Despite widespread contraction in the travel industry in 2009, monthly visitors to social travel web sites rose 34 percent between the first half of 2008 and the second half of 2009, according to PhoCusWright's new report, Social Media in Travel: Traffic & Activity. The new report tracks how travelers leverage the social web. It notes that social media is increasingly important and a key to success for those that need to better understand their customers and improve their ability to connect with them online.
"There continues to be a big gap between the enormous promise of social media and the current reality of realizing and measuring those returns," says Douglas Quinby, senior director, research at PhoCusWright. "With our partners, we analyzed nearly 1.9 million traveler reviews and visitor referral and conversion traffic from more than 50 social travel Web sites, as well as general social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The result is the most expansive research into where and how online travelers are creating, consuming and acting upon social content."
PhoCusWright reports that the social web has shifted the online experience from searching and consuming to creating, connecting and exchanging. “Yesterday's more passive consumers and web surfers are today's content generators, collaborators and commentators. This fundamental change in how consumers are using the Web is having an enormous impact on online travel.”
Traveler reviews, photos, trip planning and sharing, and blogging are all influencing how travelers connect to and interact with suppliers, products and services. PhoCusWright says. The report is the first release in PhoCusWright's Social Media in Travel series.
This report, conducted in partnership with Circos, Compete and Travelport, examines the impact of social media on major online travel categories, and outlines the implications for travel companies that wish to tap the potential of this highly dynamic form of traveler behavior.
PhoCusWright's Social Media in Travel: Traffic & Activity gives travel companies the knowledge and analysis they need to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity, PhoCusWright says. The report is available for purchase ($995).