- Seventy percent of American travelers are on social media at least once a day, spending an average of 82 minutes, while 83% of millennial travelers access social media once a day at minimum, averaging 113 minutes, according to travel marketing organization MMGY Global’s “Portrait of American Travelers 2018-19” provided to Marketing Dive. Among travelers on social media, 46% are active on Instagram, a 350% increase since 2013, and 60% of millennial travelers use the platform, a 375% increase from 2013.
- Among travelers on Instagram, 55% (66% of millennials) say the platform is important for their personal use. Despite the increased use of Instagram, Google remains the top travel website, with 41% of travelers using the site to find prices and information throughout their vacation planning.
- Social media posts from destinations or travel service providers were considered by 18% of all travelers (21% of millennials) during the inspiration stage of vacation planning; 11% (15% of millennials) seek advice and ratings; 8% (11% of millennials) compare prices and features; and, 5% (8% of millennials) make reservations. Search engines were used by 33% of travelers (32% of millennials) for inspiration; 31% (28% of millennials) for advice and ratings; 45% (43% of millennials) for comparing prices and features; and, 25% (24% of millennials) for making reservations.
Instagram recently announced a new feature that would make it easier for users to book tickets and vacations through the platform, and give businesses the capability to add action buttons, like “Reserve” or “Book,” to let users make purchases without leaving the platform. While the tool is still new, MMGY’s report shows that marketers hoping to lure consumers to social media need to craft unique, experience-driven campaigns around their travel products, as most travelers still rely on search engines, like Google, to inform their travel decisions and purchases.
Another key finding is that millennials show the most willingness to embrace social media during the different stages of travel planning. Experiences, like travel, are important to millennials. Among millennial women, 72% say spending on experiences makes them happiest, and 54% will let experiences drive their biggest purchases in the next year, a Merkle and Levo study found. Eighty-one percent say social media is the best way for brands to reach them, according to a survey by millennial publisher Bustle cited by Adweek. Of those surveyed, 40% felt that Instagram was the most effective platform to connect with brands.
The MMGY research also shows that only 10% of all travelers and 17% of millennials follow travel providers and suggests that travel marketers should embrace influencers on the platform to lure millenials. While 24% of all travelers follow at least one influencer or celebrity, 41% of millennials follow influencers. Combining influencers with Instagram’s new action buttons could help drive conversions.