There is no doubt that a social network has the power to change how we find information about brands we use, with everyday companies using such sites to market their product range.
Another undoubted truth is that the personal profiles that a consumer has with social media websites like Facebook and Twitter has had an impact on how we communicate with friends online. With all of this in mind, do you think a social network could influence our decision-making as we plan travelling arrangements?
Social networking websites are now beginning to branch out, and marketing arms of companies are now discovering the ease of setting one up. For a travel or tourism service, the true advantages of a social media platform are underrated: giving hasty travellers the opportunity to discover information about a destination before making an informed decision.
Information services online are great for those who like to read travel writing as seen in newspapers, magazines and to an extent, books. This is because an Internet edition extends the power of copy with pictures and video. Yet in contrast, there are so many ways that social media could gain that interactive edge, making the learning process of readers more personable.
A travel-oriented social networking website in the market, once live and with a strong amount of information, has the chance to invite members of the public who have experienced holidays for themselves to share their opinion. If you think about it, this turns the entire concept of travel critic on its head, with the well-travelled man on the street offering his thoughts and perspectives.
Reading the work of a travel critic and of a social network member who visited the same country has the power to show different worlds entirely. The column of a travel journalist is far less likely to show the challenges
of having a family while exploring a location’s cuisine, customs and attractions. Meanwhile, strong copy from a holidaymaker can combine the good and the bad in a more accessible way: offering fellow users the
chance to see pictures of the trip they took themselves. It’s arguable that peer to peer reviews allow for tourists to get clearer ideas on what to expect from a trip, as well as discovering the numerous attractions they might need swimming trunks for!
Not every member of a social network is going to be a wordsmith, but there are innovative and quick ways to gauge the reactions of a holiday. Ratings systems are extremely familiar to us and even though they aren’t
exactly novel, answering just a few questions about a trip allows travellers to find out the general consensus of a particular location. Results typically consist of an average mark out of five or ten for the experience overall, with some scores going into more detail than others.
For example, the questions that could be asked include the strength of the accommodation that the user was staying in, how easy they found it to travel to local points of interest, what the food was like and even the weather. Should some marks be weaker than others, it will be an ideal heads-up to future holidaymakers about what they should expect when they foray there.
As more ratings for particular places pour into the system, a clear perception of how different tourists rate a location on average will really bring social network software into its own. When done correctly, any self-respecting holidaymaker wouldn’t hesitate to find out what fellow travellers think of a destination before booking. Indeed, this is a fascinating way to find out the favourite holiday destinations of a cross-section of people.
The world is a big place, and so you could find that specialising in one location in particular ensures the resources of your social network aren’t spread too thinly. Covering one area intricately is far more productive and efficient than offering patchy information on locations across the world badly. If you hone in and focus on one country or region, users will be better assured of finding something which is relevant to their needs.
Of course, you might want to emphasise the importance of the social element on your media platform. There is
little else more heart-wrenching than when you find the holiday of your dreams but there is no-one else interested in sharing it with you. Creating a community where like-minded travellers with similar interests are able to communicate is an ingenious idea, and you could find catering for your local area will bring more successful results.
This concept may involve sections for certain types of holidays, such as cookery excursions or tours. Then, users of the platform can submit desperate pleas to a company on trips they don’t want to do alone. It is easy to see how this use of social media is changing the way we travel, making our lives far more opportunistic. Why should you be stopped from going on the holiday of your dreams?
Aside from such specialist discussion boards, the idea of forums in general will bring users of your network together. Here, the ins and outs of a holiday will be explored, and the first-hand experience to gain is valuable. Recommendations from frequent visitors also offer advice of the best places to go dependent of the time of year you are travelling. Having a good time while saving money allow consumers to get more out of their holiday, with the days they have away an exciting opportunity to experience different things.
As we have seen, social networking may have a positive impact on the decision-making process for travelling. It is difficult for consumers to sift through the various purchasing options that are available to them, and so support
and advice from knowledgeable sources means that spending money wisely is easier. If you are a business, making an investment into a social network and marketing it well could boost your sales, and allow you to become more prominent in the travel industry on the whole.