For better or worse: is social media damaging the travel industry?

It is to no doubt that travel and social media go hand in hand. When you look at platforms such as Instagram which are so visual, the photography on them just speak a thousand words.

Interestingly a study by Internet Marketing Inc. shows 52% of respondence use Facebook alone to dream of their next adventure – so if you add up all the other social channels on top of this, then you have a pretty powerful marketing tool!

But, when you delve into how people are using social media to reflect their travel experiences, the question I am asking myself is whether it is for better or worse?imi_infographic-social-media_blog

For better

Increasing that much needed escapism

We all need to dream and get inspired about places to visit. Just by typing in #TravelBlogger or #Travelling into Instagram, you can quickly lose yourself in other’s pictures. When we are working so hard 9-5, it’s raining outside (as always in the UK!) and you’re so far away from your next holiday – looking through the reams of travel photos can be a very healthy form of escapism.


It’s all in a review

The great thing about social media is you can find out exactly where someone has visited through location tags. With more and more reviews about different restaurants, hotels or activities – it can come to a great advantage to find a superb place for you to visit that comes highly recommended by fellow peers or trusted influencers.


Increased awareness of lower key destinations

In every country you have your highly commercialised areas that scream and shout in marketing materials for attention. What I do like about social media is the opportunity to drive mass awareness to the less thought about places of the world. Whether it’s increasing visitors to that destination or sharing educational posts – it’s important for us to learn about the world in which we live and that includes all the smaller less known places of the world too!


For worse

Travel destinations are being mis-represented in pictures

In my previous post, I wrote about my reasons for creating this travel blog and ensuring that this blog remained true to itself, through offering honest, transparent and real experiences. It is to no doubt that brand advocates do play a vital part in the commercial side of any destination as the more brand awareness and buzz you build, the more people will want to come.

But what I am questioning is, does this content reflect what the reader will get when they visit themselves? After all, we now have hundreds of filters for our photos on offer, it is possible to make a cloudy day look bright! You can chop out different elements of your image to play up to the good bits – for example who wants bits of rubbish in their shot of a national landmark?!


The rise in millennial pressure to live the perfect life

The effects of all these perfect pictures clogging up our social media feeds could make a real impact on our millennials – but perhaps not for the better. The daily humble brags put additional pressure on individuals, couples and families to go on the best holidays, look amazing at all times and in the comments ensure they tell everyone how amazing that restaurant, hotel or activity was. But what if it wasn’t all that great? What if we are now posting for social attention and in fact when a reader gets to the destination, they are actually going to end up disappointed.

Studies have shown that shockingly a lot of people are embellishing the truth to impress their friends on social media sites with made up or completely false memories and actually their social media feed doesn’t represent their real life at all. Perhaps we are now using social media to live in a life we wish for rather than what is actually resembling reality.


So, what I’d like to bring to the table is one thing – transparency. I want to rid of this travel disillusion – the reality of it is that no one is perfect and everyone wants to have something they don’t. The beauty of social media is that it’s in the moment and can be so raw – yes perhaps your hair will be a little out of place or the background might not be perfect – but if this is your real life then that must be better than anything fictional. Right?




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