The Impact of Social Media on Tourism - International - August 2013
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Travel and tourism has always relied on the power of word of mouth to market to travellers, due to the intangible and experiential nature of the product. For much of the 21st century, friends and family provided the main tools for inspiration, planning and organising travel alongside tourism guides and magazines and travel agencies. However, since the turn of the century, the emergence of the Web and later more sophisticated Web 2.0 digital technologies has transformed the end-to-end travel process.
Social media, defined in this report as ‘websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking’, provides travellers with a gateway to the opinions and recommendations of millions of people, including friends within their social network and like-minded travellers. Social media and travel gel together because of the experiential nature of travel, which is a social activity in itself. Travel requires information, and travellers have a strong desire to share information about their experience.
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