booking process with Facebook being the main source of inspiration for survey respondents, particularly when deciding to visit Britain (44 per cent).
Twitter was the most commonly used app for seeking suggestions and advice while on holiday, with Instagram proving to be the app of choice for people planning their trip and sharing their experiences.
Ninety-eight per cent of the Indian market used social media during their holiday compared to 95 per cent in South Korea, 84 per cent in the USA and 77 per cent in Germany.
Almost 70 per cent of people said that content posted online by friends made them want to visit a destination, with the influence of photographs peaking at 81 per cent in India, followed by 76 per cent in South Korea and 68 per cent in the USA.
Social media brings new opportunities
VisitBritain’s marketing director, Joss Croft, said that social media offers new opportunities to engage with tourists.
“This research reinforces to all of us working in the travel industry the powerful role that social media now plays in offering unparalleled opportunities to engage directly with potential visitors in a timely way, with the right messages, demonstrating an understanding of their world and motivations for travel.
“That’s why it’s an integral part of the tourism marketing that VisitBritain undertakes, moving Britain from being a place to travel to at some stage to a ‘must go now’ destination, inspiring more visitors to travel here and explore all our nations and regions,” he said.
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Tourism, said: “There is so much to see and do in the UK and this report confirms that social media remains the fastest and most effective way for the industry to showcase ourselves as a top destination to the world."
Other findings in VisitBritain’s report include:
- South Korean (78 per cent) and German (61 per cent) tourists prefer social media in their own language.
- Professional content from companies and tourism boards is seen as important by 80 per cent of respondents.
- Advice from holiday experts and tourists is important.
- Recent holiday-makers reviews of destinations encourage visiting more than the views of experts.
- Wi-fi access is important.
- Smartphones are the most common device used to access social media whilst on holiday.
76 per cent of respondents had read reviews on a website, although only 19 per cent contributed their own.