Saturday, 1 December 2012

Social Media and Tourism

Social media has made a huge impact on every major industry - including travel and tourism. Travel and tourism business heavily depends on word-of-mouth. Social media has helped both the travel industry and the travelers in promoting tourism through reviews, shared experiences, opinions about the hotels and service through blogs, Facebook, youtube and discussion forums. It is found that almost 87 percent of US travelers use the internet for their travel planning. The U.S. online travel industry is set to reach a huge target of $162 billion in 2012 – up some 74 percent since 2007 – and social media is playing a major part. More than half (52 percent) of travelers have changed their plans after researching their trip on social media sites, and 50 percent of travel companies have said that direct bookings have been generated from social media (

Recently I had traveled to the University of Brazil, Brazil, for presenting a paper in a conference. Though I had lots of reservation traveling to Brazil, I still wanted to take the risk because of two reasons- i. Microsoft rated this conference (Information Security) as #13 in the world ( ) and ii. I always wanted to visit Rio de Janeiro (one of the world’s beautiful cities).

I would like to describe here how the social media came to my rescue in planning my travel to the minutest detail.

Since Brazil is considered to be a yellow fever endemic region, it was mandatory for me to take the vaccination. I had no idea about the seriousness of yellow fever; I had to do some research on yellow fever and the required vaccination. I had to visit several medical sites such as – ,  to learn that yellow fever is indeed one of the deadliest diseases. I had to get this vaccination 10 days before the travel. This vaccination is not easily available and only a very few government agencies provide certificates of vaccination, which is to be shown to the immigration officer. I was able to find out all this information by just sitting in my office, going through various social media sites – ,

The next thing was to make the travel arrangements. Since the conference was in the University of Brazil in Sao Paulo, the conference coordinator helped me with accommodation within the University. However, I had to make my own arrangements at Rio de Janeiro. Since I had read a lot about crime in Brazil and Rio, I was a bit jittery, from the beginning, to travel to Rio all by myself. I had to rely on several social media sites to find a suitable hotel in a safe location. I read lots of reviews, very carefully, to find a hotel in a ‘safe’ neighborhood and booked it online. I also read a lot about certain ‘safety’ precautions that one needs to take to go around the city of Rio de Janeiro. And it so turned out that the hotel I stayed in Rio was indeed in a very safe place and I had no trouble going around the city. All this was possible because of the prior information I was able to glean out of the social media sites such as –

Not knowing the Portuguese language was a BIG problem in Brazil. Very few people speak English in that country. Another important social media which came to my rescue to survive in Brazil was – I used this social media site extensively to translate my simple communication to Portuguese and wrote it down on a paper and confidently roamed around the city, using their Metro, speaking the few Portuguese lines that I had learnt online. Finally helped me to know my whereabouts within Rio de Janeiro.

As can be inferred from above, Social Media is playing a very important role in the life of a global traveler and more and more people are planning their travels based on the information available on such sites. This should urge the people in the travel industry to use the social media very prominently in promoting their business and improve upon, based on the various reviews residing therein. Social media definitely made my trip to Brazil smooth sailing, enjoyable and memorable.

1 comment:

  1. A good example on how the social media and the power of technology has changed our lives forever.