New study calls into question the relevance of social media for tourism

In the current world of marketing, there is a tendency to attribute all the goodness of the world to the social media, and tourism has not been left out of it. It is these same pages of PuroMarketing we have published a whole battery of articles analyzing the pairing, almost perfect between mcommerce, ecommerce and tourism.

Sometimes a jug of cold water can come in handy to bring us back to reality. At least that will be the effect next April when, during the World Tourism Forum (WTF) of Lucerne, the study prepared by the University of Lucerne on the role of social media in this sector will be presented. The results of the study are that the social media has a significantly less significant weight than hitherto attributed.

The findings of the study seem to coincide with data presented on March 6 by a senior executive of travel comparator Kayak during ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel and tourism fair. Jan-Frederik Valentin, Vice President of Kayak for European Tour Packages, said “I doubt that social searches are as important as some want them to be.”

At an ITB seminar on social media, Valentin said: “I do not doubt that people will read reviews and reviews before booking, but I doubt that this is playing an important role in the searches. There is still a long way to go.”

Facebook travel manager Lee McGabe agreed, but said, “People need to put filters on. Friends can be those filters. “ The WTF study attempts to answer the question “How much value should companies give to their presence in social media?”.

The study was based on a survey of 1000 online booking agencies in three of the main tourist home markets; Germany, Great Britain and the USA. Results among British participants suggest that having a “clearly organized website” is the top priority, followed by an adequate supply of dates. The presence in social media was not marked as important. Only 15% of the responses in the UK and 20% in Germany, understood that social media was important.

Despite the study’s findings, Andreas Liebrich, an e-tourism expert at the University of Lucerne, said that “customers who are more accustomed to social media are more active online customers and more predisposed to compare offers and seek opportunities.”

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