Unveiling the Influence of Social Media on the Travel and Tourism Industry


Social media have a profound impact on various aspects of our lives, and the tourism industry is no exception. We often rely on social networks to learn about new travel destinations and plan our trips. We share online our travel experiences, special moments, and our opinions on hotels, restaurants, airlines, or car rental services. Besides, these shared experiences have a significant impact on our peers’ decisions when planning their future trips.


Undoubtedly, social media play a pivotal role in the tourism sector, especially in decision-making processes, the creation of marketing campaigns, and communication with customers. Also, tourism heavily relies on the power of verbal messages—opinions, recommendations, and comments on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram enable customers to share suggestions and tips.


The majority of customers admit that they place more trust in earned media, which includes recommendations from acquaintances, friends, and family, as opposed to traditional advertising. Besides, customers are inclined to like and engage with photo posts on Facebook, seeking inspiration for their holidays and travel plans. Even when not consciously aware of it, our “likes”, comments, and conversations can subtly influence our decision-making when it comes to travel.


It is undeniable that social media platforms are a powerful tool and their influence on the tourism sector is poised to grow. Resisting the acknowledgement and adaptation to their ever-growing impact within the tourism industry, and solely relying on outdated marketing methods, could eventually have adverse effects on one’s business.


Tourism experts are urged to heed the five key social media trends identified by The Dunloe Hotel. These encompass online reputation management, utilizing social media as a customer service channel, embracing inbound marketing strategies, search engine optimisation, and leveraging the potential of mobile applications.


1. Online Reputation Management (ORM)


ORM refers to overseeing search results for brand queries and addressing negative reviews on social media.  With the advance of social media platforms, the balance of power has shifted from businesses to customers, making reputation management a challenging task for the companies. The diverse nature of comments further complicates the issue of damage control. A major aspect of online media reputation management is staying informed about what people are saying online about your brand, company, or services.


2. Social Media as a Customer Service Channel


People use social media for sharing their experiences, asking questions and receiving instant responses before, during, and after their travels. Social customer service has become a crucial channel for driving positive reactions and satisfaction. Utilizing social media enables tourism companies to display customer service by actively listening to and engaging with customer discussions and feedback.  


3. Attracting Travellers through Inbound Marketing


In the digital world, a key marketing strategy is ensuring that customers can easily discover your presence. To achieve this, it is essential to develop a compelling content strategy that encourages users to share reviews, comments, stories, and photos. This can be achieved through various forms of content marketing such as blog posts, podcasts, videos, e-newsletters, and more. The emphasis should be on creating original content that not only retains existing customers abut also attracts new ones.


4. Harnessing the Power of SEO 


SEO stands as a critical strategy for businesses aiming to expand their companies and services. A common mistake that travel marketers make is that they optimise their websites primarily for search engines rather than for people. Instead, the focus should be on providing travelers with the information they seek at every stage of travel planning, rather than merely getting the attention of a search engine. Search engines frequently update their algorithms to showcase more genuine results. For example, Google prioritizes sites with innovative, high-quality content, attractive design, relevant inbound links, and a strong social media presence. It is important to focus on the bigger picture and optimise your travel site to get maximum targeted traffic.


5. Mobile Apps – Embrace the Opportunity


Marketing experts recognize that delivering a comprehensive mobile experience involves integrating both applications and websites. They emphasize that businesses dependent on local traffic should have mobile-compatible websites. Design frameworks like Bootstrap and Drupal enable the creation of web pages that adapt to keep a high-quality user experience, regardless of whether customers access a page from a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. To provide your customers with the optimal experience, focus on creating a practical and user-friendly application that is also personalized and fosters loyalty.


Social media has significantly influenced and changed practices within the tourism and travel industry. Leveraging social media can provide notable advantages to the industry.  A key recommendation for tourism professionals is to utilize social media platforms to gather customer opinions and, based on this feedback, improve their products or services.