Lonely Planet Writer

Young travellers more likely to find holiday inspiration on social media

Young travellers are more and more likely to find inspiration for their next trip from social media updates posted by friends and family on Facebook and Instagram.

Young people more likely to find travel inspiration on social media.
Young people more likely to find travel inspiration on social media.

Where once tourism brochures and word-of-mouth played the biggest role in deciding people’s travel plans … social media streams are now proving key. A major survey of what inspired people to travel carried out by Blitz, a Los Angeles-based agency, discovered that millennials in particular were being influenced by places which they saw on social media updates.

While “word of mouth” from friends and family was still the most decisive factor in deciding on a destination, Facebook is quickly catching up. Among non-millennials – generally those over forty – one fifth still made plans based on things they heard about the best destinations to visit from their friends, families, and co-workers.

Younger travellers fin holiday inspiration on Facebook
Younger travellers fin holiday inspiration on Facebook Image by Maria Elena / CC BY 2.0

Another 13% said Facebook inspired them with 9% saying photos on Instagram were the main influence in choosing a destination. However, among millennials – those aged 39 and down – word of mouth (16%) and Facebook (15%) were neck-and-neck in terms of their influence.

Many young travellers influenced by Instagram.
Many young travellers influenced by Instagram.

Instagram (13%) and YouTube (12%) were also important with Twitter (7%) and Snapchat (5%) also listed as places to find inspiration for travel. The report explained: “When tourists aim to compose the perfect vacation selfie, they’re creating more than just travel envy – they’re creating copycats. “Our research revealed that 84% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials are likely or very likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s vacation photos or social media updates.”

The report explained how Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube were now beating out traditional sources of tourism information like TV, movies and travel magazines for younger travellers. It also looked at the social media accounts that regular travellers were most likely to follow. According to the research, car service Uber and accommodation provider Airbnb were the two most followed brands.

The report found as well that typically people begin researching their travel 45 days before they actually go ahead and book it.Those surveyed normally spent between two and three hours looking at flights and hotels but that 16% of travel obsessives take more than six hours to do their research.