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Facebook greatly influences users’ travel plans
Social network giant says it is becoming ‘the 21st century’s travel brochure’.
December 4, 2013 3:52 by kippreport
Facebook has emerged as a vital influencer in people’s travel plans and choices, according to a new study by the social media giant, with consumers’ travel plans being increasingly shaped by the activity of friends and families on Facebook.
The company says that achieving success in the $2 trillion global travel and tourism industry greatly depends on the ability to understand and influence consumer choices.
The study targeted Facebook’s top 20 per cent of active users in the UK, Germany and the Nordic countries. However, it insists that the trends noted in the research resemble other parts in the world, including the Mena region.
The most prominent finding of the study was that travel is one of the most discussed topics on Facebook, even when compared with ‘dominating’ posts, such as babies, weddings and pets. The research also reveals that 84 per cent of respondents claim that friends’ and families’ holidays inspire them, and 64 per cent stated that, without Facebook, they wouldn’t even know where their loved ones had gone on holiday.
Among the most common activities undertaken on Facebook in preparation for a holiday are searching for relevant material, seeking social reassurance by looking at the profiles of friends who have been somewhere before and making plans with friends and family members who are holidaying together.
“With the ability to fuel discussions and facilitate users’ decision-making process regarding their travel plans, Facebook is becoming the 21st century’s travel brochure,” says a spokesperson of Facebook.
Commenting on the research at a travel-focused event in Dubai, Jonathan Labin, head of Facebook for the Middle East region, Africa and Pakistan, says: “We are seeing people research, talk about and share their travel experiences on Facebook. This process falls into five distinct stages – dream, plan, book, experience and reflect. The most progressive travel brands are using Facebook to ensure that they are visible throughout that process.”
Labin confirms that travel-related posts are consistently the most popular and engaging content on the platform, adding that, with nearly 1.2 billion people using the service – and the average person having more than 140 friends – the opportunity to influence potential consumers is huge.
In October, Facebook revealed that its monthly active user base has reached 56 million in the Mena region, with 33 million accessing the site via mobile devices.