Gone are those days when people planned only for their careers and finances. Things have changed to ‘travel ambitions’ being #1 on the planning list and conversations like ‘when I was in Venice’ being far more impactful than ever mainly because of the increased usage of websites such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.
These travel ambitions are no longer being defined by Shah Rukh and Kajol romancing in Switzerland but have a lot to do with what a user’s Instagram timeline looks like. Being one of the biggest and most active social media platforms focused on visual communication, Instagram has created a pattern of more and more people sharing and seeking information online and hence defining their travel goals.
This increased level of engagement via social media is no longer something industry experts can write off as a trend or fashion. Social media has not only revolutionised the way people communicate and interact, but also profoundly shifted how companies engage with and transact business with their customers.
Along with mobile capabilities, agility, transparency and enhanced visibility across all points of the value chain is the name of the game in today’s travel industry landscape, and the use of social media is a crucial driver for travel companies to stimulate growth and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Millennials are perhaps the most sought-after demographic in today’s travel industry, yet they are also perhaps the most difficult to attract and target. They want customised travel experiences that express their personality and taste, but they also demand affordability and flexibility in packaging, booking and more. Part of what makes millennials difficult to reach is that they often avoid conventional channels of communication – advertisements in print, radio, and television. However millennials view social media as crucial to their professional and personal lives.
As much as achieving these travel goals are important, sharing their experiences on social media is equally important, if not more. When it comes to picking a hotel room, millennials prefer a deal on a picture-perfect room they can share on Instagram over saving money on an inexpensive room.
This ever-increasing influence of Snapchat and Instagram on travel planning has made brands re-draft their social media strategies, bringing a notable shift in their marketing budget distribution as well.
These user shared experiences not only provide great authentic promotion, but also create opportunities to interact with the members of a community, leading to brands and organisations embracing the content co-creation path a lot more in pursuit of reaching a broader audience.
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