Social media has been crucial in influencing tourists and travellers worldwide. Why and how?
Every year, a new trend emerges that has a significant impact on the market. As consumers become more conscious and vocal about their wants, it may be mirrored in the manner that they make decisions. The same is true for the travel business; during the past few years, social media or we can say, Influencers of social media have had a significant impact on their follower or subscribers’ travel choices, and they are currently altering the travel and tourism industry.
Since the visual appeal is much more effective than written content, social media influencers know to show their viewers what they want to see. The audience is more thrilled about visiting a location that their favourite social media influencers have been to and taking photographs that seem similar than they are about actually visiting the location. But also the usage of travel blogs helps to build a virtual community where social media influencers discuss a specific location. Potential tourists’ behaviour is influenced by the images of the destination that are shared on social media.
We can all agree that Instagram has become one of the most effective social media platforms for travel influencers in recent years. In the same sense, the term “instagrammable” or “Insta friendly” has gained popularity. An image is instagrammable when it functions on Instagram and receives a lot of likes, comments, and additional followers for the influencer. Some hotels have sections explicitly designated for taking photos, or the influencers find these locations on their own. Finding the most fascinating locations is essential, but the photo must also have the potential to go viral on Instagram. Therefore, it goes beyond simply coming upon something novel or having a singular experience.
Social media influencers are crucial in spreading knowledge about a specific location. Sales can increase exponentially due to a single influencer post on social media. The social media platforms that are most used by tourists are Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Positive impact of Social media on tourism industry
- Influencers today like opulent locations that provide chances to experience wildlife and adventurous sports like skydiving, scuba diving, and snorkelling, as opposed to earlier generations who preferred visiting locations primarily for their cultural and historical significance. Tourists and influencers alike are becoming more and more interested in visiting places like Singapore, and Dubai, which are attractively displayed and where one can also make an excellent first impression.
- When we talk about how influencers can increase the demand and bookings for business class tickets, it can be linked to influencers showing off how wealthy travelling can be, which makes their viewers want to travel in the same manner and live a similar lifestyle. These airline firms’ revenue has increased as a result, and their approach to marketing their products and services has changed. In order to meet the rising demand for business class seats, many airlines, including Emirates, Lufthansa, and Air India, actively promote international travel.
- The way that hotels, products, etc. market themselves and promote their services has changed. Due to the rise of social media, they are now compelled to use these platforms for advertising themselves and engaging with a large portion of their target audience. Many businesses invite influencers to stay with them for a few days as part of a promotional piece, and they also make sure that the influencer’s lodging, transportation, and food costs are covered by the businesses.
- For product promotion, the travel company relies on social media influencers. Influencers on social media use written content and video production to promote their destinations. The relationship between travel firms and social media influencers can be optimized in a number of ways. Travel companies pay social media influencers to go on their trip so they can promote them and provide in-depth coverage. Influencers on social media introduce the places to reach a broad audience.
- Travel companies easily publicize their discounts and travel destinations through social media. Through recommendations from friends on social media, new travel places are found. Online reviews assist prospective tourists in making decisions. The influencers upload their photos on YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook. Apps are used by a sizable number of people to locate various destinations.
- Online reviews are posted regarding the location, the hotel, and other travel-related activities. As time goes on, written reviews become more well-known and significant. Facebook is a platform that online influencers use where tourists can leave comments. To entice potential tourists to visit lesser-known locations, pictures and anecdotes about those locations are shared on social media. By posting their Instagram stories, influencers can connect with potential customers on a more personal level. Online resources and information created by influencers and shared on social media have become essential to the trip process. By posting various pieces of content, influencers also examine the requirements and desires of tourists.
- There is risk and uncertainty involved when travelling to a new location, which can result in travel cancellation, delay, or postponement. The potential visitors rely on a variety of sources to lessen the uncertainty. Social media has become a crucial tool for tourists making trip decisions. After reading reviews posted online on various social media platforms, the folks modify their travel plans. There are several ways to distribute the knowledge, including blogging, tagging in posts, comments, reviews in the marketplace, and videos.
- The Union Territory of Leh and Ladakh is among the most well-known instances of a location that has profited from these influencers and YouTubers. Ladakh has become one of the sites that the YouTube community and influencers have talked about and recorded the most over the past few years. Speaking of the effect of such influences, many new hotels have lately opened, and the standard of hotels and the level of hospitality they provide has improved. Even the quality of telecommunications has increased. The local administration has seen the potential of these locations and is working to make improvements to attract more tourists frequently. Therefore, this has had a favourable impact on local lifestyle and development in addition to having an economic impact.
Negative influence impact of Social media on the viewer’s mind
- Not only positive but it does have a negative influence not on the tourism industry but the viewers. These social media influencers use filters to enhance the aesthetics and appeal of their photos when taking them. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Sri Lanka or the Maldives because the image seems more visually appealing this way. This results in an apparent feeling of mimicry between social media influencers and their followers. These followers simply want to get close to what the influencers have posted, so they visit the exact locations rather than wanting to travel differently. These influencers take pictures in the most picturesque settings and use them to promote the most popular destination. They find every picturesque nook and cranny of a particular location, and by sharing these on social media, they inspire their followers to do the same. The goal of these influencers’ followers isn’t just to get close to them; they also want to imitate them. This can be accomplished by using comparable goods, going to close locations, and applying comparable photo filters.
- The locations that YouTubers like Nikhil Sharma, Kritika Goel, and Varun Vagish or Instagrammers like Anunay Sood and Ankita Kumar discuss or capture on camera strongly persuade their viewers to add the names to their list of potential future travel destinations. When you see your favourite influencer occasionally visiting new locations while you are busy or perhaps not that supposedly “privileged,” it can become toxic and irritate you. We occasionally have a mental health impact from all of this and feel defeated, useless, or unworthy. We begin to despise our lives as we cannot visit those opulent hotels or breathtaking seashores.
- Everything appears flawless and dazzling in the realm of social media, but this isn’t always the case. We don’t display our worst selves on social media. Through social media, we try to make our lives as beautiful as we can in front of the outside world. As a result, we must comprehend reality, which is unfiltered. Influencers’ lives are not always as glamorous as they seem. We don’t know how many shades are hidden behind it.
- We still need to accept that social media influencers have a hugely significant impact despite both their adverse effects and positive effects.
- Because social media is flooded with information, influencers are essential in attracting potential clients to businesses online. Through word of mouth, social media encourages brand visibility among customers. The tourist industry makes use of social media influencers to increase global visibility.
The effect of social media users is rapidly changing how tourists behave. Social media can be used by the hotel industry to better understand customer needs and deliver information to them. India’s tourism industry is experimenting with cutting-edge strategies to attract potential tourists. Visitors are encouraged to make travel plans after viewing the influencer postings. Posting images of the destination improves its reputation. The social media influencer is trying to target a specific group of young tourists. The number of social media influencers will increase along with the number of visitors.
(Purbasha Palit is a student of Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University.)
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Partnersincrave.com. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)