MARK4474- Social Media Today
A brief look at how social media has influenced the travel industry in the last decade
I’ve made it no secret that I desire to go to Europe in the fall, and planning this trip has been quite simple. Had I planned the same trip 10-15 years ago, I would have been hard pressed to come by new and relevant information. This simplicity is due to the fact that we are able to share our own experiences in hundreds of different platforms, making it easier to look up the places we want to see.
10 years ago, I would have had a few options. I could have done standard searches on Google, met up with a travel agent, or asked Grandma (no joke). Even in 2009, I found it hard to find relevant information before travelling to Germany. I found it quite frustrating.
Today, I have found a number of sites to help along the process. The emergence of sites like Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and Hostelworld (amongst other booking sites), have given me hundreds of options to choose from. The growth of these sites is due to users sharing their experiences through these services. A great alternative to overpaying for mediocre hotels. Not only have sites like these given me more options, but I can see feedback from others who have used the same service. That’s not to say that all feedback is genuine, but as long as something doesn’t look too good to be true it should be safe to use.
At the same time, we now have access to hundreds of thousands of personal self-hosted material. Finding these sites is as simple as doing a standard search on Google, or even going on WordPress and searching through single topics. This is how I found Nomadic Matt, who does a great job including personal experiences with relevant information on various destinations. When I find writers who have similar tastes it makes it easier to trust the information they are providing.
Are there risks in using information from parties other than large news platforms and travel agents? Yes, and there always will be. However, I find the personal sharing of travel information has only made it easier to prepare us for our journeys.
Has social media made it more difficult to build and maintain strong relationships? In my opinion, yes. Those connections we make online rarely mean anything of any real significance. I can see how social media is over used, or used improperly as well. Anyone that has ever tweeted to Air Canada would agree with that statement.
Regardless of the challenges that social media presents in our daily lives, I think it has only strengthened the travel community, making it easier for us to connect with people and information around the world. The times of saying “I can’t go there because it is too expensive”, are over. Personal sharing has provided me with opportunities that I wouldn’t have dreamed of 10 years ago.
Should you find yourself planning an excursion in the future, I suggest using the following sites (to start):
1. Nomadic Matt
3. Airbnb ( Even better for New York)
7. Find blogs through Google by typing “blogs on”, followed by the destination you would like to see