Lillian Gaitho’s opens the week with thoughts how social media impact on travel

Four Ways Social Media Continues to Affect the Way we Experience Travel

Like it or loathe it, social media has now become part of our lives. It’s a vital communication tool for both personal and community level relations. Developing trends have been adapted by many a corporate in a bid to reach their online targets as well as help penetrate new markets. Being an online-based travel portal, Jumia Travel looks at concepts and key areas that have majorly affected the way we experience travel; from booking to sharing and endorsing.

Hotel and destination search

Today most travelers are more likely to post their “vacation” plans on different social media channels than they did five or ten years ago. With the advent of the smartphone euphoria you are likely to be part of a friend’s “planning phase” through tags, shares and status posts either seeking advice, or simply expressing their anticipation. Destination marketers and hotels can employ metrics that enable them to identify specific individuals who have displayed interest in exploring their properties and attractions. Therefore, if well timed, this is the best phase to nab potential customers and lead them to your service.

Word of mouth recommendations

Online communities, usually joined together by a common interest or background such as alumnus groups, religious factions, neighborhood watch and the like are great starting points for almost unbiased recommendations. The simple idea that a buyer is more likely to trust word of mouth from a friend of a friend than they would an online ad will affect a traveler’s planning and final action.

Blogging and microblogging

As part of sharing experiences, some people tend to post short excerpts and stories from their travel in real time. Think of snapchat that easily captures mood, environment and reactions in a continuous prose without the need to sit down to produce a long winding documentary! If not on snapchat, Facebook fans also do not seem to mind going live, or even typing down briefs that capture their experiences as their journey or stay unfold.

Reviews and likes

In this article, Invesp, a marketing and analytics firm observes that 90% of consumers read online reviews before placing an order or making a purchase. Even more intriguing is that a staggering 88% trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations per the survey. Sharing our reviews on social media is seen as a channel for free expression and could go anyway; for a thumbs up on service and experience, a lukewarm expression or a downright disappointment. These, will no doubt influence the decisions of any traveler who comes across them.

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