Some interesting data – for the pros and antes of social media – from a study carried out by World Travel Market at the launch of its annual exhibition in London this week.
The survey of around 1,000 UK residents that took a holiday during 2010 found that one in three consulted some form of social media during the planning phase of their trip.
But of the social media junkies, most visited platforms included TripAdvisor (66%), Facebook (34%), YouTube (20%) and Twitter (17%).
Interestingly, chat rooms and forums attracted around 28% of the social media users, whereas travel blogs accounted for just 9%.
For those extolling the virtues of social media as a direct influence on travel planning decisions, the stats are rather low.
For example, 42% booked their original choice after visiting a social platform, although perhaps the power of TripAdvisor is illustrated with data showing that 35% of social media users changed their hotel after browsing.
But for other elements of a trip…
- 15% changed airline.
- 15% changed resort.
- 15% changed agent or operator.
- 12% decided to visit a different country.
Looking forward, almost half (48%) said they did not intend to use social media during the planning phase of a trip. A quarter said they would, the remainder was undecided.
So while the top-line stat of one-in-three using social platforms during the planning process is impressive, and important at least in terms of having a strategy, the power of the content within those platforms is, according to the data at least, not powerful at all when it comes to airlines, agents and operators (less than 5%).
UPDATE: Here’s the full report.