Social media has “huge impact” on holiday decisions

Goldman Group report identifies the importance of Facebook with luxury Australian travellers

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Peter J Bates, Strategic Vision
Peter J Bates, Strategic Vision

Social media activity by cruise lines, tourism boards and tour operators has been identified as crucial in influencing the minds of the Australian luxury travellers. According to Goldman Group‘s recently released Australian Luxury Traveller 2019, nearly two-thirds (63%) of Australia’s affluent travelling public indicated they use one of the major social media networks: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Peter Bates, President of Strategic Vision – the company commissioned by Goldman Group to conduct the research – said social media has made a “huge impact” on the luxe segment, and for tourism organisations “social programs are vital to help create new leads looking for new business and solidifying business you may already have, and to convert new sales”.

Facebook was hands down the most favoured social media channel, with 59% of the sample audience surveyed saying they use the platform, followed by Instagram (29%), LinkedIn (4%) and Twitter (3%).

“Facebook for this market is very, very important,” the New York-based Bates said.

“Asked where they get holiday ideas and inspiration, 13% cited social media as a source. Thirty-five per cent said they enjoyed posting about their holiday on social media,” he added.

Peter Bates of Strategic Vision, flanked by Goldman Group’s Joint Managing Directors, David Goldman and Anthony Goldman.

“Despite the rise in social media, Australian luxury travellers still lean heavily on traditional sources when it comes to planning their next holiday. Inspiration comes from word of mouth/friends and family (55%), followed by magazines (38%), newspapers (31%) and travel advisors at 28%,” Bates said.

Travel content websites such as Lonely Planet was 26% and TV shows were 25%.

Nearly 60% of those polled specified using a travel advisor, and 28% cited travel advisors as a source for ideas for their next trip.

“We are finding this more and more. Travel advisors are on the road the whole time. They are not sitting in offices. Many of them are travelling a lot. And many times they are writing to their clients saying “I am in so and so” and “I’m checking out so and so”.

Bates said an increasing number of consumers are asking their travel advisors: Have you seen it? Have you been there? Have you tried it?

“They want that reassurance when booking that the travel advisor actually knows where they are sending their clients. So it is very important that they are mobile today and technology makes that very easy for them to do.”

He said that “transformational travel” is a term that is continuing to pop up with luxury travellers, for those who want immersive insights and memorable experiences that they can return home and talk about.

“There’s bragging rights at the dinner party at home, and of course on social media, so they can boast about where have been.”

Thanks to the emergence of Gen Z as key decision-makers in the travel booking process, there is a boom in bookings for travelling to Instagrammable destinations to document travel experiences, all for sharing on social media. Coined the “iGeneration”, Gen Z is seeking unusual destinations and active experiences, with their decisions influenced by social media, online reviews, friend recommendations and shares.

Anthony Goldman, Joint Managing Director of Goldman Group said, “We are increasingly receiving booking requests from Instagram (@travelcall_agency) and we sell on the social platform. We receive direct messages from customers saying, ‘I want that’. Hotels are also creating more and more Instagrammable experiences, enabling the capture of special moments to be shared with followers. Instagram as a platform has really influenced the way younger generations research and undertake travel.”

A copy of Goldman Group’s Australian Luxury Traveller report can be accessed here.

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