TV and social media top for influencing destination choice

Travellers claim they get most of their inspiration for where to go on a trip from watching television and sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

YouGov surveyed 10,000 travellers in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) in a bid to discover the influencing factors for travel discovery, as well as where emerging technologies such as virtual reality might fit in.

Interestingly, long-held triggers for a destination such as friends and family offline did not feature in the list of leading factors.

Still, 75% said television shows and content on Facebook were the most common channels for inspiration.

These were followed by 72% for Instagram, 65% for SnapChat, 63% from Twitter and 60% from Pinterest.

Films were cited by 62% of travellers. But, surprisingly, YouTube didn’t feature at all.

The web-hungry  folk of MENASA also appear to be giving a warm-ish welcome to virtual reality in the search food-chain.

For example, 51% said they found the idea very appealing of tasting a destination on a VR headset before booking.

In fact (sound the klaxon to agencies), almost two-thirds (64%) said they would visit a retail store to use the headsets.

Perhaps most surprisingly was the lukewarm reaction to newbies such as Uber and Airbnb – both of which are supposedly taking many other parts of the world by storm.

Just 27% and 17% respectively said they found the idea of such services appealing.

The YouGov report says:

“Despite obvious concerns about data security related to predictive planning services, it’s clear their value isn’t being ignored with a significant proportion of respondents willing to pay for such services.

“Perhaps the region isn’t ready quite yet to fully embrace peer-to-peer services, which are relatively well-known but unused.

“Nevertheless, the very nature of their existence on technology-based platforms which link seamlessly to popular inspiration sources such as social media and endless possibilities with predictive technology may prove advantageous for future development and adoption in the region.”

NB: Travel search image via Shutterstock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Ivan Burmistrov

    The title of this article is misleading, it should probably read “For MENASA travellers, TV and social media top for influencing destination choice”. Obviously, TV and social media are not the top influencers for European or North American travellers…

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @ivan – …..but thanks for reading…

      Why is it “obviously”…?

      • Ivan Burmistrov


        There is a ton of research showing that among travellers from the other parts of the world than the one surveyed by YouGov, TV and social media have negligible effect on destination decisions. Here are two most recent reports:

        (1) European Commission (2016) Flash Eurobarometer 432 “Preferences of Europeans towards Tourism”: –> see page 16:

        Friends, colleagues, relatives: 51%
        Review websites: 34%
        Personal experience: 33%

        Social media: 12%
        Newspaper, radio, TV: 11%

        (2) Taylor, Ian (2016) Mintel report finds smartphone bookings ‘not popular’:

        “The report identifies a surprising lack of influence for social media. When people who had taken a holiday in the past year were asked what factor most influenced their choice of destination, 25% said friends or family and 5% travel agents. But Mintel noted: “Just 4% are influenced by social media.”

        This finding tallies with latest research by German travel analyst IPK, whose World Travel Monitor – released this month and based on a survey of 500,000 consumers in more than 60 countries – identified the internet as the main source of holiday information, used by 78% of travellers, and social networks were the least-used source of online information.”


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