What is the role of social media in tourism marketing and how does it benefit your business?

Could #hashtags help grow your guest list? 

Can TikTok really boost your travel bookings?

If you’re running tours or activities in the tourism industry, chances are you’re maintaining a social media presence too. That’s because it’s the place to be found. 4.55 billion people now use social media actively, and as a population, we spend a surprising 15% of our waking hours scrolling our social feeds. That popularity translates into more bookings for many tourism businesses. 

Let’s explore the role of social media in tourism marketing at key points in the customer journey – and how you can use it to maximize your reach and impact.  

How does social media influence tourism?

Social media and tourism pair beautifully together, because they both focus on sharing experiences. 

Social media’s impact on tourism can be particularly potent for younger demographics. 46% of Generation Z travelers say Instagram influences their travel decisions, with 50% also taking cues from Facebook posts. Millennials are just as receptive to social media, with 51% saying their travel decisions are influenced or inspired by Facebook interactions. Given that Millennials alone make up 31.5% of the global population, that can be a massive share of your market you can easily and affordably reach! 

So at which points in the customer journey can social media have an effect?

Building awareness & providing inspiration

the role of social media in tourism marketing that influences people's travel plans

Those social posts about lounging over the water in the Maldives, camping at Yosemite or going on safari in Tanzania? They all inspire wanderlust and raise awareness of those unique places in the world. 

Destination marketing can be just as important as promoting your specific products or services. As a result, effective social media marketing might not focus solely on inspirational content about your tours or activities but also highlight the truly amazing aspects of your special corner of the world.

Assisting with travel planning

Helping would-be guests dream about travel is a great outcome, but converting that interest to action is key for your business. Social media can be a powerful place to help customers form travel plans and solidify their travel dates. 

To encourage this, you could: 

  • Post quick up-to-date videos on the best times of year to book
  • Discuss any exciting events coming up in the area, and 
  • Share useful tips about travel to your location

Easing the booking process

Now to convert that travel intent into active bookings. Online bookings can originate from a variety of sources – from Instagram, to big Online Travel Agents (OTAs) – so it helps to direct traffic to your own dedicated booking website or booking form.

It’s so important that you have a secure, seamless online booking process available to capture interest from any location at any time of day. It’s also important that resellers and online travel agents can see live availability and make real-time reservations for your tours or activities, so you’ll be able to capture every ounce of that online interest.

Sharing the experience

The importance of social media in the tourism industry becomes crystal clear when you consider the way people love to share and recount their tourism experiences online. Social posts can be an incredibly important source of social proof, and a post from friends or family could be enough to inspire that next getaway. This is why it’s vital to follow up your guest experiences with automated review requests for your website, social pages or TripAdvisor. 

Maximizing your social media effect on tourism bookings

So how can you optimize your social media effects on tourism reservations for your business?First, consider the platforms your target audience love using. Visual and video-based platforms are ideal for sharing travel experiences, including: 

It’s also worth considering the type of content you’ll share, and how often. For example:

  • Will travelers appreciate detailed FAQ sessions about your guest experiences?
  • Would travelers respond well to videos and photos filmed from a first-person perspective?
  • Could you share simple videos of the peace and quiet of your natural environment?
  • Could regular posts during the ‘midweek slump’ help to inspire YOLO travel bookings? 
  • Might you pair up with a well-known travel influencer? After all, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.
  • Could you interview locals, or even share how-to guides for local recipes or crafts?

Each social post can contribute to building awareness, trust, and anticipation – and that’s great news for your bookings! For more information on growing your social reservations and reach, be sure to check out our handy eBook on online marketing. And if you’re ready to level up your online booking system, book a demo or start your free 21-day trial of Rezdy today.

If you enjoyed this article then make sure to follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and tour operator tips designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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