As people begin to decide where to spend their holiday time, many of them turn to social media to evaluate other people's preferences on Instagram or Facebook, meaning that social media directly impacts our holiday preferences, according to Associate Professor Özlem Aşman Alikılıç of Yaşar University's Faculty of Communication.Alikılıç stated that as people prepare to go on a holiday, they undoubtedly utilize social media and online resources to decide where to go in terms of vacations and accommodations, noting: "Thanks to the various alternatives offered on social media, you can get information about new, unheard of spots for your holiday. Now, it is possible to decide where to eat, being inspired by an Instagram or Facebook photo. You can make hotel reservations and get the tickets in a few minutes and then, you just need to plan your activities. Thanks to social media and especially mobile technology, today, everyone has the potential to become a well-seasoned traveler, gourmet foodie, photographer and hotel guide. You don't just decide on where or how to spend your holiday by using social media, you also provide feedback on your satisfaction via the photographs or evaluations that you share. In short, from searching for activities to checking the local weather, everything is possible with online applications."In addition to Facebook and Twitter, Alikılıç also mentioned sites like TripAdvisor, Booking, Expedia and Yelp, which finger the world's tourism sector on the pulse.
"These sites are the first places to check before going on a holiday. However, Instagram is most notable among these, making a difference in terms of the unique visual glimpse it offers," Alikılıç said.One can easily find a holiday spot and check it out on Instagram, which has more than 700 million members. With 42 million users in Turkey, the country is quite active on this media, and 4.5 million photographs have been shared with the "holiday" hashtag along with 900,000 with "trip" hashtag. These options offer you thousands of alternatives. When you check the hashtags abroad, the number of "holiday" hashtags reach 83 million while the "trip" hashtag features 60 million photo shares. You can get information about holiday spots on the accounts of thousands of travelers worldwide. Furthermore, you can get a chance to directly communicate with the traveler thanks to Instagram's "easy access" option. The best thing about it is that people can help you free of charge and regardless of their social status. Also, by making use of the shares of some travelers, airplane companies and tourism agencies offer new flying routes and destinations.
Stating that social media is an infinite source for touristic promotions, Alikılıç said, "Social media offers big advantages to tourism professionals in terms of promotion. You can directly specify the target group for your product. For example, you can advertise by targeting people who live in a specific area of the world, between a specific age group, or within a specific interest group, such as nature, sports or culture. You can do all this on a small budget compared to other methods. Keep in mind though, people don't always trust the photos and information they see about hotels online. So, people definitely need to check the evaluations of former customers via sites like TripAdvisor. Here, they find it more reliable ways to review customer complaints and so on. Hence, the strategy for planning a holiday is of strategic importance for the modern traveler."