The Influence of Social Media
In the last few years, the web has become a more social place than ever, with more and more travellers turning to social media for travel tips and inspiration. According to research from HotelClub.com, half of the participants of their survey had asked for travel advice on social networks, while one-in ten always asks a friend on Facebook before making a booking.
HotelClub president, Nicholas Chu, said: “The growing trend to involve social networks in every aspect of life and the rise of consumer reviews and peer-to-peer recommendations is changing the way travellers book holidays. They want a range of first hand experiences to inspire and inform them.”
Social media is a great way to find travel reviews and recommendations, but the difficult part is finding the nuggets of wisdom amidst all of the noise on Twitter and Facebook. To meet this challenge, HotelClub has just launched its new HotelClub Explorer app, which helps users to crowd-source travel information from across the social web.
Travel Inspiration at Your Fingertips
The HotelClub Explorer app works by pulling content from across the major social channels (Twitter, YouTube, TripAdvisor, Flickr, etc), curating it into an eye-catching travel magazine, which is optimised for tablet browsing. The selections are based on the user’s preferences, so they need only select a destination and activity combination e.g. “Monuments + Paris”.
According to Chu, “The new HotelClub Explorer app for iPad makes it simple for travellers to take inspiration and first hand advice from family, friends and thousands of travel enthusiasts around the world in order to create a completely personalised holiday.”
8 Social Media Tips for Travellers
The HotelClub Explorer app is only one way you can utilise the social web to plan your next trip – there are many other great opportunities available. These are our favourites on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest…
1. Shoot Now, Upload Later
Taking digital photos is a great way to capture moments that can be cherished forever. However, you should avoid the temptation of uploading your snaps to Instagram while you’re travelling. The important thing is to experience the trip in the here and now, savouring each moment. You can always upload your photos when you get back home, reliving the experience in the process.
2. Pin It for Later
Create your own Pinterest board for your chosen destination and pin the photos of museums, restaurants and places that you want to check out once you’re there. This will enable you to create your very own visual black book, which can be used as a handy travel reference and is a lot more fun than writing a bog standard itinerary 🙂
3. Tweet the Locals
Follow local food and travel bloggers on Twitter, and tweet them asking for recommendations on restaurants and things to do in their area. These guys are likely to have a better knowledge than most of what’s going on in their neighbourhood and are usually happy to field questions from readers. Be specific: @NewYorkBlogger where can I get the best drip coffee in Williamsburg? And don’t forget to thank them afterwards for their help.
4. Use Facebook as Your Guide Book
Wondering which airline to fly or which restaurant to eat at? Post a question on your Facebook wall asking your friends for their top recommendations in your chosen destination. You’d be surprised how happy people are to help, and you can get some great insights from people who know you well and know what you’re into.
5. Follow Bargain-Savvy Tweeters
Twitter can be a goldmine for finding cheap flights and deals, but these bargains tend to come and go in a flash. Keep your ear to the ground by following bargain-savvy Twitter handles such as @airfarewatchdog and @JetBlueCheeps, who will be first to tweet about any great new special offers to be had online. You can also try plugging search terms such as “flight discounts”, “flight deals” and “cheap flights” into Twitter and seeing what you get.
6. Make a Twitter List
Did you know that Twitter lets you create lists? It’s possible to create a list of all the Twitter accounts relevant to your trip, so that you can access their feeds all in one place at the click of a button. This list could include local hotels, bloggers and restaurants, alerting you to the latest news and special offers that might be of interest.
7. If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get
The hotel industry is a very competitive one, and hotels are usually happy to throw in a few perks to seal the deal and get a direct booking. Before you book somewhere, why not send the hotel a Facebook message, asking them if they have any special offers available for the dates that you’re travelling? You’d be surprised at how many times they will get back to you with a percentage discount off your booking or other benefits such as free Wi-Fi.
8. Pay Back Some Travel Karma
You’ve probably been influenced by review sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp at some point while planning your trip. If so, you can pay back some of this travel karma by leaving your own review of a hotel/activity/restaurant on one of these websites. You’d be amazed at how many people rely on this kind of user-generated content for information, and, you never know, your insight could be the nugget of wisdom that helps a future traveller in need!
There you have it: I hope these tips have given you an insight into how to make the most of social media when you travel. Bear in mind that this list only scratches the surface of what you can do with social media. So, please leave a comment and let us know your own social media hints and secrets!