People are always eager to talk about their summer vacations, so we decided to take a deeper dive into the travel plans of our Smiley360 Community. Our recent survey of more than 25,000 Smiley Community members found that over 70% are planning to take a vacation this summer. However, those plans may not be set in stone according to traveling members because many rely on social media for travel plan ideas, engendering a “Fickle Traveler Syndrome.” No longer do we hear that vacation plans are ‘all set’ in a world where people can change plans with the click of a button. More than one-third of members said that social posts compelled them to change their travel plans.

Word of mouth still matters to about 50 percent, but ideas about where to travel, where to stay and eat and what to do once you get to your destination are largely driven by posts on Facebook and Instagram.

The survey, conducted by Vesta found that:
  • 34% of those surveyed said they changed travel plans after seeing social media posts
  • 52% change hotel plans
  • 49% change activity plans
  • 42% change restaurant reservations
Picture Perfect Posts

The survey also found that 94 percent of community members chronicle their trips on Facebook with photos, 45 percent post on Instagram and 25 percent on Twitter. And do they share – 42 percent said they post multiple times daily.

“The volume and pace of travel-related posts and the influence that they have on travelers choices creates a self-perpetuating cycle where consumers’ opinions have a huge impact on where travelers are spending their time and money,” said Susan Frech, CEO, Vesta.

Travel posts are natural content – it’s exciting, new and different. Even people who don’t travel often tend to take up the habit when they’re in a new place, said Frech.

The challenge and opportunity for travel brands is to insert themselves organically into consumer conversations, to help convince that fickle traveler to come and visit.