We have always loved sharing our travel memories: travelogs, photo albums, blogs, etc.
The usefulness and influence of social networks are no longer in question, as they have proven to be essential for tourism actors over the last two years. Influence operations, communication of information, promotion of territories, content created by influencers… Social networks have played a major role during the Covid-19 crisis.
In this article, we look at the essential role they play in tourism, especially for the recovery of the activity, and how, over the years, they have managed to become inspirational references for travelers.
Importance of social networks in tourism
When preparing our trips, we are increasingly influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by external elements, and in particular by what we can see on the internet or social networks.
Instagram has become, for a few years now, the number one, in terms of inspiration and influence. Whether it’s through beautiful photos of places, real-life shares or stories, or even through influencers, we have all, at one time or another, wanted to go to a place seen in a photo or video.
Many destinations have understood this and are positioning themselves on trendy networks, to boost their attractiveness and reach a target that is fond of social networks: the millennials.
This is how TikTok, with its snack-video format, is experiencing a rise. However, few destinations are present on it, even though it is in their interest to be there.
Being active on TikTok as a tourism professional means being present on a trendy and dynamic communication channel. It also allows you to remain attentive to the expectations of the users of this network, the millennials.
Mass tourism or ego-tourism
Instagram and TikTok are two platforms that allow tourism professionals to target a new generation of travelers, observe new trends, as well as to create inspiration among travelers.
However, there are also less beneficial consequences for places and destinations, such as overcrowding, destruction of nature, or the standardization of the experience. Indeed, travelers no longer seem to go for a change of scenery or to discover a new culture but are looking for the perfect photo to show their network that they were at that particular place, at that famous photo spot. They all want to experience the same journey, to make the same journey.
Thus, it is undeniable that these networks have a strong power of influence in the tourism sector. Indeed, a photo published corresponding to the Instagram “codes” can popularize a destination, and its geolocation can trigger the arrival of thousands of tourists.
The overexposure of a place as a result of a digital spotlight can very often lead to overcrowding and cause many negative effects.
New trends have been emerging to counter these abuses, such as not displaying the geolocation of a place on one’s photos in order not to participate in this mass tourism. Take the example of the NGO WWF France, which created a fictitious geolocation “I protect Nature” in 2019 to fight against the tourist rush that threatens natural sites and their biodiversity.
Discover how are Millennials are revolutionizing the tourism sector