Social media is revolutionizing the way small businesses do business and the travel industry is no exception. In fact, travel and tourism in the United States forms a big chunk of the economy and many small businesses are looking to capitalize on the identifiable opportunities:
“At almost 9% of America’s total gross domestic product, generating more than a trillion dollars a year, travel and tourism represent a big chunk of the overall economy. And small businesses get a share of that” (Abrams, 2013).
Social media in the travel industry
Today’s global traveler is surrounded and guided by information which she/he receives through digital channels including social media channels. Traditionally, holiday travelers would use social media for a number of reasons including to:
- Find places of interest and understand local flavors
- Get influencer advise before any bookings
- Share their travel moments with their networks of family and friends
But that has all changed since the millennials arrived on the scene.
Millennials are shaping the travel industry
In his articulate post, Matt Heller mentions that millennials enjoy travelling more than other generations:
- Business (4.7 times each year)
- Leisure (4.2 times per year)
- Millennials spent 20% more on travel in 2014 than 2013
- They already spend roughly $200 billion a year on travel as 22% of all travelers, and that spending will only increase.
This is good news for travel related small businesses, but only if small business owners understand the unique travel expectations of millennials.
“Millennials are not driven by the same travel needs as other generations. Millennials want to gain experience, recognition, and value by saving, earning, and learning while traveling.” (Heller, 2016)
Targeting millennials through social media
“According to some surveys, 97 percent of millennials are now using social networks while traveling, while over 50 percent are eager to meet other people staying at their hotel. Meanwhile, 84 percent of Facebook users admitted in a PRSA Travel & Tourism poll that viewing their friends’ post actually influenced their own future travel plans. It’s certainly a friendly and outgoing trend and it’s something that only benefits the travel industry as a whole”. (Nicole, 2015)
More importantly, Blair Nicole points out that social media really delivers the “in-person” experience thanks to selfie photos, check-ins and status updates, and perhaps even more importantly, customer service and specifically, customer complaints have really taken the travel industry to a new level.
Abrams, Rhonda. (01 February, 2013). Strategies: Travel niches open for entrepreneurs. USA Today. Retrieved 16 June, 2016, from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/abrams/2013/02/01/small-business-travel-industry/1881941/
Heller, Matt. (19 February, 2016). The G Brief: Millennial Expectations Are Reshaping Travel Industry. Urbaneer Creative. Retrieved on 23 June 2016 from: http://thegbrief.com/articles/millennial-expectations-are-reshaping-travel-industry-602
Nicole, Blair. (30 August, 2015). Is Social Media Changing the Travel Industry?. Social Media Today. Retrieved on 23 June 2016 from: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/blairnicole/2015-08-26/social-media-changing-travel-industry
Category: Blogging, Integrating with Traditional Marketing