Global Insight on Social Networking and User Generated Content in Travel Industry
by Wiweck Singh, Strategic Marketing and Project Planning Consultant at Independent Consultant on Jul 14, 2013
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Nearly one in four people worldwide will use social networks in 2013, according to an eMarketer report, "Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates". The number of social network users around the world will rise from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion this year, an 18% increase. By 2017, the global social network audience will total 2.55 billion.
The number of social network users around the world will rise in 2012 to 1.4 billion from 1.18 billion in 2011. This near 20% increase is a slight drop from the rise in 2011, and growth rates will continue to moderate as the market matures. The fastest growth will come from the emerging markets of the world, especially the Middle East and Africa (where the base of social network users remains small) and Asia-Pacific.
Social media is having a major impact on all parts of the travel life cycle. 82% of social network users selected their leisure travel destination online in the past twelve months, versus just 68% of non-users. The same pattern of online destination selection holds for micro-blog users (83%) and mobile early adopters (91%). A sizable number of female travellers, especially those on a leisure vacation, access social media while travelling.
Smartphone adoption around the world is skyrocketing, and is fundamentally changing the way people get travel advice. Travel reviews have a significant impact on booking decisions, and, for now, are cited as influential more often than any other type of social media. But not all reviews have equal sway. Their location and content have an effect on how influential they ultimately are, with reviews offered via online travel agency Web sites ranking highest.
New research has indicated that corporate travel professionals are increasingly using social media to communicate with travellers and to stay on top of latest travel industry information.According to American Express Business Travel, respondents also reported high expectations regarding their companies' future social media usage plan, reporting that within the next year forums, webcasts, and online video are the most likely to be implemented by businesses.
Social media, content, mobile and apps, and natural search engine optimization will be the top four areas for travel organizations to increase spending in 2012, according to a global survey by Frommer's® .
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