New research by online travel agency sunshine.co.uk reveals that 54% of British holidaymakers use social media to plan their holidays.
They review hotels, resorts and destinations online, requesting personal recommendations from other online users, using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to gather information and reviews about a particular place before they book.
Such is the influence of peer recommendation and sites like YouTube, which users rely on to get a feel for resorts before they go, that leading exchange network RCI launched their own YouTube channel last year. The videos, rather like mini destination guides, introduce destinations as well as particular resorts, allowing viewers to get a better idea of the location and accommodation before they book.
Although holiday brochures still exist, they’re going the way of the dinosaur. Almost every single person polled out of Sunshine’s 1,102 British holidaymakers said that yes, they do use social media and the internet to look up resorts before choosing exactly where they want to holiday.
They were then asked to select all that applied from a list of possible answers about how they went about researching their future destination/accommodation and the results were:
- Review websites – 62%
- Social media platforms – 49%
- Information from travel agent – 33%
- Word of mouth – 26%
- Travel guides – 19%
- Other – 13%
Despite recent reports that Facebook is losing its appeal, it’s still an easy way to share and post comments and photos, so it’s not suprising that 61% said they used Facebook, whilst a much lower number, 17%, said they used Twitter to do so.
The respondents said they were swayed by other people’s opinions and the information they found online. For resort and hotel bookings TripAdvisor remains very influential, with its largely very objective positive or negative personal reviews.
When asked, ‘Did your research affect where you went and stayed on holiday?’ 96% of the respondents who had done some research said ‘yes’.
Chris Brown, co-founder of sunshine.co.uk, said: “Research is a vital part of booking a holiday. Word of mouth recommendations can often be few and far between, so don’t be afraid to do your homework and look at past reviews of resorts and destinations. It was really interesting to find out that many ask friends, family, or even strangers on social media platforms about where to go on their next holiday.
“In one sense, it’s a great way to get some feedback from people who may have been to the place you are thinking of visiting. The main thing to remember is that, if one person has had a bad experience and doesn’t rate a hotel or resort, it doesn’t mean your holiday will turn out the same.”