How Has Social Media Changed Traveling?
Traveling is not as it used to be. In today’s world of instant access to any kind of information, travelers have changed the way that they approach traveling. They no longer rely on – most of the times out-of-date – guidebooks or user-generated review sites that usually lack in credibility and accuracy. Social media sites have a great impact on people’s travel plans and we will discuss why. But before that, we need to talk about the other sources of information in order to better understand why most people reject them.
User-generated Review Sites
Review sites include number ratings or awarding stars to individual places, hotels, restaurants etc. This means that you can look for a specific hotel and find its rating according to other people’s opinions.
Are review sites more trustworthy?
Review sites are supposed to be more trustworthy than forums and they are definitely more organized. However, once again, there is no verification of the reviewers who often remain anonymous. Most review sites make little or no attempt to verify the posted information. Even though the sites have several reviews and look legitimate, it still doesn’t mean that they are credible.
How to distinguish the real from the fake information?
Ignore the top and bottom of the reviews. Positive reviews are sometimes written by employees and people related to this company, while negative reviews may be written by their competitors or anyone who dislikes the business for any personal reasons. In both cases, the comments are definitely not objective or real.
Detect the fake reviews. If you see a suspicious account, then ignore the advice. Even though many sites have algorithms designed to electronically detect the false reviews, they are often unsuccessful.
Check reviewers’ previous posts. If someone posts a positive review about a hotel or restaurant you want to visit, check the person’s previous comments. If that same person has reviewed a place you have been to, and you disagree with him, then you’d better ignore his opinions in general.
Check if the business reacted to any of the reviews. If the business replies to a negative post, it is a good sign that they care what customers think and that they will try to improve.
Social Media Sites
Now let’s focus on our main topic. Social media has changed the way we travel, since it no longer serves only as a place for posting pictures with friends or photos of ‘artistic’ meals. It is now becoming a tool that offers social media users the opportunity to share pictures of their latest vacation as well as their experiences, displaying lovely sights and beautiful landscape (read:How to Document Your Trip Abroad).Today’s travelers go online in order to plan their next trip and 90% of them actually make plans based on travel-related content posted by their friends.
In addition, social media helps businesses interact with the customers more directly and offer them great deals. Wanderlust is everywhere around social media and, consequently, it has a great impact on how people choose their future travel destinations and also the services, such as hotels, restaurants, airlines etc. that they will use. Social media is a tool for getting inspiration but also inspiring others to travel to new places. Here are the most influential social networks:
Use social media as a way to improve your trip, without letting it detract you from it. Do not live your vacation through your camera trying to capture each and every moment in order to share it on social media.
So which is the most trusted source?
It might have already crossed your mind that the most trusted source of information is, undoubtedly, word-of-mouth recommendation from someone who knows you. Friends or family is the source that consumers rely one and is above any other form of advertising. This kind of advice is not the same thing as the one typed into a platform, and shared online by people that you barely or don’t know at all. Word-of-mouth recommendation can also come from a travel agent who, according to people who have used one, helped them save time and money. However, not all person-to-person advice can be useful. In order to make sure that the advice is accurate, consider these factors:
Your relation with this person. The closer this person is to you, the more likely it is that he or she knows your likes and dislikes. An acquaintance or a person from your working environment might not know very well your preferences, and unwittingly, propose to you a hotel or restaurant that is not your type.
When this person visited the place. Businesses often change, and the attractions or restaurants that he or she recommends may no longer exist. Make sure that the advice is not from a long period ago.
As it has been mentioned before, the best way to plan your trip is to gather information from a variety of sources. Never trust a single review, blog, post or recommendation from a friend, but always check if their advice is also written somewhere else. If you do this, there are no doubts that your trip will be an unforgettable experience!
Edited by Eleni Gkovedarou
Sign in to leave your comment