Infographic: Social Travel vs. Traditional Travel

Back in the olden days (circa 2008), travel used to require a Lonely Planet, a detailed itinerary and a packed tour bus. You might have jumped online once a week to let your family know you’re still alive, but other than that, you had to rely on your trusty guidebook to get you from point A to point B. It was great at the time, but thankfully the travel world has moved on to something bigger and better. Now, all you need to see the world is a sense of adventure and an internet connection.

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2012 & 2013 Social Media and Tourism Industry Statistics

2012 Tourism Statistics

In response to the overwhelming desire for up-to-date social media and tourism statistics, here are some new numbers for 2012.
(UPDATE: We have now updated this post to include new and additional statistics from 2013. These are indicated in blue text. Note that in most cases we have not completely replaced the 2012 statistics, but added new metrics we felt were relevant to the information.)

In response to the overwhelming desire for up-to-date social media and tourism statistics, here are some new numbers for 2012. (Please note: Stikky Media did not create these statistics. For a list of primary sources, see below).

The world is expected to witness 1 billion arrivals by the end of 2012, according to the World Travel Market. And as a result, the relationship between travel and technology is closer than ever, with businesses continuing to turn to social media to promote their services and reach customers in a more intimate and personal way.

Mobile

By 2015, 9 out of 10 consumers will have a mobile subscription.

  • 29% of travelers have used mobile apps to find flight deals
  • 30% have used mobile apps to find hotel deals
  • 15% have downloaded mobile apps specific to upcoming vacations
  • 85% of leisure travelers use their smartphone while abroad
  • 72% post vacation photos on a social network while still on vacation
  • 46% check in to a location (eg Facebook and FourSquare) while on vacation
  • 70% update their Facebook status while on vacation
  • 61% of US travelers report using social media while on vacation
  • 85% of travelers use smartphones while on vacation, and 46% use tablets
  • The most popular use of smartphones while traveling is for finding restaurants (36% for smartphones, 21% for tablets) and accessing social media (32% for smartphones, 19% on tablets)
  • In 2012, 57% of business travelers used a mobile device to book travel
  • More than 40% of online traffic related to travel comes from mobile devices
  • 44% of travelers use their phones to research travel while they’re actually traveling

Top five uses of smartphones while traveling:

  • Take photos
  • Use map features
  • Search restaurants
  • Search activities and attractions
  • Check in prior to flight

Consumer Trust

  • 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising
    • an increase of 18% since 2007
  • 70% of global consumers say online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising
    • an increase of 15 percent in four years
  • Only 47% of consumers around the world say they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads
    • confidence has declined by 24%, 20% and 25% respectively since 2009

Despite these numbers, the majority of ad dollars are still spent on traditional or paid media.

Results of the Nielsen 2013 survey:

  • 84% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations, or earned media, above all other forms of advertising.
  • 69% trust owned advertising, in the form of content of branded websites—up 9 percentage points from 2007
  • 68% trust consumer opinions posted online
  • Traditional ads still strong: 62% trust TV ads, and 60% trust magazines. Only newspaper ads showed a decline, from 63 to 61%.

Increased trust in online and mobile ads:

  • 56% of respondents trust consumer-oriented email messages
  • 48% trust ads in search engine results, online videos, or on social networks
  • 42% trust banner ads, up from 26% in 2007
  • 45% trust display ads on mobile devices
  • word-of-mouth formats—earned media and consumer reviews online—prompt the highest levels of consumer action—84% of people will take action thanks to the former and 70% to the latter.
  • Roughly 2/3rds of respondents take action some of the time based on ads in traditional media, and half are willing to engage based on social network and mobile display ads.

 

Reviews

Post-vacation, 46% of travelers post hotel reviews.

  • 40% post activity/attraction reviews
  • 40% post restaurant reviews
  • 76% post vacation photos to a social network
  • 55% “liked” Facebook pages specific to a vacation

Influence

Social media has a huge influence on travel bookings. Of those who used social media to research travel plans, only 48% stuck with their original travel plans.

  • 33% changed their hotel
  • 10% switched resorts
  • 10% changed agent/operator/website
  • 7% holidayed in a different country
  • 5% switched airlines

TripAdvisor

  • 69 million monthly visitors
  • More than 60 million travel reviews and opinions from travelers around the world
  • More than 90 percent of topics posted in the TripAdvisor forums are replied to within 24 hours
  • 82 million people have downloaded a TripAdvisor app
  • 2800 new topics are posted every day to the TripAdvisor forums
  • More than 150 million reviews from over 60 million members worldwide

Facebook

  • 900 million monthly users at the end of March 2012
  • 488 million monthly active mobile users
  • Approximately 80% of monthly active users are outside the US and Canada
  • More than 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook per day
  • An average of 3.2 billion Likes and Comments generated by Facebook users per day
  • More than 42 million Pages with ten or more Likes
  • Facebook is available in more than 70 languages

2013 Stats:

  • 1.23 billion monthly active users as of December 2013
  • 945 million monthly users of Facebook mobile products
  • Approximately 81% of daily active users are outside the US and Canada
  • Photo uploads total 300 million per day

