Date: 13th December 2012
The majority of travellers under the age of 34 (87%) use Facebook to choose their destination, according to the global Text100 Digital Index: Travel & Tourism study.
Commissioned by Text100 Global Communications, the study surveyed 4,600 consumers in 13 countries. It examined the increasing importance of social media and mobile technology, globally and regionally, during the four major stages of a consumer's travel decision-cycle: inspiration, decision, purchase and experience.
"Consumers are making travel decisions by simultaneously assessing information from an unprecedented variety of channels, both digital and non-digital," said Aedhmar Hynes, Text100 Global CEO.
According to the study, social media plays the largest role in the first and last phases. This correlates with the finding that 63% of respondents considered social media channels and recommendations by friends and family the number-one factor to inspire travel.
More than half those surveyed also use Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms for inspiration.
In the last stage, the experience stage, 68% use their mobile devices to stay in touch with friends and family while on vacation.
"Travel operators and communications professionals alike must increasingly integrate their efforts across platforms in a manner that complements how consumers are already seeking inspiration, deciding on, purchasing and experiencing their travels," said Hynes.
The study's findings varied widely according to region:
In Asia-Pacific, more than 70% of travellers have used social media to inspire their holidays and base their eventual choices on friends' recommendations (52%) and convenience (42%);
Asia-Pacific travellers are also the most likely of any region to purchase tickets through online links or advertisements, yet also prefer to book through traditional travel agents more than travellers in the United States or Europe.
In the United States, 58% of respondents under the age of 34 use social media to inspire destination decisions, while 37%of respondents consider travel blogger reviews first when making travel decisions.
Europe and Africa:
When it comes to purchasing tickets for attractions or activities, European and African travellers are more likely than any others to buy on arrival at the venue (43%), and the least likely to use online travel sites (23%).
In Europe, 33% of travellers rely on online travel blog reviews to make initial decisions about travel destinations.
"The Digital Index: Travel & Tourism study suggests there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to engaging travellers in all areas worldwide. Today's vacationer bases his/her decisions on far more digital, mobile and physical touch-points than ever before; therefore, companies need to be consistent in communicating their core values via authentic audience engagement," said Hynes.
"If the travel and tourism industry can use market-specific insights to engage with customers and build communities around these core values, it will be well placed to deliver significant growth to businesses and entire economies the world over," he concluded.
For more information, or to download a copy of the study, visit www.text100.com.