The evolution of the social internet is driving “fundamental change in how people search, shop for and purchase travel”.
That is the key finding of a study carried out by PhoCusWright, which releases its latest report - Social Media in Travel 2011: Traffic, Activity and Sentiment - today.
The travel industry analysts go on to argue that once passive consumers of travel information have become content creators and collaborators, posting traveller reviews and actively sharing travel experiences through their social networks.
This dynamic online travel ecosystem – interactive and increasingly immersive – affects the websites people visit, the travel products and services they purchase, where they stay, and even how they feel about a particular travel experience.
Created in partnership with Circos, Compete and Travelport, the report examines how social media influences the major online travel categories, and highlights the implications for travel companies.
More than two thirds of online travelers now cite traveller reviews - either on OTAs or traveller review websites - as influential when planning their leisure trips, finds PhoCusWright for example.
“Knowing how travelers operate in the social Web has become a prerequisite for success in the online travel space,” explained a statement from the company.
“Travel companies that want to leverage this power and potential must develop a clear understanding of how to measure, manipulate and improve their social media performance.
“Specifically, they need to understand the ways in which traveller reviews, traffic and referrals from social networks, social travel sentiment and the underlying social graph increasingly impact the behaviour of online travelers.
There is more information on the report here.
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