Twitter

  • Twitter search is one of the most heavily-trafficked search engines in the world, serving over one billion queries per day
  • 500 million registered users
  • 175 million tweets per day

 

Sources:

The World Travel Market (WTM) Industry Report and Global Trends Report
Nielsen: Global Consumers’ Trust in ‘Earned’ Advertising Grows in Importance
Lab42: Techie Traveler
Facebook Key Facts
TripAdvisor Fact Sheet

Nielsen: Earned Advertising Remains Most Credible Among Consumers
T
op 15 Valuable Facebook Statistics
TrustYou Travel Marketing Statistics

Why the Tourism Industry Needs a Special Approach to SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a main component of any industry’s marketing plan, but for the travel industry it’s absolutely essential. According to a Travelport report, online search engines continue to dominate the travel industry with two out of three leisure travellers (66%) and 59% of business travellers using them to research travel.

The internet has revolutionized the tourism and accommodation industry by giving travelers access to greater choices, better deals, more flexible plans and a wealth of media designed to immerse them in the destination before they even get there.

This quick, simple and convenient travel planning is a big step forward for the industry, but it has also transformed travel into one of the most highly competitive niches, requiring specialized, industry-specific optimization strategies. To survive, businesses need to gain an understanding of what consumers are searching for and learn how they can leverage internet search technology to maximize not only traffic to their site, but also to the destination itself.

But when it comes to SEO, it’s not enough to rely on keyword-rich text. On-page content is important, but there are many back-end factors to consider, including title tags, meta tags, image optimization, internal link structure, multilingualism and foreign search terms. And as of recently, social media can also affect your Google ranking.

In addition, Google rolled out a new feature last September that dramatically affects search results. Businesses can now claim Google Place Pages that allow them to verify and supplement their business information, including products, photos, videos, hours of operation and more. These Place Pages not only take up a major chunk of the first page, but they also pull in reviews—both good and bad—from multiple sources. Google designed Place Pages to help customers make informed decisions where to go, but now it’s more important than ever before for businesses to maximize their online presence.

Here are the stats:

  • 95% of natural clicks come from page one of Google, Yahoo and Bing
  • 3% of clicks came from page two, and 2% came from page three
  • One out of five Google searches are related to location
  • The number one spot on Google search results gets double the traffic as the number two spot, and the second through fifth spots combined
  • 41% of searches unsuccessful after the first page choose to refine their keyword search phrase or their chosen search engine.
  • 80% of completely unsuccessful searches are followed with keyword refinement

Crowdsourced Travel Magazine Coming to an iPad Near You

Everyone loves a good social media experiment—especially when it involves free stuff.

Travelati, an upcoming travel magazine, is giving away tons of freebies for the best travel tips and unique stories. They’re crowdsourcing all of their content, so travelers can receive American Airlines Advantage miles, airline gift cards and lounge access in exchange for the best photography, video, writing and spoken word. If you’re not a writerly type but still want a shot at magazine fame, you can phone in your story.

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Have Tripbod, Will Travel

Travelers naturally gravitate toward referrals and recommendations. They’re social creatures who trust other travelers more than traditional marketing, and they’re always on the lookout for atypical tourist activities. Social media is a great way to get the most current insider info, but what if you could skip the planning and get a personalized itinerary from a trusted local? It’s kind of like Rent a Friend, only less creepy.

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Foursquare Helps Tourism, but DMO’s Aren’t Checking In

Foursquare has over 6 million users and over 381 million check-ins, but very few DMO’s are using the using the geo-location service to boost tourism. Explore Chicago was the first to really get involved with Foursquare, and since then, only a handful of DMO’s have joined.

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Destination Marketing Organizations Need to Stay Social

Ideally, the tourism industry is win-win situation. While travelers escape their normal routines to frolic and explore, they enhance the quality of life for the community by creating employment, generating tax dollars and attracting facilities and events that appeal to both visitors and locals.

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Tourism Saskatchewan Goes Mobile

Tourism Saskatchewan has always been on the forefront of awesomeness, with innovative live chat, video, and promotions, but they outdid themselves with the release of their mobile website.

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Social Media Statistics for Hostel Travelers and Backpackers

Traveling with a tiny budget doesn’t mean you have to resort to a tiny vacation. More than ever, budget travelers are tapping into the wealth of online travel information to find the best promotions and the most current information. And by foregoing brand name hotel chains, they have even more cash for activities, food and those irresistible last minute deals.

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Small Town Tourism, Big Social Media

Facebook might be the third largest country in the world, but it still feels like Facebookville, population 620. For the kid whose mother read about his weekend shenanigans on Facebook, it’s a bad thing. For small towns, it’s a blessing.

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Social Media and the Tourism Industry Statistics

Note: These stats are from 2011. For more up-to-date numbers, check out our most recent blog post, 2012 Social Media and Tourism Industry Statistics.

Travel and tourism marketing isn't the one-sided method it used to be–today's travelers are relying more than ever on word of mouth. In response, the tourism and hospitality industry is turning to social media to promote its services and to engage customers in a more personal way. Next year, almost two-thirds of travel companies plan to increase their social media marketing budgets. Here's why:

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